Do printed brochures have a place in the digital era?

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DO PRINTED BROCHURES BELONG IN A DIGITAL ERA?

04 June

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We live in a world bombarded by digital media. So, you could be forgiven for thinking that printed brochures and other offline communications no longer have a place. However, that is not the case.

We are reaching an era of digital saturation. Our lives are monopolised by screens, whether we like it or not. Adverts are wherever we go and often inescapable. They become nothing more than white noise which we ignore, click away from or become increasingly irritated by.

Under those circumstances, a brand has little hope of making a positive or long-lasting impression on an audience, no matter how good their offering is. So, what is a marketer to do?

It’s time to return to more traditional forms of marketing. In a paperless society, a brochure can be nothing short of a marvellous novelty. Here’s why.

Time and space

Digital advertising is short and sweet. PPC adverts have limited space, Twitter’s character limit is notoriously challenging, and people don’t tend to watch or read for long when scrolling through social media. In fact, people pay attention to Instagram videos for less than 30 seconds. Even longer form digital media doesn’t hold our attention for long – the average time allocated to reading an email newsletter after opening it is only 51 seconds.

A brochure presents a great opportunity to get around this fleeting chance to engage with your audience. The space they provide, and the time someone may therefore allocate to enjoying it, increases exponentially with a brochure. A brochure is a more immersive experience where the reader can dive right into your brand and decide whether it is for them or not.

Substance and style

Digital communications, particularly social media, have their own limitations and standards to conform to. This can restrict creativity. Although social media platforms are constantly bringing out new ways for marketers to use their channels, we are still stuck to the screen. The freedom which a brochure allows provides much more opportunity to convey your brand, its look and feel, and the key messages which you want to get across. This goes way beyond word count to includes colours, graphics, image sizes, fonts, paper choices and much more. So, tell your brand story in any which way you like.

Cut the competition

A brochure doesn’t have to fight the same competition as digital media does today. It also doesn’t have as many hoops to jump through to get to the target audience – programmes such as StopAd, which prevent pop-ups, block around 200 adverts on desktop Windows devices alone. Send a brochure through the post to someone on your mailing list and it’s likely to stand out on the doormat in amongst the junk mail and bills.

There is also a pure and simple pleasure in holding something tangible in your hands. We looked at this in relation to direct mail in our recent blog series, which can be viewed here. It is also the reason behind the resurgence in printed books over ebooks. Use this opportunity to hook in someone’s attention and hold it for much longer with a brochure than digital communications.

Cost-effective

You may think that the cost of producing a brochure rules it out for your business. That isn’t necessarily true. Brochures can be a very cost-effective way of communicating with your audience. It is likely to be much less pricey than you think, particularly if ordering in bulk. Digital advertising is far from cheap anyway and you may not get the best ROI, either.

The way to really maximise the potential of your brochure is to ensure that they don’t act in silo. For example, it is almost impossible to imagine a travel agent without a wall of brochures. They sit within the broader marketing mix. That brochure may well push you to their website to check the latest prices and availability. A website can even mimic the style and functionality of a printed brochure so a visitor can flick through the pages and enjoy a similar and seamless experience both on and offline.

Create a lasting impression

A brochure literally gets you through the door of your target customer and may well just stay there longer than an advert on a scrolling screen would. Even in the Deliveroo era, how many takeaway menus do you have in your kitchen drawer to call upon when you don’t want to cook? Probably a fair few, if you are anything like us.

Brochures can also be worth their weight in gold when it comes to corporate credibility. It shows that you mean business. No potential customer is going to forget you when they have something in their hands to take away instead of trying to remember what advert they saw on that website. That potential customer can digest the information at their leisure and make a truly informed decision.

In conclusion, brochures quite rightly still have a definite place in today’s marketing mix. Although it shouldn’t necessarily be the only corporate communications you produce, it is still a vital way to get your brand firmly on the radar of your target audiences.

Theme Group are specialists in brochure design and production, as well as digital marketing and website development. Contact us to find out more. 

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