Is paper communication an effective medium?


Today’s media industry is moving more and more towards volatile content on digital devices – does it still make sense to consider print paper communication?

Is this a rhetoric or sentimentality questions? Neither of these ones is correct. The «facts» speak for themselves.

In 2012 Print Power Italy commissioned research from Lorien Consulting which showed that no fewer than 96.2% of Italian businesses use paper-based communication media in their media mix. 19% of consumers exposed to a message in print go to a retail outlet to make a purchase or ask for further details, against 15.9% in the case of a TV message or 15.5% for radio.

In fact paper-communication gives readers something tangible: when we read a magazine, a daily newspaper or a catalogue, actually, holding it between our hands gives us a physical sensation involving the senses of touch and smell as well as sight. This enhances its effectiveness in communication.

Some of paper’s universally recognized distinctive characteristics cannot be replicated by any other medium: paper is tactile, and engages the reader in a sensory experience; it lasts, in the consumer’s hands and in the home or office; so the paper-based message lasts longer, and is more of a commitment on the part of the firm that puts it out, a token of responsibility.

Print advertising is embracing innovation, developing and adopting new techniques and applications, such as «enhanced reality» for instance, or putting QR codes in magazine ads. Only the print media are capable of enhancements like scratch ‘n sniff, special editions, different qualities and types of print, or product samples.

Print is often perceived as less sustainable than other media, but the truth is the opposite. As the facts show: if forests are to stay healthy they must be managed; and it is the wood-using industry which cares most about the sustainable management of forest resources.

In Europe, for instance, where 88% of the wood used by the paper industry comes from, there is now 30% more forest than there was in 1950.

And paper is Europe’s most recycled material: two tonnes every second. 70% of the paper used in Europe is collected and recycled.

So… Paper communication is an effective and sustainable medium.