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    Print vs. digital communications: How to choose the right channel?

    You know what you are all about. You have got the expertise, the know-how. You have confidence in your products or are certain of the fact that your services outweigh those of the competition. But how do you get this message across? Via what channel to reach out to your target audience in order to sway them to rely on your services or buy your products and yours alone?

     

    In this digital decade new channels pop up right, left and center, leaving modern businesses spoilt for choice. But do they know which channels are relevant when communicating with prospects and customers?

     

    The technological evolution comes hand in hand with the desperate desire for innovation that has led us all to believe that anything that’s new is, by definition, better than what it has come to replace or redefine. With dishwashers, smartphones, toasters and diapers, this will most certainly ring true, however in some other cases jumping on something fresh will result in losing out on the benefits of what has stood the test of time.

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    The proven power of print

    Although Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press back in the 15th century, print communications are still going strong today. Sure, just like newspapers have somewhat been pushed off their pedestal by online media, the rise of digital communications has led to a decrease of direct mail. But despite this fact direct mail remains a powerful tool in the communications shed of any business.

     

    Although response rates to direct mail have decreased over the years, they are still ten to thirty times higher than those of email. Relevance is crucial here. Knowing and understanding your target audience.

     

    That’s why people like to receive direct mail. It’s a tangible proof of personalization and more than email, print still holds that nostalgic romantic aura of being meant for your eyes only, no matter its sender. Moreover, once out of the mailbox and onto the kitchen table, direct mail lingers much longer in households than any other form of communication. It passes hands from mom who checks the mail to the curious children to dad who keeps it near as a reminder of a payment or an urgent reply that’s due. In this regard, digital communications are much more fleeting, as they disappear just by clicking a button.

    The digital decade

    The wave of digital communications is ever surging. Today, email is without any doubt the go-to channel for modern businesses. Why? It’s cost effective, efficient and immediate. And more importantly, there are far more options for you to personalize emails and guide the receiver towards a more interactive and comfortable user experience suited to his or her individual needs.

    A mix of both worlds

    Yet for any modern business, it would be foolish to put all their eggs in one basket and work with only print or digital communications. Both have their advantages and it’s up to you to mix them both for maximum result. This starts with understanding the specific needs of individual customers and knowing their preferences. Only then can you choose the most relevant channel or channels.

     

    Also, the abundance of channels is not a secret for your customers as they appreciate the notion of being contacted via various channels according to their current needs and timing. Even more so, they want to receive multichannel communications, as this content variety helps them decide on what to buy or what services to use. This is confirmed by a 2014 Forrester* study that states that buyers exposed to various multichannel options will probably spend more while remaining loyal to the brand.

     

    Want some more? Read about 'How to reach your customer' in our next blog!

     

    * Forrester Consulting. (2014). Building The B2B Omni-Channel Commerce Platform Of The Future. B2B Buyer Expectations Are Driving Sellers To Deliver Fully Functional Omni-Channel Experiences. Retrieved from https://cx.sap.com/medias/sys_master/formsCollaterals/formsCollaterals/hc6/h3e/8808382201886/Forrester-Report-Building-The-B2B-Omni-Channel-Commerce-Platform-Of-The-Future.pdf