Comeback for the conventional media – why?
Print has become popular again. Is this the start of a new beginning for conventional media such as magazines, posters and direct mail? We take a closer look at the medium’s advantages, and why it is trending again. It is about looking at how the conventional and new media can best complement each other.
A movement away from the digital
When, last December, Newsweek announced that their, otherwise discarded, printed magazine was being reintroduced, it resonated in the industry. Because after years of running a race to be as digital as possible, one giant now went the other way.
And what was then received as huge news has now almost become a symbol and a warning about the developments that followed. Where a lot of people were busy ruling out conventional media, they are now starting to see a remarkable comeback.
In late 2013, American trend researcher Shel Holtz predicted that print media was one of the trends that communications departments simply could not ignore in 2014.
The messages were lost in budget cuts and hype
Every time a new communication platform appears, it generates attention – and digital opportunities have thus seen a lot of focus in recent years. Among journalists and other people interested in the trade, there is a natural tendency to focus on what opportunities the new media offer and, not least, which of the traditional media are now being replaced.
The new media are hyped, and the existing declared dead. And that hype did spread among many communications departments which, for example, cut the employee magazine and made the content available online. However, it was not read there, and the communication was lost somewhere in cyberspace.
That challenge emphasises that this is not just a question of opting out, but something far more varied.
It’s about creating synergy
Because in reality, it makes more sense to look at how conventional and new media best complement each other. And that is the movement that is now beginning to appear. Because as the digital interest has found its level, and we know the effect of it, there has been a growing interest in the strengths of conventional media.
In other words, the respect for conventional media has been rediscovered, as a sober and strategic media selection results in the greatest impact. And if conventional media are the most effective ones, they are the ones to use. You might say that the platform situation has established itself, and platforms are now chosen after what is the most effective, and what supports the communication’s purposes.
It is about focusing on purpose, and how to bring together various media, in order to create the synergy that is central to a strong communication.
Why are conventional media exciting again?
Opinions are many, but three key parameters for a quiet comeback to conventional media are:
- Effective retention of the recipient’s attention A brand new study by MarketingProfs in the United States shows that the most prioritised area for communication and marketing in 2014 is to maintain the recipient’s attention. And here, conventional media are exceptional as they encourage immersion to a far greater extent. In addition, you do not get hit by the same extreme levels of communicative noise as on digital media1
- Moves behaviour – and gets the message through According to a study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association Factbook in Germany and the USA, 60 percent of consumers much more frequently make purchases as a result of a physical direct mail than following an email campaign. Additionally, 32 percent of respondents in the analysis remember the content of the physical direct mail, while the same was only true of five percent of the people who received an email2.
- Conventional media are more emotional, a much higher level of emotion is aroused when you sit with a gorgeous magazine in your hands, rather than flipping through an iPad. And that is exactly the feeling many begin to strive for, in a time when you want to “unplug” when you get home. Combined with far better opportunities to stand out with gorgeous and different formats, this gives the analogue media great impact.
Election posters move votes
However, conventional media are not only going full speed ahead in the great abroad. In Denmark, there are also several good examples of an increasing focus on what conventional media are able to accomplish.
We can see a good example in the 2013 municipal elections, when election posters really made a difference. A study by the University of Southern Denmark showed that if a candidate put up more posters than others from the same party, they moved between 12 and 13 percent of the votes internally3
This is further supplemented by an Epinion analysis, which revealed that 24 percent of young people aged 18-24 actually voted on the basis of election posters. This was where they received the core messages and got oriented on the field of candidates, which means that election posters became a central platform.
Of course, a magazine for immersion must be printed
But effective messages are not the only field where conventional media perform. After 11 years as exclusively digital, a few years ago Clement Kjersgaard’s online magazine Ræson was supplemented by a printed magazine, published quarterly. At the time, Clement Kjersgaard said the following about the decision:
“Ræson will now be published in print because the form encourages it. It is contemplation, insight and quality journalism. And the magazine form is perfect for that. “
Newspaper Mandag Morgen cited the same reasoning when they went from being exclusively online to appear as a printed magazine once more. At the time, the newspaper said in a press release:
“When today Mandag Morgen revives its weekly publication in print, it is not a rejection of the Internet as a necessary channel of communication of knowledge. It is an option which recognises that the printed word has a special ability to retain impressions and information. Some topics and agendas require time and space for reflection. And that is in increasingly short supply in the accelerated digital media landscape.”
It is an option which recognises that the printed word has a special ability to retain impressions and information.
So, what to choose?
The key is to create impact through synergy between online and offline media. Basically, it is about putting together the right media mix based on content, audience, situation and purpose of the communication.
It is not possible to speak of ready-made package solutions, where the media selection has already been defined. Recently, there has been a clear, regained respect for the strengths of conventional media – both alone and in combination with other platforms – and that is a strong indication of how one should work in the future.
You see, the future will offer a varied and dynamic media landscape, in which the conventional media will very much have their justification.