In Elise Hacking Carr’s Print + Promo article “Perfect Pair?” she states that just as Hall & Oates, Laverne & Shirley, and wine and cheese (although she did forget about Ben & Jerry…) make the perfect pair, so do print and promotional products. Sure, online marketing is on the rise and cannot be understated, but as WebbMason’s Doug Traxler says, online marketing functions most effectively while also using print and promo.
Print and promotional items can illuminate and stabilize a company’s brand. While using digital marketing is valuable, this type of marketing is not necessarily permanent. By incorporating print and promotional products in the marketing mix, a customer can feel, see, trust, and truly experience a company’s brand.
I recently discovered a report, done by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), which concluded that print and promotional items create the most positive attitudes toward an advertisement and a product. This study, “Promotional Products—The Key Ingredient to Integrated Marketing,” also says that print and promo are not only the most credible, but also create the highest intent of purchase. Print is the highest; promotional products come in a close second.
PPAI’s research is supported by the 2011 Estimate of Promotional Products Distributor Sales (sponsored by Promotional Products Association International). Sales figures reflect an increase of 7.02 percent in distributor revenues from 2010 to 2011. This means that the promotional product industry revenue is over $17.7 billion. Fun fact: the top three promotional products are wearables, writing instruments and bags.
With such high statistical evidence in favor of promotional products, it might be hard to think that print’s stats could come close. However, Bob Schwei, a 10-year print expert who works at iPROMOTEu in Mass., believes that print is a whopping six times larger than promotional products. Are we shocked? Absolutely not.
WebbMason’s Doug Traxler, executive vice president, sales and marketing, says that promotional products are a vital part of a company’s overall brand strategy. Companies are “recognizing that promotional products are a way to really differentiate their outreach or their brand-building efforts.” Doug Traxler founded WebbMason’s Washington, D.C. office in 1995, the company’s first regional sales office. Traxler admits that products like newspapers and magazines are “choking for air,” but he still believes that it is an exciting time to be in the graphics market by using outreach marketing, retail, direct mail and direct marketing.
Traxler makes a great point: print, promo, and digital marketing create the “complete solution for customers.” “With the computer revolution 20 years ago, everybody said that was going to kill paper and all it did was explode the use of paper. The Internet is the same. These transactions that are happening in digital form are creating paper touch points at various places along the conversation.”
Print and promo certainly do make a great pair; however, it might be worthwhile for a company to think of it more as a three-legged stool. Print, promo and digital work equally hard reinforcing and supporting a company’s brand. Maybe we have more of an Athos, Aramis and Porthos on our hands…