Why Printed Marketing Materials Still Matter

Either used at trade shows or at sales meetings, printed documents
are still unmatched in the results achieved

Life is about feelings, emotions and the search of the unexpected. It's about relationships, friends and not so.

In whichever way you look at it, life puts us in front of new situations every day. Many of those are great opportunities for us to learn, enjoy or reject. What's sure is that the world will create an impact in ourselves. That impact is nothing else than the marketing of all others; comunicating us what they have to say. The way in which we'll get to know lots of things that will create an impact in ourselves will happen through personal interaction and through some sort of print marketing (newspapers, magazines, brochures, signs, and the list goes on and on).

""Marketing is just smoke and mirrors" *

"No one but large corporations can afford it" *

"Unless you have a sophisticated marketing department, an ad firm, a PR agency and millions of dollars, don't even bother with marketing" *

"I don't even need to spend marketing dollars. People do know us already" (as if companies such as Coca Cola would not have millions of followers…)

*From "Marketing that matters" -- Chip Conley, Eric Friedenwald-Fishman

Those are claims are repeatedly heard and have become part of the "street myth" of accepted laws of advertising and marketing. Vast experimentation and investigation are available, though, that proof that marketing actually does not obey the ominous predictions listed above.

In the public's eye, marketing represents a broad set of promotional activities, targeted to outreach audiences and get them interested in certain services or products. We find that many of our first-time-clients automatically build a mental connection between this marketing definition and the opening concepts of this article.

Even in a less commercial field such as education, we find multiple uses for printed paper.

How do you break the mental link that usually prevents people from taking action in improving their business?

"How do you eat an elephant?" is a saying that you may have heard before.

"One bite at a time" is the answer, and it applies to almost every aspect of life.

Coca Cola still runs tons of advertising campaigns in print materials and mainly on TV (Aha! Even large companies still need to advertise) and I found out by reading a magazine that they are now offering aluminum bottles that look really cool!

The Fast Oil Change shop a couple of miles away of your home (whom you completely forgot existed since you don't drive too often in that direction) just sent you a postcard and just by coincidence, it's time to have your oil changed!

You've been to the public library and on that table where lots of brochures sit, you found out about those free mock exam sessions that high school students can take advantage of to ace their coming exams.

And you picked up a take-out menu at the local Chinese restaurant and learned that on your next visit you'd get a free appetizer! (That's great!)

When going to the arts street fair last month I found a guy that can do some nice faux arts in my living room. I have his artist print brochure. When I got home I found out in his brochure that he has a website, which I actually liked a lot.

Of course, I found out so many other things online. I was careful to save the links with those other tons of links that have been catching my attention lately. Bought some items on Ebay and bought my 22" computer monitor after having seen the Sunday circulars in the newspaper.

This morning I'm at Starbucks, putting this article together, and I found out that by getting a members card (which is free), I'll enjoy many perks. I'm a loyal Starbucks customer, but only got to find out about their VIP here at the store, when I'm in a mood to appreciate those perks. Not online.

A big poster hanging on a wall at the doctor's office invited me to dream about a trip to Europe during the spring.

At the trade show that took place last month at the Miami Convention Center, signs hanging at the booths, retractable banners and stands showing the printed literature available, along with the items on display were the right elements in place to attract me and have me spend a few of my limited hours at the show. Each exhibitor is competing with the others for my attention.

It's interesting to realize that, in most of my everyday findings, I got to know about them through print marketing pieces and through personal contact. Otherwise, I would not have found them, simply because I was not looking specifically for them either! And I found them only when I was in the mood to view them.

All of those are the reasons why print cards and direct mail marketing materials still matter. Moreover, they still matter a lot.

This 2009 world still turns around people and emotions, social interaction and friendship, hate and envy.  Some people call those feelings the "hot buttons" because those are the real engines we, humans, have inside of us.

"The best things in the world still amount to nothing without the one who first shows them…" by Friedrich Nietzsche

Internet is powerful, but we still value the social interaction and as Nietzche said, if we don't show it, nothing happens.

Considering all of the above facts, you should definitely consider increasing your print advertising and direct mail marketing actions. There's so much that can be done with limited investments that you would be amazed.

You can print catalogs produced through color copies; just enough catalogs as you need for a specific event. Since you might be familiar with desktop publishing software such as Microsoft Publisher, Adobe's InDesign and so many other packages out there, there's a great deal of work that you can do yourself by tweaking and adjusting your message for every event. $150 might be enough to get several hundreds of brochures!

Signs and posters are very inexpensive these days and through those you can catch people's attention easily. If you have a table at a trade show, a retractable banner will probably do what you need at less than $200 (forget about those booths that require architects with budgets of tens of thousands of dollars). Printed marketing elements are still current and will be so for a long time.

Marketing in the real world is still necessary and happens all the time. You don't need to be a genius to cope with what's going on. One thing it's clear: on top of a fast computer, you'll need printed materials to let people know what you are doing. That's inevitable and will happen one way or another..