Should you invest in print marketing this Christmas?

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Should your company be investing in print marketing this Christmas?  Whether it is glossy advertising, promotional flyers or Christmas cards, is print the way to go?

Print marketing has always been an important part of the marketing mix but, for over a decade now, the popularity of digital media has inspired much conversation over whether print marketing is dead.

In fact, print has held strong over the last decade; evolving into something new and more targeted. In the same way that video hasn’t killed the radio star, digital marketing hasn’t killed print.

But should you be investing in print marketing this Christmas?

We know that consumers have started Christmas shopping earlier this year – in a bid to avoid the usual crowds and shop in a COVID-secure environment. And many businesses have less cash to throw around.

In this environment, does print marketing make sense?

Increase ad spend at Christmas

Writing in Forbes magazine, Steve Olenski says it does. He argues, “If you don’t want to get lost in the crowd, standing out among your business rivals relies heavily on advertising and marketing promotions. The fourth quarter, December in particular, is when many retailers pull out their ‘big guns’ in terms of ads, whether these manifest in print, radio or TV.”

Olenski goes on to say, “It makes sense to increase exposure and put more funds into advertising during the months when more consumers will be making purchases.”

Increase ad spend in a recession

Other commenters have made the point that spending on advertising during recessionary times helps you to achieve more cut through. Fewer brands will be advertising since many companies will be looking to slash costs.

This makes it easier to negotiate great rates for your print advertising and print runs. Plus, you have less competition on the doormat or in the media – so your message is more likely to get heard.

Ensure that print marketing is part of a wider plan

While there are advantages to investing in print marketing this Christmas, it’s important that any print marketing activity should make sense within your wider marketing plan. 

This means being clear on who you’re targeting, where you’re targeting them, why you’re targeting them, and with what messaging. What is the desired outcome? And how are you going to achieve ROI?

Boutique UK agency Studio Cotton has written a great guide about print advertising which offers some practical advice about calculating ROI. It suggests spending with local or specialist magazines so that you can boost ROI through precision targeting.

It makes the point that “Print magazine advertising works best as part of a larger campaign – when websites, email marketing, social media, outdoor ads, podcast spots, multiple magazine entries and more are all working together to add your brand and your message to your audience’s psyche.”

Use print when nothing but print will do

Sometimes, there is nothing else that will have the impact print does (which is one of the reasons print marketing is still going strong).

Christmas cards are certainly one example where digital just doesn’t have the same impact. A personal, hand-signed card arriving on your desk or doormat is so much more meaningful than a bulk emailer.

We know too that print is more trusted that digital communications. A survey by Two Sides found nearly 70% of consumers regularly use printed materials to browse or shop for products. What’s more, Royal Mail found 79 percent of consumers act upon direct mail instantly.

So, should you invest in print marketing this Christmas?

In short, it depends. 

There are many good reasons for increasing your print marketing budget this year: reach, cut through, recessionary habits, the power of print. 

But, like all marketing investments, you need to make sure your print marketing is targeted to the right audiences and fits properly within your overall marketing plan.

Still not sure? Read more about the power of print.

Then follow that up with a look at next year’s printing trends.