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Paper & print focus: What is the value of print over digital?


By Katie McQuater, Magazine Editor

August 7, 2013 | 4 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.

Design Republic’s Bunch of Fives, awarded at the Antalis Review Awards

As part of a series looking at trends in paper and print and what the medium offers marketers, including a look at the role of print in a digital world and a feature on the rebirth of classic design techniques, The Drum caught up with those operating across the paper and print spectrum to get their views on what paper and print offers over digital.

Jonathan Mitchell, managing director, Arjowiggins Creative Papers In my mind the question is not about print or digital but it’s about the rightful place of creativity. Louis Armstrong said: “There’s two kinds of music; the good and the bad. I play the good kind”.

It’s the same with brand communication; there’s good and bad print and good and bad digital. Creativity needs to be used to deliver great design in brand communication. Print needs to be used in combination with digital. Print brings a physical and emotional connection to a brand and can make a recipient feel special and valued. Research has shown that direct mail with strong creative achieves twice the average response rate. Whereas digital offers immediacy, speed and efficiency and is well suited for brief, follow up messages to existing customers.

Tom Priestley, head of print, Liaison Print Management What does paper and print offer over digital?
It can create real cut through and standout as a communication channel, whether it’s a cleverly created, targeted and well-timed piece of direct mail or a brochure that is picked up in-store. Because print lives in the physical world it isn’t consumed in the same way or quite often at the same time as its competing digital platforms. How often do people at work still print out that presentation or email so they can read through it at their desk and make amends with a pen? In order to get the most out of print we have to understand the consumer and how and why they are going to respond to print over digital communications.

Marian Thomasson, marketing manager, Antalis UK Paper and print is a very tactile and eye-catching medium, which opens up an incredible range of opportunities for designers and marketers that wish to create beautiful, multi-sensory pieces of work. Digital devices, however sophisticated, cannot replicate the look, feel and individual characteristics of paper and other substrates.

Pari Blackbeard, head of marketing and promotion, Fedrigoni Printed paper will always carry a sense of prestige; it has qualities you just can’t replicate on screen. The way a printed sheet smells and its tactile nature will always make digital mediums less appealing. We are so bombarded by the digital world that when you’re given a printed piece it makes you want to cherish it even more.

Graham Congreve, director, Evolutionprint Paper and print offers a physicality that can be experienced and felt – it lives and breathes. It’s tactile, sensory and offers added value. Audiences appreciate good print even more in a digitised world.

Andrew Harris, European & UK Graphic Arts Customer Marketing, Professional Print Solutions, Canon Europe Print is an effective communications tool that adds value to any marketing campaign. It is tangible and engages multiple senses, something that the end-user can hold, feel and sometimes even smell. It is tactile and has longevity, which enables it to grab attention, capture the imagination and ‘stick’ in the memory of the recipient. A high quality piece of print has authority and conveys importance, and is an ideal tool for both building brands and delivering corporate messages. In an email-saturated market, print is still the most effective way to reach consumers – research from the Direct Marketing Association in the UK found that 91 per cent of printed direct mail sent to prospects is opened.

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

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