Selling Print in a Digital World


Who is your biggest competition?

Many of you would say technology is your number one competitor in the market today. Marketers are using email blasts, social media to build brand and webinars to communicate information, provide education and even inspiration. These marketing channels are low cost, can reach broad audiences and offer quick access to market. The effect has been significant on the print industry. Printers have closed, downsized or tried to reinvent themselves. In response, many print providers are driving costs down by taking less of a profit margin on jobs, limiting production choices and using the least expensive substrates. All this is done in an effort to fight for share of marketing budgets by offering the lowest price possible.

A Direct Marketing Association study found that direct mail averages 4.4% response rate compared to emails 0.12% response rate. The use of tangible printed materials adds haptic perception (engaging the sense of touch) that cannot be provided through electronic communications. Printers today must accept that marketing has changed forever. Embrace technology and be confident that print is not only relevant but crucial to an effective marketing campaign. Printed materials provide differentiation, permanence and an impact that digital information alone cannot replicate.

Differentiation: Stand up and Stand Out

We all want to stand out, and not by racing to the bottom faster than everyone else. Quality is a tool to differentiate yourself by taking price out of the equation. Bring your knowledge, expertise and skill to the forefront. No one can undercut that.

Permanence: The Power of Memory

When something needs to be remembered we look to craft. We chisel in stone, cast in bronze or immortalize in a book. In an ephemeral world, things that last have an even greater importance. Pixels come and go, and while they serve their purpose, they don’t have the staying power of a printed piece.

Touch: Shake on it (From Anywhere)

There is a reason we shake hands. Touch is powerful, and key to a personal connection. When we make something physical, something tactile, we shake someone’s hand from afar, engaging their sense of touch. No one has ever touched an email blast.

Efficiency: By the Numbers

Research has shown direct mail marketing campaigns are a remarkable 28 times more effective than email campaigns alone. That’s one effort as opposed to twenty eight. Any client will be happy generating less content that’s delivered more effectively. Who wants to write 28 email blasts?


This article 1st appeared in the Mohawk Craft Cooperative, Issue 1. Learn more about the makers campaign here.

Tips for Selling Print in a Digital World
  • Differentiate yourself as one of the highest quality makers to your clients.
  • Leverage the power of permanence that only print can provide.
  • Engage a customer's sense of touch to make a big impression.
  • Compare online-only marketing campaigns vs. those that integrate a print component. You may be surprised at the outcome.
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