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The power of print marketing

by Ben Harbinson
on 15 Aug, 2017

Printed material has a huge advantage over digital marketing – the nature of physically interacting with it inspires instant engagement.

Digital marketing channels come with the benefit of measurable data – the who, when, how long and what they did next. But digital messages can be fleeting. Marketers are constantly looking to disrupt and distract, pulling the consumers monkey mind from one thought to another.

Print has become the Zen of marketing. It requires a decision – investigate or discard. Engagement is instant, and if your content and design is right, it can lead to instant action. It can also create the intention of later engagement – filed to be look at later.


Develop your brand with print in mind

Digital communications certainly make life easier, but it’s almost impossible to stay completely digital, and you shouldn’t try.

Put your hand up if you print the good stuff. When faced with lengthy content that requires attention, many of us still hit the print button. Many of us also print the bad stuff – digital delivery of bills may save time and money, but printing them creates a physical reminder.

These days designers are constantly considering digital applications during the creative process. But the best designs are ones that can work seamlessly across both digital and print mediums.

When you’re developing your brand and designing marketing elements, keep in mind the need for printed versions.

  • How will your digital branding translate in printed materials?
    • What jumps off the screen might not work on paper.
  • Which elements could benefit from physical interaction?
    • Create PDF versions of your key content so users can print it – this could range from product brochures to timetables and checklists.
  • What content do you produce that people value and may want to hold?
    • Design for printing – what happens to your website when the user hits print – and make sure key content elements, such as product brochures, research and white papers have a printable PDF version.
  • How can you use printed materials to provoke the recipient to engage with your brand?
    • Think of the physical touch points and create material that users will value.

See below an example of Thirst Creative’s print design work for our client Cica Group.

View the full case study here.

Realise more: Expert advice on how to build a strong brand


Why is print still vital?

It sets intentions.

The physical act of buying a magazine, picking up a brochure or postcard, or even just finding a product catalogue in your mailbox and carrying inside captures the reader’s attention and create an instant intention – to read and engage with that material.


Tactile experiences

Physically engaging with printed items engages more of the senses than digital. You can feel the weight of your document and the quality of the paper, smell the ink, hear the pages turn. Creating something tangible adds credibility – you’re not just another digital shop front.


Print marketing must be design driven

Printed material relies on good design to grab and hold your attention. How well does your branding hold when the tricks of technology, video and moving images are taken away?


Print lasts longer

Print has the power to resurface. Printed product catalogs might be filed for future reference, magazines and white papers are kept on coffee tables for later reading away from digital distractions. Online your reader’s attention is being constantly bombarded with distractions – emails, advertising and the constant noise of social media. It really is a world when one click and they’re gone and you will need to work to bring them back.


Build credibility

Your brand is more than just a website, it’s a tangible entity with personality and people behind it. We go to great efforts to create personalities around our online brand, but a printed item can sum up that personality in an instant and create an emotional response in the person holding it.


How online brands use print

However hard you try to keep your business digital, there is still a long list of essentials that you need printed or have designed with the intention they will be printed.

The list is never-ending, but might include:

  • Business cards
  • Company letterhead
  • Envelopes and packaging
  • Postcards (to mail with purchases)
  • Product catalogues
  • Seasonal lookbooks
  • Gift vouchers
  • Banners
  • Exhibition stands
  • Decals and signage for your office door, company vehicles etc..
  • Promotional materials – caps, t-shirts, coffee cups
  • Annual Reports

Many online brands, especially e-commerce sites, have begun to embrace print and its ability to engage and inspire.

Order any product online and it’s likely to come with some sort of marketing postcard or targeted catalogue. If you’re just sending a printout of the online order as “receipt” you’re missing a huge opportunity to engage.

Creating a tangible printed catalogue is a valuable way to build credibility and engage with users whose first purchase may have been motivated by price or impulse rather than loyalty.


Should print be part of my marketing strategy?

Too many marketing strategies are leaving print out – assuming it will be managed as part of general admin. It’s important to give all your printed material the same, if not more, thought. It’s here that solid branding and good design really count.

See below an example of Thirst Creative’s print design work for our client Mailguard.

Achieve more with Thirst

Tell your story through the language of design. Tap into the psychology of your audiences mind and shape the way your brand is perceived with print. Thirst can create captivating, memorable and professional print assets for your business that engages your audience, evokes emotion and promotes action.

Ready to create captivating print for you business? Contact the Thirst team today.

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