Everyone believes that print media is dead. But, in the world of B2B, it’s very much alive. Businesses tend to be very conservative. They don’t want to do business with strangers – there’s a lot at stake for a company to spend money on an unknown. In fact, back in the late 1950’s a little company you might have heard of, McGraw-Hill, created an ad campaign based around that idea.
It featured the ultimate sceptic – a prospect who challenged you, the businessperson, by telling you that he didn’t know who you were, he didn’t know your company, your company’s product, your company’s customers, what you stood for, your track record, or reputation. And, then, he killed your sale by asking you, bluntly and somewhat tongue-in-cheek, “Now, what was it you wanted to sell me?”
Do you see how powerful this is? You have to win over your business prospects, and one of the best ways to do that is by using print.
There’s Trust In Print
People inherently trust print. Why? Because it’s still merit-based. Digital media has a low barrier to entry. Almost anyone can set up and publish a blog. But, to get past a business magazine editor, you have to have something to say. You have to make sure your spelling and grammar are perfect.
You have to earn the publication. It’s almost like an implicit endorsement. Companies, like www.stinkyinkshop.co.uk, know this, which is why their ink business is booming. It’s also the reason why magazines and newspapers around the world haven’t all gone belly-up.
Even though the digital “revolution” has changed a lot of customs in the print industry, it hasn’t changed – fundamentally – how information is sent and received. And, that’s what businesses trust.
Digital Is Fleeting
Digital media is a fleeting form of communication. Twitter is probably the best example of this. When you publish something there, it’s got a life expectancy of about 3 seconds. Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites aren’t all that different.
Online blogs can be easily edited, lost in an SEO shuffle, or fundamentally changed after the fact. This fluidity of the web makes online “print” less stable, less reliable. Sure, there are online-only businesses.
But, many of the big names also have customer service phone numbers and physical addresses – there’s an element of the physical world there.
And, they also tend to use offline advertising to bolster their online presence. Even Google, arguably the “king” of the online world, sends out physical snail mail to entice business owners to buy into its Adwords platform.
Digital Isn’t As Personal
There’s something a bit impersonal about digital communication, with the exception of perhaps email or text messaging.
Most online communication places a computer screen between you and the person you’re talking to. And, while you could easily argue that print media isn’t the same as a handshake, it’s a tactile experience. Ever open up a letter from someone and catch a whiff of their perfume that somehow made its way onto the paper before it was sealed?
It’s incredibly subtle, but you know for a fact there was a human being behind that letter. It’s this kind of “personal touch” that’s lost on digital media that’s still there in print.
John Sollars is the owner of Stinkyink.com which he started in 2002 and has reigned over since, so he knows a thing or three about printing. Oh and he likes golf, maybe mention golf to him when you see him. His articles appear mainly on small business and marketing websites and blogs. Follow John on Facebook.