Catalogs Alive and Well in the Digital Age

Despite the ongoing focus on all things digital, the stalwart catalog continues to hold its own as a key marketing tool for many merchants, nearly all respondent marketers to the 2018 MCM Outlook survey – 84.2% – said they continue to use it as a channel for reaching their customers.


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Print vs Digital

Paper Beats Digital For Emotion


Direct mail is so last millenium, right? Ultra-efficient digital marketing seems all but certain to supplant actual paper marketing delivered by humans. It might be a little too soon to shut down the paper mills, though, according to a study by branding agency Millward Brown. The research project used fMRI brain scans to show that our brains process paper-based and digital marketing in different ways, and in particular that paper ads caused more emotional processing.

According to the study, physical media left a “deeper footprint” in the brain, even after for controlling for the increase in sensory processing for tangible items:

  • Material shown on cards generated more activity within the area of the brain associated with the integration of visual and spatial information (the left and right parietal).
    • This suggests that physical material is more “real” to the brain. It has a meaning, and a place. It is better connected to memory because it engages with its spatial memory networks. [From Millward Brown Case Study – Using Neuroscience to Understand the Role of Direct Mail.]

The study also found that the tangible materials involved more emotional processing in the subjects, important from a branding and ad recall standpoint:

  • More processing is taking place in the right retrosplenial cortex when physical material is presented. This is involved in the processing of emotionally powerful stimuli and memory, which would suggest that the physical presentation may be generating more emotionally vivid memories.
    • Physical activity generates increased activity in the cerebellum, which is associated with spatial and emotional processing (as well as motor activity) and is likely to be further evidence of enhanced emotional processing.

Before we get carried away and crank up the printing presses, a few limitations of the findings should be noted. The biggest is that a head-to-head comparison of similar digital and print ads may not represent most real-world marketing situations. Digital ads can do things that print ads can’t match, like this Halo ad from Unicast. Digital ads can build in video, audio, and interactivity. Furthermore, digital ads can be targeted far more effectively based on user interests (search and content), past behavior, and other characteristics that print can’t match.

Paper-based Marketing. As a long-time direct marketing guy, I’m happy to see that high-tech brain scans show that paper still has some advantages that bits can’t match. The Millward Brown study didn’t get into how to optimize a print piece, but here are a few quick ideas:
– Think about the tactile nature of the piece. Heavier stock and a textured finish could emphasize the “tangibility” of the mailed item.
– Take advantage of the brain’s emotional engagement with tangible media and craft a message that has an emotional impact.
– Build in your brand imagery, since brand recall may be enhanced by the paper medium.

Digital marketers, on the other hand, need to look beyond static banners that are little more than converted print ads. (The ubiquity of the term “banner blindness” is one clue about how ineffective many digital ads are.) I have little doubt that a comparison between a paper ad and a well-targeted, engaging, rich-media ad would at least even things up, if not tilt in the favor of digital. Digital ads have the potential to stimulate multiple senses, both surprise and interact with the viewer, and overall be very engaging. I’m confident that these strengths can offset the “tangible” advantages of paper for most applications.

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NAPIM Submits Comments on State Environmental Regulations – 2018

February  2018 NAPIM has submitted comments on two proposed state regulations that have the potential to affect graphic arts operations in the respective states:

  • Washington State House Bill 2658 would restrict/limit the use of perfluorocompounds in packaging applications.   NAPIM commented that the regulatory definition used in the proposed rule be re-written to exclude compounds like PTFE and other similar materials.
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NY DEC) proposed amendments to 6 NYCRR 226-2.  This rule would restrict the volatile content solvents used in ink manufacturing  operations to 50 mg/l.  NAPIM’s comments requested that ink/coatings manufacturers be excluded from the  requirement.

Please contact George Fuchs at the NAPIM  office if you have any questions.


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Real Value of Print (cont.)



Keeping Print in the Mix in Customer Communications

For many companies, digital communications promised fast, easy, relevant, and more affordable customer communications. But now marketers are realizing that print has a valuable role in the customer communications mix that cannot be underestimated. As a result, the role of print in an omnichannel world is being redefined yet again, with print as a key element.

By Cary Sherburne Published: January 31, 2018

As social media, mobile and other forms of digital communications became more universally accepted in the early 2000s, many marketers diverted dollars that had previously gone to printed communications to a digital-only strategy, placing even more pressure on a consolidating commercial print market.

But was their confidence in digital communications misplaced? This cartoon shows how a marketer might misunderstand what drove a consumer to make a purchase. Just because the actual order was placed via a mobile device doesn’t mean that mobile communications drove the action!

In recent years, marketers are again turning to print as an important element of an omnichannel communications strategy. Even in transactional printing, which was one of the fastest areas to go digital, many customers still want a printed statement, although payment is typically done online now.

Interestingly, Millennials, which now comprise the largest population cohort, love getting mail! A recent USPS study, conducted in mid-2016,[1] revealed that the vast majority of Millennials take the time to look through their mail and would rather scan for useful information in the mail than in email. And 90% of Millennials, according to the study, view direct mail advertising as reliable.

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The Real Value of Print


New Research Reveals Direct Mail to be Most Credible Form of Media Outreach Among Voters

  • Jan 31, 2018
  • By Elena Neely


Establishing credibility with voters has never been a more important – and challenging – task for campaigns.

That’s why the United States Postal Service® commissioned a voter survey in the aftermath of last November’s Virginia gubernatorial race. The intent was to explore voter attitudes and beliefs on the efficacy and authenticity of different forms of political outreach.

The results were fascinating and informative. But perhaps what stood out most was that voters ranked direct mail as the most credible form of political advertising.

Among many findings, the survey found that 68% of all surveyed voters ranked direct mail among their three most credible forms of political outreach. This outpaced competing forms of political outreach such as TV (59%), in home visits (47%) and digital ads (26%).

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U.S. Manufacturing Ramps Up in 2017

FROM:  The National Association of Manufacturers:

According to new data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, manufacturing was one of the larger contributors to real GDP growth in the second quarter, adding 0.36 percentage points to top-line growth of 3.1 percent. Real value-added output from manufacturing increased 3.2 percent in the second quarter, extending the 4.0 percent gain in the first quarter. Overall, value-added output for manufacturing rose from $2.206 trillion in the first quarter to $2.219 trillion in the second quarter, a new all-time high. Value-added output for durable goods increased from $1.196 trillion to $1.205 trillion, with nondurable goods value-added output rising from $1.010 trillion to $1.014 trillion. The bottom line is that manufacturing accounted for 11.5 percent of real GDP in the second quarter.








Read more here.

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2017 Weather Events – Impacts on the Oil and Gas Industry

The printing ink industry relies strongly on the oil and gas industry and recent  weather events have the  potential to have an  impact on supply and availability of many of the petroleum hydrocarbon-based raw materials.   This report September 6, 2017 report from the U.S. Department  of  Energy provides an excellent overview and assessment of the  potential impacts.

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OSHA Removes Volks Rule from CFR

May 3, 2017 –  OSHA revoked the Volks Rule,” which would have amended the recordkeeping regulations in 29 C.F.R. Part 1904 – Read more in the OSHA Reporting section of the NAPIM Members area.

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NAPIM Food Packaging Committee Comments on Cal Lead(Pb) Proposed Rule

State of California – Health and Safety Code (HSC) §110552 Petition Requesting Adoption of Regulations Setting a “Naturally Occurring” Lead Level in Candy Containing Chili and Tamarind.   This proposal seeks to implement a 0.1 ppm lead (Pb) limit in food packaging/wrappers.   These comments are available in the Food Packaging Safety area of the NAPIM members website.

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OSHA Proposes Date for eReporting Requirement

On  June  27,  2017 OSHA  proposed a delay in this electronic reporting compliance date from July 1, 2017, to Dec. 1, 2017. The proposed delay will allow OSHA an opportunity to further review and consider the rule.   For  more  information on  this  regulation visit  the  OSHA  page  on  the NAPIM Member Resource  website.


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