Survey: Top Takeaways for Print Use

Every year, Target Marketing conducts its Media Usage Survey. In this survey, the magazine asks how readers are allocating their budgets, which channels are increasing and decreasing, and which channels readers prefer for a variety of activities, including acquisition and retention.

While this survey is not projectable to marketers at large, it does give us critical insights into the larger trends. Let’s take a look at three trends you need to know.

  1. Marketing is multichannel.

One of the biggest takeaways from the survey is how multichannel marketing has become. When it comes to acquisition, for example, 83% of respondents are using email, 69% are using social media, 68% are using online advertising, and 58% are using direct mail. This reinforces both the importance of print and the need to incorporate a variety of channels to hit targets wherever they are.

  1. Print remains a critical channel.

The biggest growth is in digital channels like social media and mobile. However, print continues to hold its own—even grow—in its importance to companies’ overall marketing and branding efforts. According to the survey, Target Marketing readers plan to allocate 28.5% of their budgets to print this year. This includes spending on direct mail, magazines, newspapers, and circulars. This grows to 33.9% when you include space advertising like billboards and signage.

Direct mail, in particular, is on the rise. For acquisition, the percent of respondents using direct mail has risen from 54% to 58% between 2015 and 2016. For retention, the percentage using direct mail has risen from 51% to 55%.

  1. Print delivers strong ROI.

When asked which marketing method delivers the strongest ROI, direct mail was also strong. For acquisition, 16.3% of readers thought direct mail delivered the strongest ROI of all channels. For retention, 14.6% thought it was the strongest. In both cases, direct mail was second only to email in terms of perceived strength.

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Why Using a Skilled Designer Matters

You can profile your data, segment your mailing, and create highly relevant, personalized mail pieces, but if the design falls short, the message may not get seen. What makes your target audience stand up and take notice? Here is where the skills of a professional designer pay for themselves many times over.

Here are some key elements that professional designers take into consideration in any print or multichannel marketing project to make it pop off the page.

  1. Typography. The art of typography goes beyond which fonts look cool. It involves selection and pairing of fonts for style, branding, and readability. Typography also involves font size, spacing between letters, line breaks, and paragraphs (tracking and leading), and arranging the text in a way that makes it easy for the eye to navigate around the page.

Fonts can be sirens, however, and they have to be handled carefully. Some are more readable than others or are more readable against different backgrounds. Some fonts harmonize well. Others clash. Some fonts send the right branding message. Others can undermine your goals.

There is also a hierarchy of positioning of heads, subheads, and body copy that helps to move your eye along and prioritize various elements of the text.

  1. Color palette. The colors used in the print project will set the mood for the entire piece. Common color palettes include:
  • Monochrome, which is based on single color on the color wheel.
  • Analogous, which is based on three colors next to each other on the color wheel.
  • Complementary, which is based on colors directly across from one another on the color wheel (blue/yellow, purple/lime).
  • Triadic, which is built from three colors equally spaced from one another around the color wheel.

All of these palettes can include lighter and darker tones of that color, as well.

Color palettes can be warm tones or cool tones, CMYK or spot color. With digital, you can even replicate metallics. Colors can have high saturation or low saturation. The palette can be chosen based on color theory, which is based on the idea that certain colors evoke certain feelings or emotions in people.

  1. Alignment of elements. Designers may use invisible lines to place design elements, such as images, charts, and even text blocks, where they have the most impact. For example, designers may use the “rule of thirds,” in which a page will be divided evenly by three horizontal and vertical lines. Where the lines intersect is where elements will draw your eye. Designers will also use grids, arrangement of white space, and placement of margins to move your eye around the page and bring attention to specific elements.

There is a lot more to professional design than many people realize. It is about more than aesthetics. It’s also about branding and communication. When it comes to designing a logo, creating a brochure, or developing your next direct mailing, bring in a professional designer. Let them help you reap outstanding results.