Consumers Continue Their Love Affair With Print | PMI

Despite the meteoric rise of digital marketing, consumers still have a love affair with print. From direct mail marketing to packaging to signage and in-store displays, print continues to be critical to marketers’ success. 

According to a recent study by Smithers Pira titled “The Future of Global Printing to 2022,” printing services will continue to have an impact in the marketing world—so much so that the global print market is expected to reach $821 billion by 2022. That’s a lot of printed products! 

Much of this growth will be driven by the cost effectiveness and flexibility offered by digital production, not just in direct mail but in nontraditional digital print applications like packaging and labels.

Why? Print products are more beautiful and fun to interact with. There is something about the human brain that responds to print in a way that it does not respond to digital media.

One of the ways that researchers seek to understand this phenomenon is by studying how people’s brains respond to different channels, including print. The response often is measured using two metrics: motivation, or the level at which the channel drives behavior, and cognitive load, which refers to how easy or difficult something is to understand. 

To be most effective, a channel must score well in both categories. It must be easy to understand and highly motivating. And print does just that. 

Here is data from a classic study by Canada Post titled “A Bias for Action.” The study used neuroscientific research to study print and digital channels on key drivers of behavior, including motivation and cognitive load. Here is what it found:

  • Direct mail is easier to understand and more memorable than digital media, requiring 32 percent less cognitive effort to process and eliciting a much higher brand recall.
  • Direct mail is more persuasive than digital media, with a motivation response 20-percent higher than digital.
  • Direct mail is visually processed more quickly than digital media.

When these three things are considered together, this suggests that print gets the message across faster. Consequently, direct mail is more likely to drive behavior. 

Now it’s not that marketers need to focus on print to the exclusion of digital media, but for best results, it needs to remain a key part of the mix. There should be a perfect balance when it comes to a marketing strategy, aimed to bring in more clients and raise engagement. 

So what are some ways people can achieve that perfect balance? We have a few ideas. 

  1. Use printing services that are top notch, not just run of the mill. They should know exactly what they’re doing just like we do here at PMI
  2. Make sure your print products really express your brand and its personality. Products without personality lack engagement, reach and impact among other things.
  3. When planning out your marketing strategy, make sure you have a balance between your print products and your digital products you’re pushing. 
  4. Don’t forget to see what’s performing the best. If direct mail marketing is bringing in most customers, consider putting more assets on that side and cutting back on the digital side. 
  5. Make sure your digital products and print products connect and can work with each other to create a powerful look at your company. 

At the end of the day …

As marketers, we should love print because our customers love print. Whatever your printing needs are, we’re here to help at Printing and Marketing Inc. We offer various creative marketing services from promotional products to bindery and finishing to asset management and beyond. 

Whatever your need is, we can fulfill that here at PMI. And despite the current global pandemic, we still are operating, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us on our website or send us an email at

Northern California
33200 Transit Avenue
Union City, CA 94587
P 510.931.7000

Southern California
6790 Embarcadero Lane, #100
Carlsbad, CA 92011
P 858.800.4424

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