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Maria Simao
Maria Simao 31 December 2018

Keeping it real – why printed marketing still resonates

In a world where young people have been raised in a digital-first, media-saturated world, it’s easy to assume that digital is the only way to engage with them.

Maria Simao
Maria Simao 31 December 2018

In a world where young people have been raised in a digital-first, media-saturated world, it’s easy to assume that digital is the only way to engage with them.


In the marketing world, digital channels are often prioritised, and on the face of it, marketers are following consumers’ behaviour.

But that’s not the whole story.

The American printing company Quad/Graphics found that 82% of “millennials” – the people we assume are obsessed with their phones – actually engage with printed marketing.

The real world has thrown up some other surprisingly analogue trends recently, flying in the face of the assumption that digital is the most important thing to young people. From the growth of vinyl to the ever-expanding foodie scene, it’s clear that consumers value things in the real world as much as they do digital experiences.

Keeping it real

The growth of vinyl is a great case study. Music fans continue to buy more and more vinyl records in recent years – and data shows that nearly 50% of vinyl customers are 35 or younger.

The foodie scene also demonstrates how the young aren’t just about smartphone games and online shopping.

One example of this is the interest in artisanal coffee. Craft brewing is now trending among young consumers worldwide. In fact, a new NPD report shows that 44% of those who fancy in-home artisanal coffee are millennials.

An interest in food provenance and cooking has also become very popular among young consumers. According to a new report from PwC, young people are leading the way when it comes to eating healthily and having a healthier lifestyle. This young generation is more open to trying new things and enjoy what’s authentically different.

Learn from experience

So, what brings all these things together? Digital has opened up a new world, but the consumer experience is still what matters.

People like vinyl for a variety of reasons, but records give music lovers a tangible product to hold in their hands, and the large format shows off artwork just as the musician intended. These features create a sense of reality and connection for fans.

Likewise, craft coffee brewing enables people to take part in the experience of creating a perfect cup of coffee. In-home craft brewing allows people to personalise coffee to their individual tastes and experience the real quality and flavour of coffee.

It’s a world away from pressing a button on the office coffee machine.

The effectiveness of printed marketing material is also down in part to its physical characteristics. In a digitally frenzied world, the physicality of print is memorable and creates trust, which enhances engagement.

The common thread is about giving consumers an engaging experience.

All marketers know that – consumers love experiences. As such, experiential marketing has become a common strategy adopted by marketing teams. We’ve been hearing a lot about brands using AR, VR and AI experiences to engage with their customers – We’ve even done it ourselves.

But, good experiential marketing is not just about the latest technology – it can be as simple as putting something beautiful in a consumer’s hands.

You can read more about experiential marketing here

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