No, your daily newspaper and weekly trade pub aren’t roaring back from the edge of the grave. I’m talking about custom print pubs for customers and prospects overwhelmed by offers to watch Webcasts, hear podcasts, keep up with blogs, check their social networks and do other stuff that requires a keyboard and a screen.

Two companies that do a lot of selling to business customers told a NetMarketing breakfast organized by BtoB Magazinethis week that they’re maintaining, or even increasing, their spending on high-quality custom print publications. “A lot of our customers spend a lot of our time waiting” in places such as airport lounges, said Nuance CommunicationsDirector of Marketing Lynne Esparo, and they appreciate marketing collateral that’s requires nothing more digital than ten fingers to access..

Sara Poulton, Vice President of Marketing at DigitalGlobe, agreed, saying there’s still a strong place for printed material such as brochures in her company’s marketing mix. It’s interesting that both of these firms have a sizable mix of business customers who are perhaps older and more used to reading longer, print pieces than a younger consumer crowd. (Nuance makes speech recognition software found in mobile phones and used in call centers, while DigitalGlobe provides the satellite imagery for services such as Google World.) In each case, many of their customers are also technically-oriented and work for risk-averse organizations such as the defense community and telecoms.)

It’s also important to note that neither of them is abandoning more modern digital marketing efforts, but combining electronic, print and even direct mail to send the right type of marketing material, in the right format, to the right customer at the right time. Even the United States Postal Service, the bastion of innovation, was handing out a glossy (and well-done) print publication at the event touting the role of direct in new “integrated” marketing efforts.

Bottom line: Don’t discount “older” media formats just because they’re not new and glitzy. Pay close attention to how your customers and prospects learn about new products so you can deliver the information they need, when they need it, and in the format they like most.

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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