Print can be impactful and a powerful storyteller, but how can we prove these facts to the print buyers who can benefit most? Mathew Faulkner, EMEA senior marketing manager, professional print, Canon Europe talks with experts from different parts of the print industry to bring a practical toolkit of examples to prove prints value.

According to Faulkner, print is perceived as slow, inflexible and above all difficult to target and track. One in three marketers Canon spoke to have little or no way of measuring the success of their print campaign.

In a webinar hosted during Canon’s Make It Event: Future of Digital Print Industry, Canon asked Canon Ascent Programme mentors for their thoughts. A number of topics were under discussed, such as where does the misperception of print come from, and how do we prove the power of print in the marketing mix.

Jacky Hobson, UP marketing said that the conversation need to be less about cost and driving down the price than ROI, and that we need to look at examples, best practices, ‘I think the marketer is very interested in the ROI and that’s how we should be phtasing the conversation.’

Richard Mayer, Be Focused said that we need to identify what print offers, that print is more tangible, that digital is less personal as there is a screen between us. With print it is the touch, smell and feel, and important to note is that brands utilise sense. He also emphasised that print adds value to digital when combined and integrated.

Hobson said it is important to identify the tools that demonstrate the ROI of print. A good example she cited was that of QR codes, as they can quantify the number of scans or ’hits’, as well as when and where they were scanned. It is a tool that works for all businesses, large or small.

Mayer expanded his view on integration in saying that print plus digital uplifts the amount of response, ‘We can utilise print at the forefront, or we can actually use print as a supporting mechanism.’

He also said that we need to ask customers why they don’t buy print, then isolate those reasons – it could be about cost, or the difficulty to track results, or even the time for results to come back, as well as the difficulty in setting up print campaigns.

Just as Hobson mentioned with tools, print is not actually difficult to measure and track, mostly because of QR codes, as well as augmented reality. Even posters can track who is walking past and looking at them. By showing customers just how much engagement can be measured, we can show the value of print.

Mayer said that it’s about investment, and quantity (from a measurement point of view), over quality.

Towards the end of the discussion, Hobson cited a good example of how print can be very effective, She spoke of an example of direct mail, with a QR code, that linked to an animation with a specific call to action, which could only be accessed through the print medium itself. None of the engagements were attributed to social media or email.

Mayer also mentioned that direct mail can be reinforced through identifying consumer behaviour through digital mediums.

Faulkener concluded the discussion with mention that Canon already have a guide called ‘Make It Count’, a guide to measurable print that expands on the topics covered in the video, ‘your local cCanon account manager will be happy to share a copy of this guide with you.’