It is true that we are seeing decreasing circulation figures in the print media industry. Magazines in particular have suffered, with figures from the UK showing a 6% drop in circulation in 2020 (ABC). New magazine launches dropped by almost 60% in 2020. The size of those launches has also been reduced by 22%, with new magazines launching into tight niches and in small numbers – on average, only 8,400 copies. And magazine deaths outnumbered launches by almost 4:1, with the number of magazine brands shrinking by 16% year on year. (Wessenden Marketing).
You will no doubt have heard the much-used phrase ‘print is dead’. Don’t believe everything you hear. While it is undeniable that email marketing and online adverts have increased exponentially, there is evidence that print can be far more engaging and effective than its digital counterpart. For instance, print has a higher brand recall rate than digital media –we’re talking 77% compared to just 46% (Gardner Business Media).
These decreasing circulation figures reflect the continuing drive for many magazines to go online – resulting in digital growth soaring and print sales declining.
However, the trend for reading a favourite magazine online has accelerated. (Perhaps helped in the past year or so by the effects of the pandemic?) Many readers will read both printed magazines and digital magazines as the following figures of consumption of magazine brands by platform shows:
- 63% on their phone
- 38% printed magazine
- 26% on a desktop computer
- 12% on a tablet
It seems readers still like a printed copy for some titles and readers are happy to go online for most. But it is still not recommended to go down the ‘Digital-Only’ path when planning how to get your information across to potential customers. And an email will not always work…
Email marketing has problems of its own
Firstly, its effectiveness is on the decline, it’s simply being overused, and recipients are rightly getting fed up with it. The average office worker receives more than 120 emails daily. In 2020, more than 300 billion emails were sent and received every day, which grew to 320 billion in 2021 (Statista). (Forbes).
Suppose you are using email for your marketing. In that case, you face two issues – standing out amongst the volume of emails competing for a recipient’s time and the high probability that your email will at the very least be ignored, or at worst, resented.
Secondly, the introduction of GDPR (throughout Europe) has made sending an email campaign to anyone not subscribed or opted-in, illegal. Outside of the use of ‘legitimate interest’, businesses must now ensure that recipients have opted in to receive emails. Furthermore, they must explicitly get their permission for every piece of data they store and only use it for the purpose the recipient has agreed to.
Lastly, there is a growing trend towards privacy, with companies like Apple introducing privacy protection into their software. iPhone and iMac users can hide their location from web browsers and create ‘burner’ addresses – temporary email addresses they can use to sign up for things they can later delete. Apple has also introduced the ability to anonymise the tracking of email. Any email to an Apple user who chooses this service will be received and opened by Apple servers first before being relayed to an end-user – making location tracking and open tracking pointless.
Using print to differentiate from digital
The continued relevance of print can be explained by a few things. For one, people are becoming overwhelmed by the inundation of digital ads and online marketing content they encounter every day. Whether it’s the dozens of promotional emails in your inbox or a webpage with multiple advertisers vying for your attention, the digital space is saturated. With print, however, it is easier to stand out and grab someone’s attention.
That’s not to say that print is the only avenue for marketing. Print and digital media should be used in combination, with each supporting and even enhancing the other. Ultimately, integrating print and digital marketing campaigns strategically will ensure that all your bases are covered and that a wider, more diverse audience is being reached.
Using print and digital marketing seamlessly means understanding what each medium’s strengths are. While both have the same goal of promoting a solution, each requires a slightly different approach. For example, digital marketing is a great and cost-effective way to reach a broad audience. It is also highly adaptable, enabling you to test out and evaluate different marketing styles or tactics.
Print marketing, for its part, has the potential to be more memorable than digital because the consumer interacts with it physically. You can also target audiences with greater precision using print. Krowne ensures that it distributes its VAULT magazine directly at relevant trade shows, conferences and exhibitions that fit our partners requirements. This way we are meeting customers at a time and place where they are the most interested in reading what we have to say.
Given the rise of digital fatigue and internet trolls, print magazines are showing just as much promise as ever. Ofcom News Consumption in the UK 2020 reports:
“When rated by their users on measures such as quality, accuracy, trustworthiness and impartiality, magazines continue to perform better than other news platforms, followed by TV. Users of social media think it is less trustworthy, impartial and accurate than in 2019. The opposite is true for other websites and apps, which users rate more highly in 2020 than in 2019.”
With the #fakenews and the suspicions of unreliable sources on the internet and social media, print media and magazines offer a more trustworthy source of information.
Print may be suffering but it’s not dead
The inevitable truth is that print is not as popular as it used to be and will suffer in a digital era. But, is print really dead? The straight answer is no, and it will probably take a long time before it ever will be. When we’re inundated with emails, social media ads, digital articles and feeds packed full of instant communication, print can offer a valuable alternative; it’s all in how you do the marketing.