A Print Renaissance: Electronic vs. Print Marketing in 2017

By Teresa Gutsick,Creative Director, Association Management Group (AMG)

Teresa Gutsick

Teresa Gutsick

Remember when email was special?

For those of you whose birth announcements arrived in email, you probably don’t remember the heady days to which I am referring. Let me take you back…

Once upon a time there was real excitement surrounding email. It was quick and cheap, and a great way to drive a marketing message directly to your audience. You could promote your organization’s membership, their next event or annual conference with real style. And email allowed you to squeeze much more out of your marketing budget. This was refreshing considering that printed marketing materials— the old standard— were expensive to produce and mail. Then there was the concern that people received too much printed material (better known as junk mail), and so this could result in your big budget brochure getting lost on their desk, or possibly even trashed, before its beautiful, glossy covers were even opened. [gasp]

Wait. Does this sound familiar? “Trashed before it was even opened.” Yes, we’ve come full circle. Today, we worry obsessively about open rates for our email marketing. And we are not merely guessing that our clever marketing email has been trashed and not opened—thanks to email analytics, we know it has been trashed and not opened.

In a world where we are being bombarded by electronic communication from all sides, print has suddenly become a rather special medium for marketing. I believe this is because it exists in our physical world and not in an increasingly saturated digital landscape. Print can feel like something that has been crafted specifically for us.

The print world has been evolving and now offers many custom options that were previously cost prohibitive for small budgets. These include:

  • Soft Touch Aqueous Coating – This coating, which creates a velvety texture to the printed sheet, can be applied inline on the printing press and is an inexpensive alternative to a soft touch paper stock. Soft Touch® coating is applied in-line as a part of the printing process and assists with a quick drying time. This coating also protects the sheet from scuff marks during finishing operations like binding, folding, or cutting. It is an eco-friendly option.
  • Die-cuts and Other Specialty Finishing Options – Die-cuts are custom trims for brochures, like rounded corners, windows and pockets. Die-cuts and other special finishing options can make a piece unique, but can impact mailability, so check with your mailing services provider if mailing as a self-mailer. Other specialty finishing options include embossing and foil stamping. These methods are an additional step in the production process, requiring additional time and cost for production.
  • Variable Data – Today’s digital presses can customize much more than just names for your printed piece. Whole sections of content and imagery can be customized for different audiences. With variable data (on demand) digital printing, you control versionable, individualized text and graphics that can be targeted to customer and prospect interests.

A print piece takes more prominence than another email in your inbox because it takes up space on the desk that you sit your coffee on and can’t get caught in your IT department’s spam filter. It is time to give print another try. Craft a special marketing experience for your stakeholders with print.


Thank you to Ilene Lerner, AMG’s account representative at HBP, Inc., for her contributions to this blog.