This piece was written by Barry Eitel, and originally appeared on the &THEN blog
When ModCloth rolled out a new marketing campaign earlier this year, it easily could have relied solely on social media posts, videos and other digital content. But it didn’t.
Aside from the almost obligatory social media and video components, the Walmart-owned womenswear brand included a “magalog” in the mix – a combination of a print magazine and a print catalog. In other words, the campaign features a relatively new twist on an old-fashioned print product.
The ModCloth “magalog” goes against the perceived notion that “digital natives” – those who’ve grown up with computers, cellphones and other tech gadgets – turn up their noses at print marketing materials.
At an Oct. 9 session during &THEN, DMA’s annual marketing conference in Las Vegas, Mike Janover, vice president of marketing at ModCloth, and Dennis Nicoski, senior vice president of sales and customer engagement at the U.S. Postal Service, will explore how print marketing can appeal to digital natives. The session is titled “The Power of Print for Digital Natives.”
In the digital age, many brands launch projects exclusively online, primarily through social media or email marketing, according to a description of the &THEN session.
“As these companies grow, however, many have learned that continuous customer engagement and acquisition can be greatly enhanced by the addition of print initiatives ranging from postcards to coupons to catalogues,” the session description says.
So, what’s behind the power of print?
A Business.com article explains “that no matter the great leaps and bounds technology are undertaking in the 21st century, print seems to be the only media that satisfies something naturally ingrained in our human psyche. And just for that reason, it will likely have a firm place in marketing for generations to come.”
“Though the messaging and design behind print ads will adapt to evolving preferences, the fundamentals of physical media remain the same,” the article goes on to say. “The innate attraction that digital natives have towards empirical forms of media confirms the staying power of print.”
Although confined to the academic arena, a 2015 story in The Washington Post pointed out that textbook makers, bookstore owners and today’s college students (who are digital natives) reported a strong print-over-digital millennial preference when it comes to reading for pleasure and learning. It’s a bias, the Post said, “that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally.”
In many respects, that affinity for print extends to marketing materials.
As noted by Print Three Corp., operator of a chain of digital printing stores in Canada, millennials enjoy the tactile experience of reading a print product – so much so that many of them will pay for printed content that they could find for free online. Plus, they put more trust in newspaper and magazine advertising than they do in TV and online advertising.
“Despite popular belief, digital and physical go hand-in-hand. As digital screens become the default interface of our world, we increasingly seek out physical objects and experiences,” Print Three says.
“It’s safe to say,” the company adds, “that millennials even see print as a respite from the online world.”
This article is brought to you by &THEN, DMA’s annual event. Click here to join the leaders of the marketing community and advance your data and marketing mastery in Las Vegas, October 7-9.