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Is print still relevant for marketers?

19/08/2013

In a world where digital gets all the headlines and the emergence of social media platforms has occupied many marketers over the last few years, print can be dismissed as old hat, lacking the interactivity and engagement possibilities of higher-tech options.

However, the reality is that print mediums remain an important part of the marketing process, while innovations like QR codes mean they can be just as novel as their digitalised counterparts.

Jess Butcher, co-founder and chief marketing officer of image-recognition platform Blippar, recently told the Drum that technology has given print a new opportunity to be interactive and intriguing to readers.

"Interactivity in print invigorates the reader experience by allowing them to vote on, engage with and respond personally to the content in a way that wasn't previously possible," she explained.

What this means in practical terms is utilising the likes of augmented reality, printed electronics and near-field communication to link smartphones with the printed page.

While a great deal has been made of the potential for mobile marketing, it is obvious that connecting the near-ubiquitous devices with printed media also offers new opportunities for marketers.

But why bother with print? When so much can now be done online, and news providers like the Guardian focus heavily on their web operations, does marketing in magazines and so on continue to have relevance?

At least for agencies and in-house marketers keen to adopt a holistic approach, the answer is yes. Digital marketing is still in its infancy, and discounting old-fashioned mediums at this juncture would be hasty.

Kate Stone, founder and managing director of Novalia, told the Drum she felt integrating printed objects with technology will offer marketers the best of both worlds.

"People in the future will be over the futuristic. They will want a book to look like and feel like a book, but with all the technology discreetly embedded in it for people to use," she predicted.

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