Literally everyone’s on social media. And who even still watches television? Netflix, please! You probably might have heard one of these utterances over the last few years. However, we – as a passionate fan of print – like to take those expressions with a grain of salt. Are these sayings about all things digital true? Are they really a reflection of society today?
Is social media inevitable?
Over the past few years, many marketers have loudly exclaimed that setting up a new communication campaign cannot take off without employing social media. They proclaim that print is dead. Besides, they say that all of your efforts should be focused on all things digital. Is that really the case? Well, BD myShopi, one of the biggest omnichannel activation platforms in Belgium, came across something astounding. What exactly? That the environment of the average marketer seems to differ massively from that of the average Belgian.
We can conclude from the study, conducted by several research bureaus, that marketers and advertisers often look for their strategy in the mirror. For instance, 94% of Belgian marketeers weekly use social media. Because of their frequent usage of these media, they think the rest of the Belgian population does too. However, reality shows that the figures for social media usage are lower. More than a quarter lower, with 69%, to be specific.
So, this with these findings, we’re beginning to wonder whether all of these sayings that we hear are really founded in reality. Or are they projected wishes of marketers and advertisers?
So, what about print then?
As we’ve already discussed, the difference in social media usage between marketers and the average Belgian varies widely. So, you might be thinking, the usage of other media such as printed documents, newspapers or leaflets might also be very different?
Well, you guessed correctly! Firstly, almost 7 out of 10 Belgians reads a newspaper on a weekly basis. Half of them prefer a printed version over reading digital articles. Besides, the study by BD myShopi indicated that the average Belgian more often reads printed leaflets than marketers do. For 4 out of 5 leaflet readers, this is a weekly activity, taking up about twenty minutes on average. That statistic varies hugely for Belgian marketers. Yes, about the same percentage – 93% to be specific – reads publicity leaflets. However, only 6 out of 10 read them weekly for about ten minutes.
We can thus conclude that media usage differs widely. Marketers, on the one hand, on average spend less time reading printed media than the average citizen in Belgian. The average Belgian citizen, on the other hand, more often uses printed media. Think books, leaflets or newspapers.
Which channel is the preferred?
None, we say. Yes, we here have a thing for printed media. However, we do not encourage you to implement printed media only in your communication strategy. Besides, nor do we suggest you use digital media only. Combine both digital and printed media into a robust communication strategy.
If you combine both the physical and the digital together, you – as a retailer – are able to offer your customers an outstanding story. Let’s say, you send your customers a printed card announcing a special sale for members only. Included with it is a QR code. This will take your customers online and it will guide them to videos, blog posts, your Instagram or your website. A phenomenal experience where the whole is made out of both print and digital media.
The next step
So, if you would ask us, we’d suggest you combine all of your channels together in order to communicate with as many of your target audience as possible. Think your social media such as Facebook and Instagram. Or take printed birthday cards for your customers, with a QR code, offering a discount for their birthday. Or, you could implement personalized emails reminding your customers about items sitting in their digital shopping cart. The possibilities are endless.
Communication is not black and white. It’s not or printed or social media. It’s a grey zone, with heaps of new possibilities emerging every day. Communication evolves daily. And, that’s why we suggest you combine the best of both worlds together.