It’s OK to Print (No, really!)

December 3, 2013

While technology can add serious complexity to marketing activities (see the news items above and below) it’s nice to know that some things have stayed relatively simple — like putting ink on paper.

OK, it doesn’t have to be just ink on paper. Paper marketing materials can be sexy, too. Graham Riley, marketing director for Jacksonville-based Mac Papers says, “Technology is leaving its digital fingerprints on printed sales and marketing materials with the integration of QR (Quick Response) Codes and Augmented Reality (AR). If you haven’t seen AR yet, it uses the camera sensors on smart phones and tablets to combine reality (think of photos coming to life) with virtual overlays for a more dynamic interactive user experience.” (AR is still in its infancy but give BroadBased a call if you would like to see a sample.) And, interestingly, Ricoh has recently developed Clickable Paper, which enables consumers to receive online content by pointing a smart phone at any printed media.

In spite of what you may have heard about print being dead, that is just not the case. In addition to being an enormous industry, print is also green and drives commerce. Consider:

– Print is one of the largest industries in the world, eclipsing even auto-manufacturing. (

– 85% of consumers sort through and read selected pieces of mail every day. (Mail Print)

– Direct mail brings in 78% of donations for non-profits. (

– 40% of consumers say that they have tried a new business after receiving direct mail. (Mail Print)

– 73% of consumers prefer to receive mail — compared to 18% for email — with new product announcements or offers from companies they do business with. (International Communications Research survey)

– The paper industry plants three times more trees than it cuts. Forestry is the most sustainable of all new energy and materials industries. (

So when planning your 2014 marketing budget, don’t put all your eggs (or budget) in one digital basket. Be sure to round out your integrated marketing strategies with good ol’ dependable and results-generating ink-on-paper.


Jan Hirabayashi founded BroadBased in 1996 and is the company's CEO and lead marketing strategist.