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Paper & print focus: What is the role of print in a digital world? Fedrigoni, Antalis, Canon and others discuss


By Katie McQuater, Magazine Editor

August 6, 2013 | 5 min read

The Drum speaks to a cross-section of those operating in the print and paper industries to discuss print’s value in a digital world and integrating print into the wider marketing mix.

Curious Matter complete waterfall, Arjowiggins Creative Papers

What is the role of print in an increasingly digitised world?

Pari Blackbeard, head of marketing and promotion, Fedrigoni We live in a world where technological advances have meant that everything you need can be accessed by the touch of a button. Previous printed only matter such as newspapers, magazines, books and even some business stationery can be accessed digitally. Print now has to complete with new technologies by improving tried and tested methods to highlight that digital is great for those fast ‘need it yesterday scenarios’ but it’s easily discarded, while a beautiful piece of print is timeless.

Marian Thomasson, marketing manager, Antalis UK I think it’s fair to say that a world without print would be a pretty dull place. The role of print may be different to the part it has traditionally played in communications, but it’s clear that it still has an important place.

Printed and digital communications complement each other, and one should not be seen as a replacement for the other. For example, in the retail environment, rather than replacing traditional high street shops, websites have become an additional route to market. The challenge for retailers is finding the right balance to enable each route to market to operate in the most effective and complimentary way.

For marketers, the challenge is to find the critical balance of digital and printed mediums, which effectively maximises the impact of their campaigns and cuts through the clutter, in a world where we are bombarded with up to 80,000 marketing messages per day.

Andrew Harris, European & UK graphic arts customer marketing, Professional Print Solutions, Canon Europe Print can be the fulcrum of a multichannel marketing campaign and is an extremely effective communications tool. While the number of communications channels is continually growing, this actually increases the possible complementary channels for print. Every channel has its strengths in the communications mix, but one channel working alone cannot meet every communications need. Print works perfectly in tandem with other channels to achieve maximum exposure. Research commissioned by Canon showed that 58 per cent of print buyers surveyed are currently using multichannel communications as part of their marketing communications mix, with printed materials being used in 94 per cent of multichannel campaigns.

Tom Priestley, head of print, Liaison Print Management Consumers still like physical literature. Catalogues are still prevalent in the UK and US before purchases are made – a fact backed up by a study by Econsultancy. Just because printed matter doesn’t always live in the digital world, it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been greatly influenced by digital knowledge. Digitally produced print is having a profound impact for some of our clients, creating extremely targeted communications that are built around consumer data that drives increased levels of response when compared to their digital counterparts. Print is moving forward in the digitised world, just like everything else.

Duncan MacOwan, head of new media and events, FESPA Print offers a powerful, vibrant way to speak to an audience while digital enables flexible content which can incorporate other elements such as audio. We live in a televisually literate world. As such, brand owners and marketers are working hard to ensure that communications continue to be shared in ways that audiences expect, are comfortable with and are responsive to. This means moving with the times and using the most powerful tools available to generate effective customer engagement.

Brands need to find dynamic ways of attracting interest and welcoming interaction in keeping with mobile technology and social media. Some may argue that this is detrimental to print. However, in the same way that radio campaigns support targeted TV advertising and QR codes in newspapers direct readers online, why should the print and digital worlds not complement each other in the same way?

Graham Congreve, director, Evolutionprint Print is going through a transformative stage, as it always has done, but is still growing worldwide. Its massively important in all our daily lives. Just think about it for a moment... Print’s here to stay.

Jonathan Mitchell, managing director, Arjowiggins Creative Papers Nowadays more of our lives are virtual and online, which many believe will lead brands to place a premium on stimulating consumer's senses. When used intelligently and creatively print provides the opportunity for a beautiful, tactile and collectable object that will not only convey the desired message but has a strong potential to be kept and cherished long after a digital message has been forgotten. However in today's digital world print is most powerful when it is used in collaboration as part of integrated campaigns.

This article is published as part of The Drum's Paper and Print supplement.

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