Print or digital–what’s better?
“The ‘real’ experience that physical media provides,
means it’s better at becoming part of memory.
It generates more emotion, which should help to
develop more positive brand associations.”
—Millward Brown, Neuroscientific Case Study
Print is dead—or is it?
With all the hype surrounding the internet, and newspapers in steady decline, it’s easy to believe in the demise of the printed page. Everybody’s so eager to eulogize print, we may be burying it alive. But don’t count print out just yet—done right, it might still be the best tool in your marketing arsenal. According to findings from a Millward Brown research case study (1), neuroscientists using fMRI brain scanners, discovered that paper still has some advantages that bits and pixels can’t match. Their conclusion shows that greater emotional processing is facilitated by the physical material than by the virtual. The “real” experience that the physical media provides means it’s better at becoming part of memory. Like it or not, human brains are wired to put more emotional and mental stock, into something that’s been printed on paper, rather than a computer screen. Plus, they tend to give a physical copy more attention than they do to something that’s online. For this reason, printed materials are more useful than digital banners ads or emails.
Paper outweighs digital
We know paper trumps digital for emotion. But there’s another way paper might be better: its weight. The idea comes from a scientific study which has discovered that when reading printed materials, our judgement and behaviour is subconsciously influenced by the weight of the physical medium and by basic tactile sensations. (2) Because we’ve always used our hands to learn and manipulate our environment, the sense of touch –which is the first sense to develop– plays a highly critical role. That explains why documents designed to impress are almost always printed on heavier stock with solid ink coverage and varnish coating that further add to the perception of weight.
When is print a better choice?
Certain objects look better on the page, with texture and colour that create memorable effects. Because it forces readers to slow down and absorb the message, print is well suited for complex and in-depth content. Type, colour, cropping, and page layout are much more controllable in print than in electronic media. Print is ideal for linear presentation of information: you control the delivery and adjacent imagery, away from any distractions, like competing ads and whimsical pointing and clicking. Because it requires more complex design choices and an investment in ink and paper, print conveys a commitment to quality that reflects well on your brand.
Printed mail gets delivered
Email marketing? The brutal truth is that most of email lies unopened. Spam accounts for about 90% of it. By contrast, printed mail gets delivered. It doesn’t get caught up in spam filters. It has also been proven, that most people, prefer to read ink-on-paper rather than on-screen, and find that experience to be more comfortable. We may live in the digital age, but we walk around a very real world and we prefer to interact with real, tangible things. Take direct-mail for instance. You can do things with a direct-mail piece that you can’t still do with web. It’s a physical experience. You can touch it, smell it and even taste it. It has a greater engagement factor and a higher brand recall. That’s why print marketing tends to be read, instead of scanned. In leaner times, astute and nimble businesses–still interested in making print work for them–have a chance to penetrate niche and local markets, like never before.
Integrate the real
While print is still very much alive, today, these tangible sales materials have evolved. The use of a simple QR code device has enhanced print by linking it with digital. When print and web complement each other, they strengthen the brand experience and make it real, seamlessly integrating into an immersive life-brand continuum. Furthermore, the use of variable data and imaging technology, can create a one-on-one relationship with each customer and prospect. The aim for all brands, of course, is to drive sales and increase customer loyalty, while at the same time, create strong brand advocacy among its customers. But conditions like these don’t just come from doing the same thing over and over. For that, you need a different way of thinking and communicating. And MängaDesign, with its fresh, NeuroCommunication approach, can help.