Print Vs Internet Marketing – Get the Highest Return on Investment

The advancement of electronic media has forever changed the way businesses will reach qualified leads. This article is intended to discuss the pros and cons of search marketing, traditional print marketing, and digital variable print marketing. While every business is unique, annual marketing plans should consider using a combination of all three marketing tactics.

Search Marketing:
It is clear that search engine marketing can be more cost effective than standard long-run printing or direct mail. Companies found on the first page of a Google search for a specific keyword enjoy a 70% click through rate. Search engine marketing is a great way to generate qualified leads. Since customers that visit a businesses website through a search engine has already indicated their willingness to purchase your products or services with their keyword search. While high organic search rankings are definitely an advantage to driving traffic to a website, it does not guarantee conversion from visitor to buyer. A visitor from a search engine must arrive at an easy to understand and professional website in order to become a conversion. The two clicks it took to arrive at a website also means it takes the same two clicks to leave.

Traditional Print Marketing:
Once a mighty driver of the U.S. economy, the long-run offset print industry has retracted over the last few years. The US postal service has also seen reductions in revenue due to the move from direct mail to electronic marketing. Certainly the cost of the marketing material, the envelope, and the postage is much higher than email and other internet marketing. However, there is something to be said about something that a consumer can open and touch. An eye catching marketing piece with a clear call to action is still an effective tool for direct marketers. In fact, some have found the immense cost of search engine marketing or pay-per-click advertising to expensive for some key words and have gone back to direct mail as a means to drive consumers to company websites and online stores.

Advancements in Digital Print Marketing:
What if there was a way to combine the unique targeting ability of search marketing with long-run full color printing? Through digital variable printing, “one size fits all” print marketing is a marketing tactic of the past.

To illustrate the point, let’s analogize using a company with just three distinct market segments. A company is selling a product to women between the ages of 20 and 30, households with more than 2 children, and men over 65. Market research has determined each segment responds to different messages that drive a call to action. Historically, a company needed to develop graphics and a message that was broad enough to reach all their customers in one long offset print run. Rather than targeting each market individually, companies treated them all the same; thereby missing the target in most cases. With today’s digital print marketing, a single run of print can provide a specific message and specific graphics all the way down to a single individual. Imagine a woman in her 20′s receiving a direct mail piece unique to her needs while a man over 65 receives a totally different message targeted to his needs. That is the power of today’s digital print technology.

What Medium to Use?
This answer, of course, is different for everyone. It is recommended that a healthy combination of marketing mediums should be used throughout the year and should be included in yearly marketing plans. All three forms of marketing can be highly effective and depend on the specific industry. For example a restaurant that is truly local may not need to invest in search marketing since reaching global markets would not make sense. This restaurant should focus on who is eating at their restaurant and message those consumer types with a call to action through direct mailings. In contrast a competitively priced retailer may consider more investment in search marketing than direct mail as margins on low priced retail items may not be adequate enough to assume the higher cost of print and postage. No matter what medium, the concept remains the same. A targeted audience with targeted messaging always leads to higher ROA.