Print is dead, long live print

For years, as the world rushed towards a digital future, the demise of traditional print media had been predicted. With the ongoing evolution of online, print seemed like an old-fashioned way to reach customers. It was unsurprising then that in the years prior to the pandemic, print had been declining – we saw print media consolidation and publications closing their doors for good.

However, it appears that print’s popularity has been underestimated! While print media may not be as prolific as it was 20 years ago, when Shrewdd Marketing was founded, print and particularly print media for B2B businesses remains well and truly part of the marketing and PR mix. Here’s why:

1 – Print is tangible: Magazines are physical items and there is a significant portion of the B2B sector that still enjoys having a physical, colourful copy of a magazine in their hands, something they can touch, feel and flip through. And who doesn’t like the smell of a freshly printed magazine (or is that just me!)

2 – It has longevity: Printed journals frequently stay in circulation longer, as many people hang on to them. It’s easy to close a ‘window’ with a simple click, while on average a B2B magazine changes hands several times and can be passed from one manager and/or executive to the next.

3 – Print is credible: Dare I say in some circles (specifically certain age groups!) and job roles, print media is considered to be more credible than digital. People who subscribe to magazines often do so because they believe the information contained therein is accurate and reliable and is edited by a trustworthy source. 

4 – It’s a staple in the quest for industry knowledge: B2B publications frequently tackle complex industry issues, giving high value to readers with a combination of industry trends, company news and relevant thought-provoking content.

5 – Helps reach wider audiences: Just because a publication is digital doesn’t mean it shouldn’t or doesn’t have a print edition. In fact, it adds to their circulation. How many of you have started attending conferences, exhibitions, and seminars again? Let’s be honest, it’s great to walk away with something in a lovely bag.

While digital is here to stay, print undoubtedly still has a lot of life left in it, remaining a crucial platform for many, particularly when paired with a strong digital strategy.

In fact, at Shrewdd Marketing we believe that print can not only support but can amplify the impact of other channels while increasing the overall effectiveness of marketing and PR campaigns. When combined with digital, print can be powerful, it can leave a lasting impression, and it can maximise engagement and reach. 

Also, just because print journals are considered a more traditional medium doesn’t mean they have to adhere to tired marketing clichés. It may be a traditional content marketing staple, but it can be used in unique, creative and innovative ways.

Of course, a question to consider is whether print is sustainable. And the answer may surprise you!

According to the Confederation of European Paper Industries, the paper, pulp and print sector is one of the lowest industrial emitters of greenhouse gases, accounting for 0.8% of European emissions (2019). The print industry also uses certification schemes to ensure that paper comes from a sustainable source. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) are the most recognised accreditations associated with sustainable paper products in the UK, however, they aren’t the only sources of responsibly produced paper. What’s more, paper is also incredibly easy to recycle.

It is safe to say that the digital era has not yet killed off print. If anything, it has drawn into sharper focus just how much of an impact print can have. To me at least, it is very clear that print is still alive and very relevant, and I look forward to receiving the hundreds of magazines we receive each month from kind publishing houses.

That said, I recognise that like a lot of things, print is evolving in an effort to adapt to modern times. That’s why I say… print is dead, long live print…!

By Alf Lombardi

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