October 23rd, 2000: Google launches AdWords with 350 advertisers. Digital Marketing was born, and print media was dead.

Really? Print certainly seemed to be on its way out with the advent and subsequent boom of email marketing, digital display ads, and SEO, but with the meteoric rise of digital media there has also been a quiet resurgence building under the radar. A longing to go back to print marketing and advertising. To once again frolic in a low-competition niche with a barrier to entry that blocks your competition. To make tangible, physical contact with customers and rebuild the trust broken by the rampant data dealing debauchery we see Facebook and Google partaking in. And to run disruptive, outside-the-box print campaigns that cannot be duplicated digitally.

The Print/Digital “Flippening”

Digital agencies and digital-marketing-tools companies are beginning to flip back to print, at least a little. The same folks who warned the old traditional advertisers about the changing tides of print-to-digital back in the early 2000’s are now quietly rolling out print offerings themselves. Check out Mailchimp and their recent direct mail service. Mailchimp will now offer its users an option to direct mail a physical postcard to subscribers with the click of a button.

In a recent article published on Fast Company, author Steven Melendez had this to say:

“While postal mail might seem an unusual next step for a company that’s previously focused on small business internet marketing, Mailchimp has been testing the postcard service for a while. John Foreman, Mailchimp’s VP of product management, says that its customers have indicated they still spend a fair bit of time and money on direct mail. ‘In interviewing customers, we noticed they still do a lot of print marketing, they still do a lot of direct mail,’ he says.”

The Print Media Barrier is Back

When digital marketing first stepped onto the scene, less than 50% of Americans even owned a home computer. The learning curve to operate the hardware in 1985 was enough to block most copywriters from getting their feet wet, let alone the user-unfriendly marketing software platforms of the current day. In the beginning there was a tremendous barrier to entry to go digital.

Then everything got easier. Now you can click a button and boost a post for $20 on Facebook…and know to-a-cent the ROI of that campaign.

But while digital marketing got easier, print reinforced their barrier to entry being more “craft” than digital. The know-how required to execute quality print is a dying wisdom. The slow death of this tradition directly translates into a more powerful differentiating factor. The less there is of a thing, the more noticeable that thing is. Business owners that reallocate their marketing budgets to print media are opening the floodgates to a blue ocean of consumers.

The best part is that consumers aren’t sick of this advertising medium! People welcome and even save well-designed mailers and brochures. When was the last time you downloaded a banner ad?

Ever? Never? Thought so.

Convention + Innovation = Disruption

Now, you can certainly be creative with a well-produced video, stunning motion graphics, or an interesting digital campaign. But what we specialize in at Vitals Agency is crafting X-factors that surprise and delight our client’s customers.

With more noise than ever in the digital space all vying for precious microseconds of user attention, the competition is beyond fierce. This doesn’t mean you should immediately pull the plug on your digital initiatives, but it’s time to have some fun and run a print experiment. Unlike digital, when physicality is in play you can do some really unique stuff. Here are some ideas:

Take a good card stock and design some perforation with overlain folding instructions and send it to potential clients asking them “How high can your business fly? We’ll get you higher!”. Take a high res, full body photo of yourself and have life-size cutouts printed and drop shipped to some of your hottest prospects. Caption could read, “I’m a gatekeeper’s worst nightmare” or “I dare you not to talk about this tactic at your next marketing meeting.”

…or simply “Here’s the life-size cutout of me you requested. XOXO”.

This sense of play, creativity, and tangibility is simply not duplicatable in the digital realm. You can bet it will stand out in the mind of the recipient.

Get into Print Media

Digital marketing used to have a great barrier-to-entry, which is why these methods stood out among the rest so easily. But then, with the onslaught of Millennial social-media-savants and the ever increasing ease-of-use of platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook Business Manager, everyone and their respective mothers can now be digital marketers. Because of this trend, those that know and care about print media are an ever shrinking breed.

What this means for you, as a business owner, is that print is a differentiating factor again! Allow some budget and craft some new business cards, booklets, postcards, brochures, vinyl banners, trade show booths…life-size cutouts. Reaching your customers in unexpected ways gives you the upper hand over competitors. Land in a physical mailbox in addition to a digital one.

Print With Vitals

At Vitals Agency, we offer print solutions to business owners to supplement digital with unique and exciting print options. Get in touch and learn more about our conventional disruptions (disruptive conventions?) and see how we can help you!

We love working with folks who dream as big as we do. That’s why we partner with Super Trade Printer 4Over to deliver the print needs of our clients. Check out what they can produce and start the brainstorm! Get creative and make an impression with a quality product. Differentiate your business and disrupt your industry.

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