In a time where the digital realm dominates our daily lives, print is making a strong come-back

A new report from Sopro reveals that consumers are increasingly favouring print over digital, particularly for marketing communications. This is highlighted by a significant decline in the effectiveness of email-only campaigns and a doubled preference for postal communications among consumers over the past year.

The study, which analysed over 75.2 million emails and gathered insights from more than 350 sales and marketing professionals, found a 22% drop in the success rates of email-only activities in 2023 compared to the previous year. That said, the majority of shoppers (67%) still welcome email contact, but it suggests that its impact is waning.

Conversely, the preference for being contacted by post has surged, with nearly one in five consumers (18%) expressing a desire for direct mail communication, more than double the figure reported last year. This resurgence underscores the enduring appeal of personalised direct mail in engaging prospects effectively.

This trend aligns with a number of other reports including the IPA Bellwether report, which highlighted that direct marketing spend—largely driven by direct mail—saw its most significant increase in nearly two decades, with expectations of further growth. This suggests that amidst challenging economic conditions, brands are strategically increasing their investment in direct mail to navigate through these times.

MTM’s Cultural Insights and Trends Report, which advises Amazon, Audible, and Google et al. on “the next big thing,” also reinforce these findings. It places a print renaissance at the top of the ‘cool’ list for 2024. Reduced screen time is in vogue, with digital overtime ushering in a movement that re-embraces the printed form. Already, we’re witnessing the return of print publications including NME, Nylon, and Paper, and the number of ‘real’ books being seen on trains, planes, and automobiles is also very much on the rise.

Marketing experts believe that businesses that embrace this trend and adapt to these changes, integrating personalised, relevant, and value-driven communications into the digital mix, will likely stand out and succeed in the evolving economic backdrop. However, as we always say, the power of print, in the form of direct mail, is wholly reliant on its targeting. Mail that is sent to the wrong house, to people that have passed away or includes personalisation errors such as the wrong name will dilute its effectiveness. This is why data hygiene is critical.

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