Print Media

Today’s Cutting-Edge Media: Print!

Today’s Cutting-Edge Media: Print!

When we announced “Print Is Back, Baby!” a few years ago, at that time such a declaration was still squarely in the “breaking news” category. Although many pundits were talking up the value of print publications—claims that were backed up by plenty of research—most businesses still insisted on putting all of their (marketing) eggs into one (digital) basket. Some companies recognized the merits of print early on and incorporated it into their marketing and PR strategies. But most either decided to ignore completely or adopted a wait-and-see approach.

Four years later, it’s clear that print has a very solid foothold in the media market. Even as organizations are strengthening and expanding their video and social media presences, “print continues to generate the largest chunk of revenue for most legacy publishers” and remains a cost-effective way to connect with customers.

In fact, print is so strong that several companies that originated as online or digital businesses have in recent years added print materials to their marketing toolkits.

QR Codes Are Cool Again!

QR Codes Are Cool Again!

Although QR codes been around for a quarter of a century, it seems that most people in the USA still don’t know what they are and what they can do. To the naked eye they look like gibberish. But these machine-readable barcodes pack quite a punch: in a very small space, they can provide a wealth of information.

Back in the 2000s, QR codes were touted as “the next best thing!” for the marketing industry. But in the USA they’ve remained largely on the periphery of most mainstream marketing efforts for two main reasons. One, because they aren’t readily identifiable texts or pictures, people don’t quite know what to make of them. And two, the ability to decode QR codes has largely been locked up in dedicated applications that people often don’t already have on their devices when they encounter the codes.

With the 2017 release of iOS 11, however, the QR code landscape dramatically changed when the Camera app started to include a built-in QR code scanner. In other words, iOS users no longer need to download special apps in order to read QR codes. This major development basically eliminates the “I don’t already have an app for this and I don’t want to spend time downloading it now” factor that makes people reluctant to engage with QR codes.

Boost the Strength of Your Content Marketing

Strength of Your Content Marketing

Do you remember what life was like before the Internet?

When you think about it, the Internet hasn’t been around all that long. But it is so intertwined in our lives that it’s hard to imagine it ever not being here.

Long gone are the days when you’d be watching a television show, see a familiar face on the screen, and find yourself futilely trying to remember that actor’s name. (“Oh, it’s that guy. He’s been in tons of stuff, but I can’t think of his name or where else I’ve seen him before!”) Now, while you’re sitting on your sofa, you can just pull up the show’s IMDB page on your smartphone and find information about “that guy”—as well as about every other cast and crew member involved with the show!

Gone, too, are the days when doing research on a subject required a trip to the library to spend the afternoon looking through encyclopedias and other hard-copy texts. Thanks to the Internet, a wealth of knowledge is just one click away. (And often, that one click leads to another click, which leads to another, and to another . . . )

We live in a golden age of information sharing. It is truly amazing to consider just how much is out there. But how can we process it all without getting overwhelmed? The short answer is “we can’t.”

Last year, the business data management company Domo calculated how much online data was being produced every minute. The numbers are staggering:

  • 277,000 tweets on Twitter

  • 2,460,000 shares on Facebook

  • 204,000,000 sent e-mails

  • 4,000,000 searches on Google

  • 3,472 pins on Pinterest

  • 216,000 posts on Instagram

Can you imagine seeing that much content in one minute, much less actually comprehending it? Even over the course of an entire year, a single person couldn’t begin to process that much data!

People see a lot of stuff on their screens every day—and most of what someone encounters isn’t relevant to his or her interests. As more and more information is produced on an ever-increasing number of channels, it becomes increasingly difficult for signals (useful information) to cut through the noise (useless information).

Consider, for example, the most popular social media site in the world: Facebook. A tremendous amount of data moves through Facebook’s one billion registered accounts each day. The leader of the company’s ads marketing team, Brian Boland, explains:

On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and Page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on.

In order to make it more likely that users see the posts that are most relevant to their interests, Facebook employs some fairly sophisticated computer algorithms. Rather than see everything that’s produced by their friends and by the companies and pages they like, users see a curated selection of that content.

Unlike Facebook, though, most of us don’t have an army of programmers at our beck and call. So the challenge for marketers who want to reach their audiences via social media is to find other ways to help their signals stand out from all the noise.

Volume is one way to accomplish this: if you put your content out there in a large enough quantity, it’s bound to get seen, right? Perhaps. But it’s also very likely to be ignored, especially if your competitors have the same idea and also increase their output. Also, there’s a fine line between saturating your market and oversaturating it—and once you cross that line, you run the risk of annoying your audience to the point of alienating them. Some marketers who realize that have turned to a “new” media that’s actually been around for a long time: print.

Print magazines in particular have a proven effectiveness in helping companies cut through the noise. By their novelty (in comparison to digital media), print magazines stand out and can therefore make a lasting impression with their audiences. Their format enables more targeted communication, and the staying power they have as physical objects increases both the reach and the duration of that messaging.

Rather than jump on the Internet marketing bandwagon with everyone else, why not forge a different path and give print a try?

 

The Enduring Impact of Custom Publishing

Custom Publishing

At Mamu Media we focus on helping our clients use custom publishing to distinguish themselves from their competition and to communicate their messages more effectively. Through custom publishing, companies can create and distribute content that targets customers and prospective customers. Because most marketing today takes places in certain established, mainstream channels, we often posit custom publishing as something “new” and “innovative.”

Custom publishing certainly is both of those things when examined in the context of other marketing efforts. But it’s time for us to face the facts and admit that in the big picture, custom publishing isn’t really very “new” and “innovative” at all. The truth is that although many people consider custom publishing to be the new kid on the block in the marketing world, it’s actually been around for a while and has a long and distinguished history!

Custom publishing got its start in 1895, when an agricultural equipment company produced the first issue of a magazine marketed toward a specific consumer group. In The Furrow, John Deere sought to provide education to help its customers become better farmers—and better business owners, too.

Even if you’re not a farmer, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of The Furrow, which is still in print and now reaches nearly 3 million subscribers in 12 languages and over 40 countries. (And even if you haven’t heard of The Furrow, you’re surely familiar with the John Deere logo and the company’s products.) With such reach and longevity, it’s clear that custom publishing has been a smashing success for this company!

Although The Furrow is the earliest known example of custom publishing, a few others also make their mark long before the current boom in this marketing technique. For example, in 1916 Harley-Davidson launched The Enthusiast, a magazine for fans of the company’s motorcycles. (It remained in print until 2009, when it was combined with another publication and renamed HOG Magazine.) And although General Motors’ GM Folks (published from 1938 to 1956) was distributed primarily to GM employees, because its purpose was to strengthen brand loyalty and broaden the GM customer base, it does qualify as an example of custom publishing.

In an earlier post I described print custom magazines as “An Old Friend in a New Marketplace.” A few years later, that still holds true: this “old school” form of communication continues to broaden its appeal among marketers seeking to make new inroads among their customers—and among customers who have become numb to the cacophony of tweets, e-mails, and status updates they encounter each day.

Custom publishing has proven its effectiveness over the past century or so. It was pushed into a corner and neglected for a good chunk of the past couple of decades, as the shininess of new media (particularly digital media) grabbed everyone’s attention. But even though digital media remain effective in some ways, their initial luster has faded a bit, and companies are now looking around for something new to try. If your organization is one of those that’s looking for “the next best thing” in marketing communication, consider exploring what an old veteran—custom publishing—can do for you.

Print is Back, Baby!

Print Marketing

The numbers are in and the main media outlets agree with us: print is back, baby!

Even as e-readers surged in popularity over the past decade, they never dominated the media market and in fact e-book sales have actually fallen lately. A recent New York Times article, “The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far from Dead,” points out that “while analysts once predicted that e-books would overtake print by 2015, digital sales have instead slowed sharply.”

In short, even as pundits were busily crowing about the demise of print media, it has remained very much alive and kicking.

The rise in pricing for some e-books accounts for some, but not all, of the downward trend in e-books. Another noteworthy factor—and one that applies to digital media across the board, not just to e-books—is that many people just like paper better. In fact, research indicates that at least one demographic group that might be expected to skew toward digital media, “young readers who are digital natives,” actually “still prefer reading on paper.

Why?

I’ve covered this territory here before, explaining how print communications are more memorable than digital ones, not least because of the ability of words on paper to connect with and engage readers more than blips on a screen.

But don’t just take my word for it (or put all of your faith in what scholars have said on the subject). Think about your own relationship with print. Even if you are a diehard e-book reader, I bet you still have some paper media around that means something to you.

Your marriage certificate, a birthday card your kid made for you, the handwritten notes your dad packed in your school lunches during your childhood, ticket stubs from a concert by your favorite band, newspaper clippings about when your team won the championship game—those are the kinds of things you keep and treasure. But how often do you dig through your e-mail to find the link to the online e-card someone sent you a couple of years ago? When is the last time you found a digital communication to be deeply meaningful to you?

Think of a particular medium as a vessel for a message. It’s the container that communicates something from the author to the reader. And as Craig Mod points out:

Containers matter. They shape stories and the experience of stories. Choose the right binding, cloth, trim size, texture of paper, margins, and ink, and you will strengthen the bond between reader and text. Choose badly and the object becomes a wedge between reader and text.

Digital media has been amazingly effective at reaching large numbers of people quickly, easily, and inexpensively. But what good is that reach if it has no lasting effect and endures only briefly? Or if it never meets its target at all but rather gets drowned out in an electronic cacophony of countless other messages competing for attention?

If you’re taking the time to craft a message, then make the effort to communicate it effectively. Before you send your words out into the world, be sure to choose the best container for them.