A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham McGregor: Is print marketing dead or deadly?

What can you think of that is a welcomed gift, and yet is also a piece of blatant marketing? Photo / iStock
What can you think of that is a welcomed gift, and yet is also a piece of blatant marketing? Photo / iStock

Over the last few years there has been a big change in the way that businesses market and promote their businesses.

Google, Facebook and digital marketing is increasing rapidly.

While advertising in printed versions of Yellow Pages and many newspapers is shrinking rapidly.

Does this mean that print marketing is now dead?

Not at all.

I personally believe that print marketing (done well) is one of the most effective and profitable marketing strategies that you can use.

Here are some interesting print marketing statistics that are worth knowing:

1: Approximately 2 out of 5 consumers will check out a new business after receiving print marketing from the company. With repeat mailing, this response jumps exponentially, and this method also greatly increases your brand exposure and builds a personal connection with the consumer.

If you send out a few printed items for marketing, you could boost your sales and reputation significantly.

2: Only 2 per cent of consumers do not open their mail on the day that it was received, and this statistic shows why direct mail advertising can be so effective.

Ninety eight per cent of the population opens their mail that day, getting your message and marketing out there as soon as possible.

This fact makes a time sensitive campaign easy to plan and execute.

3: Almost half of the people who receive print marketing in the mail will keep these items for future reference if the products or services are something that they consumer may need later on.

4: More than 90 per cent of younger consumers who shop on a regular basis prefer print marketing when they are researching products and making important decisions on purchasing.

5: Print marketing does not have to ignore new technology; more than 35 per cent of companies integrate QR codes, NFC technology, and other innovative techniques in their printed materials. These components can help consumers find your website and products on the Internet, and provide essential information and answers that consumers may be looking for.

6: According to the Direct Mail Association, companies who use direct mail advertising get a 13 to 1 return on their investment, and this is very impressive when the ROI on other advertising methods are considered. Since this type of campaign is fairly inexpensive even the smallest businesses can benefit without breaking the bank.

I had a chat recently with Shane Devlin the owner of Graphix Explosion one of my favourite printing companies.

I asked Shane if he could share some examples and thoughts about how businesses are using print marketing to boost their sales and revenues.

Let me pass you over to Shane for his comments...

Print industry insight: Consumable v Promotional print.

What we have observed is that the real change that leads people to think that print is dead, is that what we call consumable print, eg. letterheads, quotes, envelopes, invoice paper etc. has all but been replaced by email and modern accounting/quoting systems.

This type of printing is a direct cost and if you don't need it, why would you buy it?
(Every dollar saved in this area of your business is a dollar's profit.)

Promotional print is a completely different story - every marketing dollar you spend here that makes you more than a dollar, is an investment in your business.

And the more businesses that get confused by this difference and don't use print in their marketing, the more valuable it will be to those that do!"

Here are two examples of how well promotional printing works...

Example 1: Graphix Explosion.

"We started our printing company in 1995 from scratch (zero customers) with the knowledge that 5-7 points of contact are required before you have any chance of a new client doing business with you.

The quickest and best way we could think of to get our name out there was to print flyers and do a business PO Box and postie drop to every business in the area.

We initially did these flyer drops 6 times a year, and 20 years later, still do 4 flyer drops a year.

The results were instant - not enough to actually recoup our upfront costs, but the lifetime value of a client well and truly makes it worthwhile.

These days we not only get payback, but it always gets us new clients, and prompts existing clients to both re-order and often purchase new products they haven't ordered before.

We have tried, tested and measured every type of marketing out there, and nothing has come close to being as effective as printed promotional material -flyer drops, notepads, calendars, pens etc.

Example 2: Camelot Group.

They are a nationwide multi-site company offering financial planning and risk services and they are our largest client that still uses good old fashioned branded letterheads, envelopes and labels. With these very simple marketing tools, they use the direct marketing approach to their existing database.

In their General Manager, Tina Evans', own words:

"We want the logo on show all of the time, so we use branded envelopes as we know that each time a client looks at their mail, Camelot stands out. They will know it is something relevant to their risk or investment strategies and will open it. We use the Camelot logo stickers on our client reward magazines, when our clients have given us a referral they receive a subscription for a year. Each time they receive the magazine it has our Logo on the front, reminding them that they have been rewarded by Camelot for making sure someone else has received our great services."

Camelot still also reward their clients with a branded calendar.

Depending on quantity, calendars cost between $5 and $10 each fully branded and full colour throughout.

Along with notepads, what else can you think of that is a welcomed gift, and yet is also a piece of blatant marketing?


I really like the great insights by Shane on print marketing and how to use it effectively.

You may like to test using print marketing in your own business as well.

'The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armoury of the modern commander.' - T. E. Lawrence

Action Step:

Talk to your favourite digital printer and ask them for ideas on how you can market your business using promotional printing.

You'll be pleasantly surprised at the huge number of affordable ways to use digital printing to boost sales that you may not have considered.

- NZ Herald

Graham McGregor is a consultant specialising in memorable marketing. You can download his 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage' Ebook at no charge from www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com.

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A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham has had 36 years 'hands on' experience in sales and marketing. He has sold a range of services including advertising, sales training, personal development, life insurance, IT services, investment property and business consulting services.

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