My first Inbound 2016 conference experience has blown me away! This highly anticipated digital marketing event is still in full swing, but I already know I’ll leave with a greater understanding of digital marketing strategy, social media optimization and an incredible sense of marketing comradery. I’ll also leave with an even greater appreciation of print’s strengths and its role in the modern media mix. Whether you’re a marketer figuring out next year’s marketing plan or a graphic designer with a desire to make an impact, a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of various communication platforms could help you reach a more strategic result. Here are the two reoccurring themes from the conference that stuck out to me, and how print fits in the mix:

 Brands Matter, So Do Brand Solutions

Yes, brands matter. And when I say the word “brand,” I’m not only referring to an organization’s logo or graphic standards (although both are important components). The messaging about your brand, products and services matters too. It’s important to communicate in a fashion that not only aligns with your brand values, but is also relatable to your audience and displays brand consistency.

Social media platforms are great for communicating to a wide audience—and introducing your brand to new potential customers. Additionally, blogs are a wonderful way for your brand to serve as a strategic advisor. After all, we live in an age where an individual can figure out the solution to some of their biggest challenges with a simple Google search.

In compliment to the aforementioned vehicles, print makes a statement. When you go through the effort to produce and distribute a high-quality, well-designed printed piece on quality paper, you’re drawing a line in the sand. You’re telling your audience, in a way that can’t be deleted like a misspelled tweet, that what you’re saying about your brand is truthful, substantial and accurate. This is why research shows that the majority of people trust print more than many other advertising or branding communication channels.

Content Matters, So Do Marketing Results

It’s true what they say, content really is king. That’s why it’s so incredibly important to consider what you say, how you say it and what platform you should use to deliver your message on. One strategy that I learned more about at Inbound 2016 is the idea of content upcycling. As stated by content marketing thought leader Salma Jafri, content upcycling is the strategy of creating new content from pre-created content in a way that adds new value. A great way to get started with content upcycling is to consider the unique strengths of various communication vehicles. For example, digital marketing can drive customer engagement. On the other hand, search engines and platforms are saturated, so it can be difficult for a business with a small SEO footprint to make an impact and get noticed.

To supplement this, consider how direct mail can be applied to a campaign. If you start with a great list, the positive attributes definitely outweigh the costs. If your message can’t be condensed into a direct mail piece, consider a more substantial brochure or a publication to create a thought leadership strategy. After all, studies show people tend to spend more time with print and read the information thoroughly.

It all boils down this: know your audience and your options. Start with well-defined goals, then figure out what platforms work best for your brand, audience and resources. For maximum total impact, a media mix that includes print can’t be beat.

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