In spite of past predictions by some… today, print media is alive and well. Over a decade ago a former client predicted, that within ten years, all printers would be out of business and magazines would no longer exist. He claimed that the new digital media would take over, and print advertising would go by the way of the dinosaur. He was right about the emerging dominance of digital media’s, but failed to understand the relevance and importance of print media and advertising. Today, print Magazines, Catalogs, Collateral and Direct Mail are not only alive and well, but often preferred by many readers over the digital versions. Why is that?

Let’s look at the numbers; The latest figures show that there are 7,176 magazines in circulation in the United States as of 2017. This number has been consistent since about 2004. September 2018 Freeport Press, a World-class manufacture of print media, promoted a 10-question survey to a variety of magazine readers in the North America which generated 1226 responses. Of the 1,226 respondents, 41% read 1-2 magazines a month, 22% read 3-4 and 11.5% read 5 or more magazines every month.. In their summary they reported, “We read more, read longer and subscribe more often to print than digital. While publishers talk about embracing the digital future of their publications, ordinary people like you and me still prefer to read a good glossy.”

AdAge did a study on who still reads magazines and found: that every generation — from young Millennials (ages 13 to 24) to Generation X (25 to 41) to Baby Boomers (42 to 60) and older Matures (61 to 75) — enjoys reading magazines. Almost three-fourths of all consumers choose to read them even though they can find the same information online. There is also a greater receptivity overall to print ads compared with Internet ads, the study found. Did you know,  that over 55% of all consumers trust print marketing more than any other advertising. Over 50% of Millennials pay attention to print ads. Although Millennials are known as being a digital generation, studies have shown that they actively pay attention to print ads.

Why do people prefer print magazines rather than going on-line? There are many reasons; It is easier and more fun to flip through a publication… read and dog ear pages… and to put it down or pick it up anytime anywhere. Not everyone is on an iPad. In fact, there are many consumers that do not even own a computer, read: Marketing to Graybeards. Print magazines present a wide spectrum of information. If you Google a topic you only get information only on that particular item. However, if you page through a print magazine, you are exposed to a combination of interesting editorial and information on products through advertising and new product releases. So, magazines offer a wide array of interest and information that is not readily accessible when seeking a specific item or topic on an Internet search.

Many Print Magazines are also available on digital versions, so you can surf if you prefer not to flip pages. Whether on-line or hard copy, all magazines start out as print. The design principles of creating good print ads apply. In on-line versions, an added benefit of interactive links can be embedded in copy which can take the reader right to the advertisers’ website so that is a unique advantage, but the link can be listed in print advertising as well.

Today, Direct Mail has advantages because many marketers are focusing on Social Media so there is less competition in mailboxes. Studies show, about 56% of recipients do read advertising mail and over 40% of consumers have made a purchase in the last three months, due to a direct mail piece they received. With media programs like the United Postal Service, Every Door Direct, marketers can cost effectively target geographic areas with definitive messages. The message delivers pro-active exposure to the targeted market.

Print Catalogs are the best way to present an extensive product line. According to a recent article on CNBC, Studies from the Data & Marketing Association have shown that the response rate for catalogs has increased in recent years in part because less mail is being sent, and Millennials happen to like catalogs more than other age groups do. The primary advantage for the marketer to publishing a catalog is exposure for an extensive product line, options and accessories. Catalog readers will often find additional items while shopping, thus increasing sales. Internet purchasing is good if you know exactly what you want. You can’t Google it if you don’t know it exists. But the catalog must be user-friendly and designed for the market.

Every Ad, Catalog, Brochure, Product Sheet, Trade Show Collateral and Product Package Stuffer is a printed element that can also be digitized and posted on websites, emailed or placed on Social Media. So, it is important that marketing principles of good design, copy, graphics and buyer motivation be employed. Creating and producing effective print elements is a comprehensive marketing effort, while printers and graphic designers can paste-up products on pages, a marketer would do best to rely on an experienced marketing professional.

Tom Smisek Marketing Consultants is a print media specialist based in Orange County California.