Engaging Through Print — Why It’s Still Important

July 13, 2021 Pamela Visconti

For all its positives, digital media can be draining and overwhelming. As companies increasingly embrace hybrid work models and consumers spend more time at home and inundated with digital communications, many organizations are rethinking the best ways to engage and connect with their customers.

A balanced approach

More than ever, consumers want a choice in how to receive communications. This is driven by an assortment of factors including digital overload (e.g., numerous promotional versus statement emails from the same company), concerns regarding security and privacy of personal information and preferences on how to best review, understand and retain information received.

While some predicted the demise of print media, it certainly hasn’t gone away and instead is proving to be alive and well in this digital age. Some consumers prefer printed statements as reminders to pay versus e-reminders that can get lost in inboxes along with other promotions. Or they fear not reviewing or noticing errors if a bill or statement is only in digital form. Others simply have more of a tactile information-processing or learning style and prefer physically tangible communications.

Meanwhile, environmental impact concerns associated with paper and printing have spawned innovations in paper sourcing and recycled options as well as eco-friendly ink and printing options that have pushed the print and paper industries toward sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Despite a multitude of digital interaction channels, print communications have stood the test of time. Businesses who understand why are using print for strategic advantage.

According to a study by Temple University and the United States Postal Service, “Most successful marketing campaigns are multifaceted endeavors, mixing various mediums to engage their target audience.”   Going forward, a complementary balance between digital and print outreach will be key for organizations to build lasting connections with their customers.

Leveraging the benefits of both print and digital communications — personalizing content, integrating messaging and balancing frequency — can boost awareness and strengthen connection with customers.

The benefits of a physical piece of communication

Amidst a deluge of countless emails, texts, notifications, websites and screens, print can stand out by comparison. There’s a tangible interaction with printed communications. When you receive printed mail, you can hold it in your hands, look it over, leave it on your desk, return to it. Even if you ultimately discard it, you have likely still taken a moment to read and consider its content.

Here are several ways print increases engagement and complements digital:

  • Provides tangible, physical content that can break through communications clutter
  • Can seamlessly integrate with digital campaigns and extend their lifespan
  • Has a tendency to stick around longer than an easily deleted digital piece
  • Provides quality over quantity
  • Fosters focus — it’s more challenging to multitask when reading a physical mailer, statement, booklet
  • Suits hands-on learning styles

Perfecting the blend

A mix of digital and print communication increases exposure and awareness — while tempering the tendency to rely too heavily on digital and end up with messaging that gets lost in a digital sea.

For example, banks can print additional messaging in the extra white space on paper statements to spotlight other service offerings — or add personalized inserts that include a barcode link to a dedicated webpage. In healthcare, personalized messages such as reminders of upcoming prescription refills can be printed on explanation of benefit forms and complemented with text or email notifications. 

Four smart ways to strategically bridge print and digital communications:

  1. Use digital for data analysis, targeting, ongoing interaction, alerts and strategy development.
  2. Leverage print to rise above the clutter with memorable, sensory experiences and interactive print technologies such as QR codes to drive customers to engage online.
  3. Infuse personalization into both print and digital channels. An analysis by HubSpot found that personalized calls to action convert 202% better than default or standard CTAs.
  4. Apply insights gained through digital and data analysis to extend your reach and reinforce content with captivating print. You’ll expand awareness with more holistic outreach that strengthens customer connections and facilitates buying decisions.

About Conduent Customer Communications Solutions
Conduent delivers comprehensive, end-to-end solutions for creating, managing and distributing personalized, compliant customer communications — from traditional printing and fulfillment services for transaction-based communications to multichannel digital delivery and presentment solutions. We make it easy for our clients with a state-of-the-art centralized platform that receives communications for processing then generates, manages and tracks their production, distribution, and reporting. Learn more here.

About the Author

Pamela Visconti

Pamela Visconti is the business leader for our Multichannel Communications business area. With over 25 years of experience in the industry, her responsibilities range across all aspects of the operation including P&L health. Pamela is responsible for the client relationships supported by the Multichannel Communications team, and she strives to ensure a positive client experience by harboring a strategic relationship with each client. Her industry experience includes both offset and digital print services in direct mail, commercial print and transactional print for various verticals.

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