"Print is dead." It's a message we are bombarded with constantly, but is it true?

Nope. In fact, there may never have been a bigger opportunity in print marketing than there is right now. Why, you ask? How much mail do you get today versus 20 years ago? My bet is significantly less. How excited are you when you get something in the mail because of it? My bet is far more excited than when you get an email.

I'm sure most people remember the old days of direct mail marketing. You go through your mail every day and sort out the massive piles of junk mail, put all the bills in a pile, and maybe there's something leftover that's not one of those two, but probably not. Later that day, you'd login to America Online (they weren't AOL yet), and get super excited as you waited to hear those three magic words; "You've got mail!"

My how times have changed. Email has become such a huge, almost mundane, part of our lives that there's no excitement over getting a new email anymore. It's just a given that they're going to funnel in all day long. On the other hand, when we reach into the mailbox and pull out a magazine we subscribed to, or a letter, or even a catalog from a company we like shopping with, there's an excitement attached to it that was missing for a long time.

The smartest marketers of the mid-to-late-'90s jumped on email as a marketing opportunity as quickly as they could to capitalize on that excitement factor. That's how fast you should be jumping on the print bandwagon right now.

I'm not saying email marketing is dead - far from it. We're actually investing heavily in email as a primary channel and encouraging our clients to do the same. Nor am I saying that you should time-warp back to 1990 and resurrect the same marketing strategies you were using back then. What I am saying is that there are huge opportunities for the right kind of print marketing that will get your targets excited about hearing from you.

Don't believe me? Look at the image attached to this article. That was a variable data print mail piece sent to me by Google. Yes, that Google. And better yet, what were they trying to sell me? Digital advertising! One of the largest and most recognized tech companies in the world spends money on direct mail print advertising to drive revenue to their digital advertising services.

Need more examples? Red Bull, one of the most progressive media companies on the planet (yes, I said media company, not energy drink company) publishes a highly targeted print magazine, The Red Bulletin. This publication distributes 2.3 million copies globally, half of whom are under the age of 34. Content Marketing Institute, a business dedicated to serving marketers that deliver original, high-quality content to their audience, also sees the value in print marketing. Not only do they preach print marketing to their audience of over 150,000 email subscribers, but they practice it as well with their CCO (Chief Content Officer) Magazine, a subscription-based printed magazine.

So what is the right kind of print marketing for you? The answer is different for everybody and depends on a lot of factors. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or via email and I would be happy to take a quick look at what you're doing, or contact us at Searles Graphics if you want a more in-depth analysis of how you can make print work for your business. Either way, it's time to seriously think about making print a primary medium for your marketing or content strategy.

Chris Searles is President of Searles Media and specializes in helping small businesses maximize their available resources to market themselves effectively using a wide variety of media. Visit Website

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