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Fusion of Print and Digital Marketing

The print industry and the place of printed material in marketing campaigns has changed drastically over the course of the past ten years. There are several reasons for this and the increased use of the internet as a sales tool is one of them.


In the past when looking to purchase a house, a product or service or perhaps even when considering schools or universities, you would expect to receive and browse a high quality, printed and glossy brochure or prospectus, which highlighted the quality of the product or service. Today consumers turn to the internet as one of their first research tools. There are many reasons for this; time restrictions, the need for information instantly, and the fact that information can be updated constantly on-line and can be obtained in large quantities in a very short period of time. As positive as this all sounds however, the quality of the message can be lost through the internet as you can’t touch and feel the item, and some people still like to connect physically with a service or product, even if is simply through the marketing of it.


It is very easy to slip into a debate about the pros and cons of print against digital, but the fact of the matter is that both these aspects should work alongside each other to assist an organisation in reaching their marketing and sales objectives and to aid them in targeting a wider audience. It is evident, that whilst the use of printed material for marketing purposes has changed over the years, companies are still opting to use printing within their marketing practices, as demonstrated in a recent survey undertaken by Xerox. The results demonstrated that more than 70% of those surveyed, predict that print will remain a major part of the marketing communications mix.*

This article seeks to demonstrate the positive effects of printed material and digital practices working together in a campaign and how powerful that campaign can be when they are placed together.


One of the strongest reasons to incorporate hard copy printing into a marketing campaign is the fact that the item doesn’t change, unlike digital methods. You can put a catalogue or brochure down and pick it up a week later and it will still be the same. This is not true of digital information of course as these messages can change from one second to the next as websites are updated and social media platforms are amended. Certain elements such as the quality of your product / service must remain the same within a campaign, so you can take advantage of the fact that print and digital methods have different features and use them effectively to enhance your message.


There is a lot of discussion at present surrounding personalisation and how companies can use this marketing method to enhance their campaigns and improve how their existing and potential customers or clients interact with the business or purchase products and services. Personalisation has proven to be effective in both the B2B and B2C markets, and utilising both print and digital channels within personalisation makes the campaign even more powerful.


Personalisation has many benefits and the collaboration of print and digital marketing is best demonstrated through this concept. A personalised campaign can include an email with certain elements tailored to the individual’s preferences. An example where this could be used successfully is for a restaurant whose customers are families and couples. Due to the nature of the clientele, the pictures, text and offers can change accordingly. Personalising an offer to a customer’s needs could be the first step to making your customer feel special. The next step could be to invite them to visit a website, this again could be personalised to them. To gather further information about their requirements and preferences, the campaign could also include a digital questionnaire which could be answered in return for a voucher or a prize. This information could then be used through a follow up email or other digital channels, or a personalised printed item could be produced with completely bespoke information based on their answers. Wouldn’t this approach make you feel valued and as if you had been taken on a journey by an organisation that had actually bothered to listen to you?


The main difference and perhaps the strongest plus point for print is that the tangible, touch and feel of print is very powerful. When printed properly, your customers or clients will glean information about your business and your products or services and will make judgements based on the quality of the printed item. This can definitely work in your favour and further bolster the idea of the fusion of digital and print. These judgements could then direct them to a digital platform with further information and you would therefore be closer to them purchasing a product or using your services. This is particularly true for retailers and homeware brands that use printed catalogues and e-commerce websites to showcase their products and encourage sales. By having both channels available to the consumer, the business can reach a much wider audience. When deployed successfully, these two methods can help to promote a business to a vast range of potential customers and capture sales from a number of consumers.


The fusion of digital and print is certainly a recipe for success. In short, holding a printed item is often emotive enough, but adding further images and information online, or in another digital format and addressing this specifically to the user is a further enhancement of that experience and one that must not be underestimated.


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Gemma Firth is the Marketing & Business Development Manager at Matthews the Printers.