by Alex Zamorski | May 18, 2016
Scrolling through most direct marketing magazines and websites, the majority of what you’ll find bounces between social media, mobile platforms, content marketing, Adwords, and other methods deemed much cooler and more cutting edge than direct mail. Since we’re all addicted to our smart phones and tethered to our computers most of the day, focusing on digital seems to make the most sense — on the surface.
But despite our obsessions with the amazing technological advancements at our fingertips, nothing is more effective than direct mail. The connection between viewing an ad, remembering the information, and making a purchasing decision has proven time and time again to be most definitive when using direct mail and print media tactics. Here are 5 reasons why print is still king.
Rise Above the Clutter
Think about your email inbox. Emails fly in and out all day and night regarding urgent work matters and social updates, sale notifications and store newsletters, order receipts and event invitations. How in the world do you decide what to tackle first, second — and what gets left behind?
Now think about your mailbox. Bundles of shopping advertisements, bills, the occasional letter or postcard, and maybe a PennySaver newspaper. Not too much action compared to the 122 average number of emails sent and received per day in 2015. A well designed piece of direct mail gets noticed and at the very least is briefly viewed and handled before being set down. It’s very difficult to completely ignore a physical piece of mail.
Make a Lasting Impression
When it comes to getting noticed, the more senses you can invigorate, the better. Printed materials engage touch, smell, sound, and sight – all of our senses except taste (although I’m sure this has been attempted). On the other hand, digital is confined to a flat screen that can only be viewed and heard. Because print hits most of our senses, it creates a longer lasting impact and makes a deeper impression.
In a study conducted by Temple University’s Fox School of Business Center for Neural Decision Making, researchers found that participants who viewed and handled print media not only remembered the ads better than their digital counterparts but also had a deeper emotional response. And any fundraiser or marketer worth their salt knows that the making an emotional connection is key to springing a donor into action.
Increase Donations and Contributions
While remembering a message is of course important, the real goal of marketers and fundraisers is to get people to open their wallets and checkbooks. Researchers in the same Temple University study concluded that while participants verbally stated that they had the same willingness to pay for an item whether they viewed it digitally or in print, their brain activity showed that there was a greater subconscious desire for the products or services advertised in physical formats. In other words, those who viewed print media were more likely to make a purchase than those who viewed digital media alone.
Simply put, there are infinite things you can do with printed and physical materials. The range of sizes and shapes and types of paper and design can go way beyond your standard #10 envelope, typical postcard, and community flyer. You can mail someone pretty much anything! Plus, in such a heavy digital age that we’re living in, many of us enjoy receiving something interesting in the mail.
Connect with Millennials
When we think of Millennials, we think of selfies and SnapChat and throngs of young adults with their heads bent over tiny screens 24/7. While parts of this may be true, the real story is that Millennials are the least trusting of digital advertisements and information shared over the internet than any other generation. In fact, 80% of Millennials prefer to receive information via print. However, they do hold an expectation that they will find further, more detailed information online. They expect to be able to easily and immediately explore a candidate’s Twitter feed for more personalized information or go to a non-profit’s website to make a donation online.
THE ONE-TWO PUNCH: PRINT AND DIGITAL
For millennials and older generations alike, print is a gateway to other sources of information, whether by means of PURLs (personalized URLS), social media, videos, or live in-person events. At TLC Political, many of our direct mail campaigns have a PURL associated with each specific package. The PURLs lead the donor to information specific to that package’s message and enables donors to contribute online instead of sending a check or credit card information through the mail. In addition to just collecting money, leading the donor a website encourages them to learn more about the candidate or cause.
Here are three examples of how The Lukens Company integrates print and digital into our direct marketing campaigns:
1) Cruz for President 2015 Fall Pledge of Support
For this Pledge of Support package, we coordinated our digital & print efforts by including a Personalized URL (PURL) on the Return Envelope and the Reply Device which led to a package-specific page within Ted Cruz for President’s website.
2) Susan B. Anthony List 2016 Petition for Life
In this SBA List Petition package, the PURL was noted prominently on the front and back of the Reply Device and led donors to a package-specific page on the Susan B. Anthony List’s website.
3) Republican National Committee 2016 Declaration
The RNC Declaration package kept things simple with a PURL on the Reply Device that led to a package-specific page within GOP.com.
From simple reply forms and webpages to more coordinated efforts, there are many ways to combine the winning powers of print and digital to spring donors into action — and we can help make that happen!
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