Does printed text convey your message more effectively? Yes, according to a study published in the International Journal of Educational Research.
The 2013 study measured higher comprehension rates among students who read printed text compared to their cohort reading on a digital screen. This sheds light on why targeted print messaging is so effective.
With humans having an attention span approximated at one-second-less than a goldfish (8 seconds) we’re faced with two choices. We can play into this trend by shallowing to a Twitter-like depth, or consider the benefits of a message that punches through and sticks around. If the latter is your choice, print is your medium.
Experience tells us printed text is more persuasive; primarily because of the lack of accompanying distractions. A direct mailer in your hand does not also preview messages that your credit card is due. A brochure describing a product or service is not attempting to sell you something else in the margins. Even if your goldfish-like brain momentarily short-circuits, you are still experiencing the tactile presence of the printed item, and are more likely to return to it.
Printed messaging can be technology-leveraged. Just because we’re talking about ink (or toner) on paper does not imply a lack of technical horsepower. First, cost-effective print marketing depends on carefully targeting your audience (database). Second, make the message interactive in any way technology allows by use of variable data, discount codes, or direct (foolproof and simple) cues to your web presence. Third, and perhaps most important, be sure the layout is produced at the highest level the budget will allow. Message consumers have become extremely discerning, and a “homemade” look will stick out like a sore thumb. High production values play into our final point, below.
A printed message is a gift. Is this an exaggeration? Maybe, but not much. Consumers know that an email costs virtually nothing, whereas printed material is a significant investment. Millennials, particularly, have grown up with the “Nigerian Prince,” and tend to ignore digital messages from unknown senders. Tangible print messaging, on the other hand, is viewed by the same group as being inherently trustworthy. Additionally, many demographic groups will not reflexively throw something away they perceive as “high-quality.”
Relevance, credibility, and longevity are the watchwords. There will be a quiz!