This post was written for Hawthorn Creative and originally published here.
We hear repeatedly that print is dead. As it turns out, print trumps digital marketing in several ways. Spoiler: you’ll book more brides with brochures.
In the “print vs. digital” debate, printed materials can sometimes be labelled as a relic of yesteryear, which has DOMs racing to hop aboard the digital bandwagon. It’s undeniable that digital marketing has a few major advantages - namely, instantaneous access, powerful personalization and targeting, and the ability to embed audio and video. And let’s not forget the joy that is the ability to demonstrate ROI via analytics… Digital is a powerful new tool in destination marketing, one that has already opened new channels of communication and engagement with prospective clients.
But as it turns out, the way we marketed in the “olden” days may still be neck and neck with modern marketing. Based on the science that’s emerging, it looks like a strategy that includes printed elements alongside digital marketing may be a DOM’s best bet. Let’s dig in to why, when it comes to marketing to brides, you might just clinch that wedding because of your printed brochure or magazine.
STANDING APART FROM THE CROWD WITH PRINT MARKETING
In today’s digital clutter and the constant chatter of social media, printed collateral is fresh, surprising, and above all, memorable. Marketers are always searching for ways to stand out, so rather than focusing entirely on the message of the ad, let’s be sure we’re taking the medium into consideration, too. Print lends itself to the type of communication with a customer that needs to be retained for further contemplation. A bride might remember yours was the venue they pinned to their Pinterest board…or they may not. That pin gets lumped in with the 20 others your bride pinned that morning and your venue may slip through the cracks. A beautiful, well-designed brochure, however, makes the kind of immediate impression that converts a bride from “considering” to “booked” on the spot.
THE NEUROSCIENCE OF PRINTED MATERIALS
Why, exactly, is print marketing memorable, though? In a study performed by Canadian neuromarketing firm, TrueImpact, it was found that printed marketing requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media, which means it’s significantly easier to both understand and remember print marketing. When people were asked to cite the brand mentioned in an advertisement they’d just seen, recall was a whopping 70% higher for those who were exposed to a print ad. In addition, there’s a growing body of research that suggests our brains process information differently from printed formats. A study in Norway concluded that “students who read texts in print scored significantly better on reading comprehension tests than students who read the texts digitally.” Not that you’re going to test your bride on reading comprehension, but the research clearly demonstrates that printed marketing is more memorable, which makes it significantly more effective in your efforts to make an impression on that soon-to-be-married couple.
WHY PRINT MARKETING OFFERS MULTISENSORY BRANDING
In any advertising, there’s always an emotional appeal, and marketing to brides is no different. A 2009 study by Bangor University and branding agency Millward Brown concluded that, in processing printed materials, the brain produces responses more connected to emotions, which means the messages contained in the physical materials were more strongly internalized. By exploiting a customer’s senses, and therefore tapping into the brain’s emotional processing, print marketing can create an impact with which digital marketing just can’t compete. What’s more, Sir Richard Branson, the genius behind Virgin Atlantic, has spoken about the potential of “multisensory branding,” which appeals to all five senses. By tapping into the rich sensory experience of touch, (and even scent!) that’s possible with printed marketing, you not only connect more securely with your brides on a human level, but you are building your brand identity in a way that a Facebook ad never will.
THE BOTTOM LINE ON THE PRINT VS. DIGITAL DEBATE
While digital marketing has understandably turned the hospitality marketing industry on its head, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The science is in and unequivocally, print is still a winning bet, especially when used in conjunction with the ease of digital marketing. Your brides may want to scroll through your venue’s Instagram feed, poke around your Facebook Page, but to grab her attention and rise above the crowd, be sure to hand her a crisp, stylish brochure, in all its sensual, physical, permanent glory.