The Resurgence of Printing and its New Home in a Digital Marketplace

By Brandon Sanders

All consumers feel constantly crowded by the flood of online advertisements, app downloads, “special offers” and, of course, the never-relenting email blasts. Such marketing techniques have become the ‘go to’ for marketers since economic downturn of 2007. Customers, in alarming numbers, began buying online and businesses adopted digital and online solutions to connect with those customers and to save on costs. Meanwhile, printed materials and direct mail declined. According to the Direct Mail Association (DMA), mailings dropped to an all-time low in 2012. As a result, consumers unknowingly became ever more emotionally detached from the buying experience. This is where the printing industry finds its foot-hold, and we’ll tell you why.

According to Printing Industries of America’s research, websites that offer a printed catalog generate 164% greater revenue than companies that do not. This new approach to multichannel marketing suggests that customers actually prefer to touch, feel and sit down with a printed catalog. From there, consumers turn to their smartphone or internet device to purchase. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review, by Denise Lee Yohn, cites this and the findings of companies like Nordstrom and Bonobos who report that 20% of their first-time customers who receive a catalog are spending, on average, one and a half percent more compared to new shoppers that did not receive a catalog. IKEA has also heard the calling. In a recent IKEA commercial, they spoof Apple with the release of their “bookbook.” This traditional (printed) catalog features “tactile touch technology,” the ability to “literally share it” and even the ability to “bookmark” if you want. It has proven to be a very successful marketing approach, yielding over 17 million views already on, which in turn manifests into IKEA dollars.

Neuroscience case studies from MillwardBrown and The Centre for Experimental Consumer Psychology suggests that there is a far greater emotional response provoked by tangible materials opposed to non-tangible materials, like that of what you would view online. Holding something makes a personal connection, and “leaves a deeper footprint in the brain.” This means a more emotionally vivid memory. One thing is certain, people like to feel, and nothing does that better than touch. This likely explains Pitney Bowes survey which notes that a growing 76% of small businesses utilize a mixture of printed and digital communications to maximum effect.

There is no shortage of reports that tell us print is here to stay. Thanks to prints’ electronic ally, the digital marketplace, buyers have both tactile inspiration accompanied by the convenience of online ordering. Thus, the power of printing and a return to its rightful place, back in your hands.

Brandon Sanders, is a senior sales consultant with The Sauers Group, Inc. He can be reached at


One thought on “The Resurgence of Printing and its New Home in a Digital Marketplace

  1. Catalogues and brochures always work for my business. I work with a graphic designer and an online printing company , deliver visually appealing catalogues and brochures to my prospective clients. It costs some money but always pays back at the end.

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