By Katie Mientka

Is print media dead?

No. It’s alive and kicking. That’s the short answer. When it comes to the health and vigor of your business, though, you deserve a slightly longer answer! Find it here and see how print media can become an effective — integral — component of your overall marketing strategy.

The State of Print Media

Digital media is like… ramen noodles?

Bear with us! Media researcher and University of Texas associate professor Iris Chyi compares digital media to the notoriously fat- and sodium-saturated noodles. Ramen noodles, Chyi writes, are an “inferior good.” But they’re cheap, you can cook them just about anywhere (including a coffee pot if you’re in a dorm room-type pinch), and wolf them down anytime.

Print media, Chyi argues, is like sitting down to a good meal. It’s more satisfying — and you’re not hungry five minutes later.

As she writes in her book, Trial and Error: US Newspapers’ Digital Struggles Toward Inferiority: “the (supposedly dying) print edition still outperforms the (supposedly hopeful) digital product by almost every standard, be it readership, engagement, [or] advertising revenue.

The research backs Chyi up.

In a study of the 51 largest US newspapers, for example, the print edition reaches 28 percent of circulation areas while digital versions reach just 10 percent.

Beyond reduced reach, though, digital readers do not linger over content. Would you linger over a bowl of ramen? No, you gobble it up. Those who come to news sites stay less than five minutes, and if they come via Facebook, they are out of there in less than two.[1]

A Meal that Sticks to Your Ribs

Despite the whole “print is dead; long live digital” push, research shows that print media enjoys an edge over its techy counterpart in several key areas:

  • It is easier to process in terms of mental effort and comprehension.
  • It results in better brand recall. In one study, participants were asked to name the brand behind an advertisement they had just seen. Recall for digital ads was just 44%. For direct mail, it was 70%.

Let’s pause here for a moment: print is easier to understand and easier to remember. Seems like a significant benefit for marketers, right? Print also beats out digital in these areas:

  • Amount of time customers spend interacting/engaging with an ad.
  • Emotional reaction to an ad.
  • Remembering the ad’s source and content.
  • Subconscious desire for the product/service.
  • Subconscious value customer places on the product/service.[1]

If you want to get neuroscientific about it, print activates the ventral striatum area of the brain more so than digital media. This part of the brain is associated with desire and valuation, and research shows it has the highest correlation with advertising effectiveness.

The bottom line: print lights up the brain in ways that digital does not. This is not to say that digital media does not have a place. It does — and a prominent place at that! It does mean that construction and design professionals cannot afford to neglect marketing and advertising methods that resonate so compellingly with customers.

If you think of digital like a bowl of ramen (or… a sack of fast food from the drive-thru, if that’s more palatable), it’s quick, convenient, and cost-effective. Those are all tremendous benefits. But when nourishment — strong brand recognition, content retention, education — is the primary goal, serve up print.

Print Media for Design and Construction Professionals

Why is print so important in your industry?

  • Nearly half (49.3%) of contractors say that print magazines are their top source for industry news.
  • The majority (71.3%) said that if they could only get industry information from one source, they’d choose magazines.[2]

Magazines, brochures, those gorgeous glossy product guides… they hold tremendous value in the design and construction space, and not just for professionals. Customers want — need — tangible assets as they consider building, renovation, remodeling projects, and other home services.

Haven Magazine

Print media is target-specific, and it is particularly beneficial when you are in contact with your customers. You can hand them a brochure. You can give them a copy of a magazine in which you are featured, or which contains useful advice. They can retain these materials, refer to them again and again, use them for inspiration as they plan their project.

Magazines also hold a certain allure, a cachet, that digital can’t mimic. As Ashley Murphy of premier real estate agency Stribling & Associates says, “There is literal weight to your presence. This tangible platform resonates well with luxury customers and clients.”[1]

Publications geared towards industry professionals — Contract Design, Contractor Magazine, Construtech, Building Design + Tech — and customer-facing options — Haven Magazine, Architectural Digest, House & Garden, Homes & Gardens, HGTV Magazine — have this weight. They have presence. They yield results. 

Photo by on Unsplash

Digital is now. It’s fast. It’s convenient. It’s consumable. It is valuable.

Print is enduring. It’s satisfying. It’s filling. It is valuable

It’s not a question of choosing digital over print media or print over digital. It’s a matter of integrating each, of leveraging the benefits of each, to build a comprehensive marketing strategy that drives your business forward.

Combining the strengths of both digital and traditional marketing techniques enables you to create a comprehensive, effective, strategy to reach your target audience. For more guidance on developing the right mix, harnessing your competitive edge, and telling your story of expertise, download our free eBook on effective marketing in the design and construction industry.