Ladies reading newspaper 1960s 1800 x 1300b

By: Louise Ottewell / May 1, 2018
Tags: Brand, Direct Mail, Print

In print we trust

We’re all familiar with the term ‘retro’. It’s used most frequently in the context of fashion, music, décor, food and anything connected to trends which have been and gone, only to rise like a phoenix from the ashes once more as a new generation ‘discovers’ previously cherished items from yesteryear.

If you’ve been to a Forte Marketing workshop, read our stories or chatted about your business with us, you will have no doubt heard us waxing lyrical about how important emotions are when it comes to marketing. The key to marketing excellence is to get your audience to ‘feel’ your product so they have an instant, positive connection with it.

One of the most powerful feelings which can release a huge surge of endorphins are those happy memories from your earlier ‘retro’ years – perhaps your school days, first love or an amazing holiday spring to mind? If your product or service can create a connection with sentiments or emotions like these, your marketing is really working, and working well. After all, who doesn’t want to feel good?

Many of us will remember the advent of emails and the massive impact it had on our lives – the excitement you felt when your inbox made that ‘you got mail’ sound and you couldn’t wait to see who the message was from and what it was about.

Technology indeed revolutionised the communication industry. It’s brought the world closer together. Then of course there is social media – you can connect with so many people these days just by firing up your laptop.

Now pause for a second and think how it would feel to get a letter in the mail – something from a friend or relative overseas who you haven’t heard from for years, which had been carefully handwritten, delivered to a post office, loaded onto an aircraft, flown across the globe to another airport, reached a sorting depot and finally, been hand delivered to its final destination. It’s pretty mind blowing to think that a simple sheet of paper in an envelope can successfully get from point A to point B having been through so many pairs of hands, companies and processes. It’s a dying art, letter writing but I can guarantee you that providing the author and sentiment is positive, it’s something you are more likely than an email to treasure and perhaps read again in years to come.

A touch of the ‘feels’.

So how does this translate to the business world? Research has shown that direct mail open rates are as high as 92%, with 57% saying it makes them feel more valued*. With this in mind, perhaps it’s time to revisit this method of communication and make it part of your marketing strategy?

Technology saw a decline in the tradition of birthday and Christmas card exchanges, and a rise in the e-card trend, but the novelty soon wore off. They just weren’t personal. Companies such as Moonpig recognised a gap in the market and introduced a wealth of online templates which can be personalised by uploading images and writing messages, before being printed and delivered in the mail to the recipient. A modern twist on an age-old tradition, a sort of compromise.

As the years roll by and technology continues to do its thing, it is now more important than ever, to ensure you don’t get swept away with fads. Whilst you do need to keep abreast of emerging trends, it is equally as important to make sure you only adopt only those which are right for your business. All too often, companies feel they must have a presence on the latest platform, simply because everyone else is there. Sure, it might be the right marketing tool for your business, but just because it’s the ‘next big thing’, it doesn’t make it the best move and should be considered carefully rather than simply being a knee jerk reaction.

This isn’t ‘fake news’.

What’s particularly interesting in this retro themed rambling, is the print industry. Consider the current explosion of ‘fake news’ – the number of untruths published online is at crisis point, we don’t know what to trust or who to believe. Sentiments and quotes attributed to famous people, coupled with a moody image are more often than not, nothing to do with the individual but still, they are liked and shared thousands of times. Do we believe them? Probably not. Do we like the sentiment? A lot of the time yes, but most of us know they are probably aren’t true. This may be why newspaper cross-platform readership continues to increase in Australia#.

Online trust has decreased, replaced instead with lashings of cynicism and suspicion so companies and individuals alike, need to work harder and harder to earn it. Communicating trust and demonstrating authenticity is a skill, and it’s certainly not achieved instantly, patience is required as well as consistent messaging. Brands are also becoming more concerned as to where their ads will appear, re-aligning with established media outlets to ensure they don’t appear alongside the latest ‘fake news’ article^.

So instead of waiting for the next trend, social media platform, clever gadget or even phrase, why not take a step back and revisit good old-fashioned brochures, posters, pamphlets and business cards. These are things you can touch which appeal to more of your senses. Done well, using beautiful imagery, printed on quality stock with great finishes and inks can have a huge impact. Having something you can physically hold, something you can send in the mail, something you can display in your shop or at home on your bookcase will cement your credibility and build trust amongst your customers.

* https://www.semagroup.com.au/is-direct-marketing-still-effective/
# http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7496-australian-newspaper-print-readership-and-cross-platform-audiences-december-2017-201802080408
^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/04/17/fears-fake-news-sending-advertisers-back-newspapers-says-yorkshire/

Louise Ottewell

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