Do you remember the 80′s hit single, ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’? If you can you’ll appreciate how much has changed in the communications and technological landscape over the last 20 plus years. Things have certainly moved on since those ‘big haired’ days, but is Digital now on its way to killing Print?
Certainly the internet and wireless technologies have come of age and whole generation of youth is emerging having grown up surrounded by smartphones, tablets and social media. While we all still enjoy the tactile nature and rich finish of high quality printed magazines and brochures, the gradual shift from print to digital over the last decade has become a quantum leap. This is not purely a result of one technology but the ability of a range of technologies that integrate, store, share and manage information in a way that would otherwise be physically impossible. But it’s not all over – not by a long way, rather than this being a Digital v Print matchup – it’s become more of a symbiotic relationship between the two heavyweights.
Print has begun to fight back, integrating elements of technology into it’s own architecture with Augmented Reality, Image Recognition and Quick Response Codes – bridging the gap between the flat printed page and the digital world. There are still many niche areas where print remains the communication tool of choice; product packaging and point of display are difficult to replace with a convincing, purely digital experience. However, Near Field Technology will go some way to enhance the instore experience – allowing customers to view product details on their smartphone as they walk by aisles.
These developments strengthen both communications streams, which is further illustrated by the growing use of print to target audiences groups using advertising and DM campaigns – then redirect them to the digital space where a more personalised experience can be delivered. As digital grows and traditional print media evolves in new ways in response, we will see more of this symbiotic behaviour.
For business, this means making the most of a mixture of mediums that best reach out and communicate with current and future customers – mixing and matching to greatest effect.