There’s no denying the rise of digital media and digital device usage in our world today. From mobile phones more powerful than computers 20 years ago to the social media photo albums where we store hundreds and thousands of photos, the rise of digital has influenced our behavior at work and at home so profoundly, it’s hard to articulate.

But, despite the shift towards all-digital, all the time, you’d be hard-pressed to find a home or office that doesn’t have a printer. And there’s a good reason for that!

Print remains a critical part of day-to-day business operations and hard copy materials continue to elicit emotional responses and trust in consumers and employees alike. In fact, neuroscience research has shown that paper-based content and ads connect with our brains differently than digital content.

It’s easier to edit printed documents

No matter how much you love working behind a screen, it’s an undeniable fact that it’s much easier to edit and make corrections on a printed document than on a digital one.

Most people find actions such as striking out words, revising sections, highlighting passages, and underlining important pieces easier on paper than on computer. And, for some reason, it’s just easier to see mistakes on paper!

Although document processing software programs like Microsoft Word allows you to do many of the same editing actions digitally, printed documents can quickly be passed around and you can’t ignore, accept, or remove edits on a printed paper as it makes the rounds.

Print and digital copies often go hand-in-hand

In most offices, you’ll notice paper being used alongside digital tools such as web applications or cloud storage. Organizations using Managed Print Services (MPS) have detailed processes that leverage hard and soft copies to maximize efficiency and reduce waste.

Even as digital becomes more prominent, the synergy between printed documents and digital documents can’t be ignored.

One of the most common examples of this synergy is when you print out a document using the printer function of your all-in-one machine, sign it, and then use the same machine to scan the signed version and email it to someone. With Request for Proposal (RFP) responses, you’re often required to submit both the original signed document alongside a digital copy.

When it comes to your marketing efforts, it’s easy to fall into a trap of belief that print media is static. In actuality, this couldn’t be further from the truth! You can easily make your print media materials more interactive by leveraging:

  1. QR Codes: Draw your target audience to a webpage or website to learn more about your product or services. QR codes are easy to use and can be customized to fit your needs. Plus, a QR code says a lot with few words – meaning you can say more, with less.
  2. Infographics: Statistics and graphs are boring (sorry, data folks!) but when you format them into an infographic, you tell a story in a visually appealing and memorable way. Include a digital copy of the infographic online so it can be shared easily, too.
  3. Social Media: Including social media icons and tags in printed materials encourages your audiencce to bring the conversation online. Post engaging content through your digital media that reinforces your printed messaging.

Printed marketing materials still perform well

We love digital marketing solutions (see: this blog!) but no matter how many digital marketing solutions are developed, marketing campaigns that also leverage printed documents will always perform better. Why? Once again, the answer lies in neuroscience. Printed documents such as brochures and catalogs form a personal connection with the holder that digital simply can’t.

Even Millennials and Gen Z’ers – the generations who have grown up with digital – recognize printed materials as being more trustworthy than digital media. To test this, The Centre for Experimental Consumer Psychology at Bangor University leveraged MRI technologies and found that the experience of consuming physical media is more likely to create memories in the consumer’s mind.

Consider this: Websites are often skimmed in as little as 15 seconds per visit. When a customer or prospect reads a printed material, they are more engaged for a longer period of time.

While you might pop onto a website to read a single article and head elsewhere, the average consumer spends 43 minutes reading a physical, print magazine.

Printed stacks of paper are harder to ignore than a flood of emails

How many times have you ignored (or forgotten!) an email that needed your attention? While it’s easy for emails to go unread for days on end, a stack of paper piling up on your desk is harder to avoid.

Another element is that it’s easy to get distracted while viewing digital documents, as emails or Twitter notifications pop up on the screen. While you can certainly be distracted while reading a physicial document, hard-copy documents don’t have built-in distractions just waiting to grab your attention. In fact, because an extra sense is involved with printed media (touch), they’re twice as hard to ignore!

While you can flip through tabs mid-way through reading a digital document, the same can’t be said for physical pieces. You can even close a digital document knowing it will remain where you put it on your desktop until you’re ready to see it again… whenever that may be. Once you’re holding a document in your hand, it’s harder to ignore it. And, if you do decide to put it down, it will stay where you left it, taking up space on your actual desk.