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Print in the Age of Digital? You Betcha!

Print has been supposedly dying for well over 20 years. Well, today it’s not just living, it’s thriving!

If you were to ask a dozen people whether they trust an email that “appears” to come from a bank or a physical letter, I’ll wager that you’d probably get 12 responses saying that they trust good old direct (some call it physical) mail.

Would you believe even millennials report that they trust print more than digital. In fact, USPS Mail Moments Review reports that 84% of millennials take the time to look through their mail and that 64% would rather scan for useful information in print than email.

There’s been some very interesting research done on how the brain processes print information as opposed to digital. True Impact says it takes 21% less cognitive effort to process print direct mail than a similar message using digital.

Print has also been shown to have higher recall than digital. In addition, print is also more of a tangible, emotional experience than digital.

Just think for a moment about your reaction when someone takes the time to send you a hand-written note versus a text that says, “I’m thinking about you.” Wouldn’t you agree that a physical birthday card means more to you than an e-card, which, after all, you can’t touch, scratch, or sniff?

I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that a printed piece can act as a signal that interrupts a digital noise.

None of the above is to imply that digital communication doesn’t have a place in today’s fundraising and marketing world. There is a place for it, to be sure. But one huge disadvantage is how easy it is to ignore digital. How much effort is needed to delete a screen full of promotional email gobbledygook or even Facebook ads? It’s so much harder to get rid of a day’s worth of actual, physical mail. It’s just plain more engaging. And that’s exactly the point, isn’t it?

Need more convincing? Try this on for size: 80% of traditional mail is opened; 80% of emails are deleted. Why? I believe it’s because paper has a much stronger perceived value.

If you’re a customer or even a prospect, you have to find your way to a website on your own. A direct mail piece delivered snugly into your mailbox, on the other hand, is like an active tap on your shoulder that online can’t replicate…no matter how hard it tries. It can’t be overlooked.

Here's what marketing and fundraising professionals and others across a wide range of industries have discovered: they simply cannot generate the volume of qualified leads they need for continued growth without direct mail.

What do we at Rescigno’s advise? Use print communications in conjunction with other channels to create integrated fundraising and marketing campaigns. Print must, however, lead the way in providing a more compelling and satisfying customer/donor/prospect experience.

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