Is print dead?

We live in a digital world so is print still the best way to communicate?

Date posted: 29/03/2019. Author: Hannah Dobson


Can we fall in love with print again?

We’ve all been there; admit it, swiping right on junk email after junk email or ghosting your inbox all together. You get home, only to be excited that you’ve received a letter in the post (even if it’s an energy bill).

Now we’re in a digital age, one could argue that the need for print is dying. Understandably the costs alone of printing a document versus producing it online would suggest that it’s no contest. But have we now got to a point where the digital marketing world is saturated, and we just switch off?

A couple of years ago, I ran a focus group with one of my longstanding clients and something that really stuck in my head was a comment from one of the participants. She said how she was bored of emails and it was too easy just to press delete rather than opening and reading it. She followed up saying how much she loved receiving documents in the post because ‘it felt more formal’.

This stuck out more as the lady was a millennial, the generation who have more than any other, fuelled the digital age and ignited new social media platforms and communication methods. How can we possibly claim that digital is the way forward when the one generation we’d expect to benefit from it most are also disengaged with it?


The benefits of print

A printed document can not only look enticing, but it lets the reader physically pick something up. They can admire and the paper quality and interact with it through different textures and smells. Women’s magazines even go as far as including scented pages to advertise perfumes. This is something which just can’t be replicated in the digital age.

Print has even won Sparks awards! In 2018, we won the award for Most Effective Communication (up to 5,000 employees) with a Sharesave document produced for Vitec.


Can digital win?

There are many aspects of digital print which I absolutely love. Augmented Reality, digital benefit statements and interactive videos are some of the most effective tools out there to help entice employees online and increase engagement with their pensions.

Digital also helps to reduce the effect printing does on the environment, which is a big selling point. You don’t have to worry about paper or waste with something that can be accessed online.

Communicating on a day to day basis shows how much digital has evolved. I think the majority of you reading this will struggle to remember the last time you wrote a letter but have no doubt quickly fired off a WhatsApp message to someone at some point today.


What next?

I think as an everyday tool, indeed digital is the way forward. But as a successful tool for engaging with employees, personally, I think we need to rethink how much we sell digital and look back at old faithful. You never know, one day I might come home from work and find a letter on my mat which isn’t a bill...