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Print Media Sustainability In A Digital World

17th Apr 2020

Increasing accessibility and constantly innovating exciting methods to use an evolving platform, digital media continues to find growth in many areas where print finds itself lagging behind. It may just seem like a changing of the times, as a growing younger audience interacts with digital platforms, the numbers skew and we see a change - but that isn’t always the case, as there are many other factors that are important to look at when we see how the market changes - one trend that we are seeing however is that print media is finding a way back in to many markets where it had started to see a decline as the drawbacks to digital media are being discovered - as well as a changing trend in how even younger audiences are interacting with digital media through practices that may have harmed more than they have helped.

Accessibility - This is of course the biggest hurdle for print media to overcome, and what has helped digital media to grow in the way it has for every market. For those who work in advertising, digital has clear benefits - there’s no physical restrictions, changes can be made very simply, and the media can be distributed very simply. This also extends away from advertising to more traditional forms of media such as news, without a physical tie, accessibility sees an increase. One area in which this does become difficult for digital, however, is the remaining need for physical events. Pop-up stands and display stands will always serve as a strong, portable, and multi-use option for events where you may have a shorter set-up time.

Pricing - Pricing is also an important factor to consider for both consumer and businesses - but not without its drawbacks. A more traditional form of advertising such as a pop-up banner may be more expensive than an online banner counterpart, a difference in an online article placement compared to that of printing a flyer or leaflet, for example. However, a difference in price may not reflect how the content is received, as it should also be important to factor how effective your engagement and brand representation is within the price you’re paying.

(Source RAMetrics)

Amongst the growth of digital media, however, traditional print has been finding a very strong foothold as certain qualities are sought out as data is further analysed and again as methods are changing and developing;

Quality - An area that has started to favour print in more ways than it has digital - and whilst it is a difficult thing to quantify with such a broad stroke, there are reasons behind this. In areas such as journalism, social media has taken over - the data suggests that news is primarily being sought out on these platforms, and whilst we do have the bigger networks represented here, there are just as many sources from an individual claiming to have different facts. In advertising and marketing, a previously rather specialised position within print has been diluted in digital as anyone with a little knowledge and an Adobe subscription may produce content - whilst you may pay a premium for the higher quality content as you would with print, the variation may not be as wide.

(Sources Americans use for news - source AmericanPressInstitute.Org)

A physical presence - A very much important area where print will always remain strong will be the need for a physical presence. As shown above, brand recognition and ad recall are much higher amongst print over digital, and this becomes increasingly apparent in a more physical setting such as a conference or event venue and why we still see the use of banner printing and event stands - the need for a physical presence exists outside of media as other markets such as book sales which are finding an increase as many seek a more tactile feel once again.

Many believed that digital media would very much change the way we interact with print, and whilst in some regards this may be true there are still many instances where print grows from strength to strength. Networking within businesses will always be an important tool, and with that trade shows, conferences and events will continue to be a staple - exhibition display stands, banners, and stands will always be a strength as an easily portable solution for brand representation and outreach. Business cards still remain a staple in networking and connectivity at such events and with a face to face event, data suggests that businesses and marketers’ value small trade shows as a tool to directly connect to their customers.