March 4, 2017

The Importance of Paper

We’ve all been hearing a lot about digital communications – e-mail, websites, SMS, mobile. It is certainly vital today to be able to communicate with your audience in whatever format and method they prefer, and to have the tools that will allow you to do this efficiently and affordably. But with all of the emphasis … Continue reading “The Importance of Paper”

We’ve all been hearing a lot about digital communications – e-mail, websites, SMS, mobile. It is certainly vital today to be able to communicate with your audience in whatever format and method they prefer, and to have the tools that will allow you to do this efficiently and affordably.

But with all of the emphasis on digital, what about paper? Print, in terms of volume of pages and printing establishments, has declined, but will it go away? How relevant are printed communications in today’s connected world?

Some very interesting studies tell us that the answer is a resounding yes – not only is print still viable, but it can produce better results in terms of reaching your audience, particularly with certain demographics and types of communications.

A survey done of over 1000 U.S. and 500 U.K. consumers asked their opinions on a variety of issues surrounding paper-based vs. digital media. A sizeable majority of 88% of respondents indicated that they understand, retain and use information better when they read print on paper, compared to 64% or less when reading on electronic devices.

When it comes to complex documents, the gap is even more pronounced, with 80% preferring paper vs. 16% preferring digital. Interestingly enough, these statistics are consistent across all age groups.

The vast majority of Americans (90.4%) believe that companies that send bills, statements and other informational documents should be required to support paper document delivery at no extra charge and with no other penalty. When it comes to bills and statements, over 60% of all Americans prefer paper delivery. Their primary reason is that they’re more likely to see it and less likely to forget to make a payment, but they also mention that they prefer to store documents in paper format.

In the UK, a study done in 2013 reveals that 69% of postal mail recipients open all their mail vs. 32% of email recipients. Postal mail also consistently triggers positive attitudes and, according to “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens” by Ferris Jabr (Scientific American: 11 April 20131 ), a lasting memory response. In other words, the physical act of opening an envelope and pulling out paper, and the physical attributes of that tactile experience, creates a more lasting response than if the same information is delivered on a screen.

Research also shows us that positive attitudes toward postal mail are continuing to improve – perhaps as a side-effect from the barrage of e-mail communications that we all deal with.

Multi-channel and e-Presentment is certainly not going away, and Crawford Technologies supports digital formats across our product line. But properly formatted, consistent, integrated print is something we don’t want to lose track of. In fact, the print piece can be viewed as the starting place, or the truth, for all communications.

To learn more about your customers view print and its relation to other formats, take a look at this informative Madison Advisors White Paper – “Manage Customer Preferences Across Communication Channels”.