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Print is dead, long live print!

For several years now, people have been predicting that print-based marketing will be forced to stand aside, allowing digital alternatives to take the throne as the key tool in a corporate marketing strategy.

Although the meteoric rise of smart phones and portable tablets has completely changed our habits on how we digest everyday news, this doesn’t necessarily mean print marketing will follow suit.

We believe that the need for print is as strong as ever.

As a prime example, Thomson Holidays wants to arrive early to the digital party and has announced its intention to phase out printed holiday brochures over the next four years. By 2020, the entire experience of searching for, choosing and booking a Thomson holiday will be done via an app and online.

Whilst this has many financial positives for the corporation, the declaration by the budget holiday’s Managing Director, Nick Longman, means the end of an era for the familiar experience of holiday shopping. Adults and children alike will surely have fond memories of being in a high-street holiday agent, flicking through brochure after brochure imagining themselves on each beach, bed and deckchair as they turn every page.

It makes sense for Thomson. They print 4.7 million brochures per year but footfall in their stores is massively down. While this change in direction for Thomson Holidays may just work, it’s important to remember that the holiday industry per se has transformed over the last 10-15 years with holiday-goers opting to browse the web for cheap package deals instead. As they say: if you can’t beat them – join them.

However, from our experience at HROC and working on accounts from a diverse range of sectors including construction, agriculture, garden paving and bathroom solutions, physical brochures and other collateral is frequently exactly what dealers and end users want – and prefer – when weighing up their options.

In a crowded market place, online marketing can often get lost – with a digital brochure, for instance, it’s arguably a case of ‘out of sight (or even site), out of mind’. Whereas a brochure always has a physical presence. Whether it’s on a desk, in a drawer, on a shelf, on a table, it’s always there. And wherever it is, your brand’s there, too.

When YouTube launched in 2005 and then again with the emergence of Netflix streaming in 2007, many believed it sounded the death knell for TV. Yet here we are now in a golden age of television and viewing figures remain strong. Likewise, there is strong anecdotal opinion that print will continue to hold its own, even if there are turbulent times ahead for the format.

There will always be a place in marketing for both print and digital. Printed brochures, DMs, flyers, banners, point of sale – they all serve a purpose; and taking these designs online can create a whole new user experience.

Whilst some agencies have pressed the panic button and decided to go ‘digital-only’, others are looking at ways the two can combine to create an engaging and successful integrated marketing campaign.

As a fully integrated marketing agency, HROC offers creative and design, digital, PR, media and video services all under one roof and we pride ourselves on running seamless integrated campaigns across the entire communications mix for our clients. If this is of interest to you and your company, call us on 0121 454 9707.