“Paper coupons are cool again,” reports Marketplace, and being from the printing industry, we won’t complain. We’ve written about the rapidly growing direct mail industry and the benefits of developing print and digital communications that work together harmoniously. Now, in an article from Marketplace, which highlights the benefits that marketers are seeing from printed coupons, it’s evident that other industries feel the same way.

‘Paper Feels Special Again’

According to Marketplace, marketers spend $44.9 billion on direct mail. But it’s no longer just your neighborhood Valpak stuffed in an envelope, the pieces of mail, specifically coupons, are “fancy”, the article says. The printed piece has to be of quality, otherwise it could be thrown away and as Marketplace writes, emails just don’t “feel as nice” and don’t “have the same emotional impact as paper.”

The article goes on to report that according to an annual coupon report released by Valassis, a marketing firm, nearly 90% of millennials use the paper coupons that they receive in the mail. Additionally, the Data and Marketing Association reports that response rates to direct mail, free-standing inserts, ads and coupons is up 60% from just 10 years ago.

Marketplace continues:

Paper feels special again. And having a tangible presence can be especially helpful for brands that started online.

In an article published by Printing Impressions, “Print’s Role in an Omnichannel World,” Gina Ferrara, senior analyst at Madison Advisors, explains that millennials actually respond positively to direct mail.

“They’re the digital native generation,” she says. “However, despite the fact that they’re ‘mobile first,’ they do like to receive direct mail. So that’s an opportunity for marketers to use printed communications as another channel in an omnichannel marketing strategy.”

One point that the Marketplace article brings up that shouldn’t be taken lightly is the power of the refrigerator.

Many people, myself included, stick relevant coupons to the front of their refrigerators using one of their many magnets, perhaps collected while traveling. When the coupons live on a fridge — sometimes for an inordinate amount of time, in my case — the brand is getting exposure.

Another plus to printed coupons is the ability to target specific ZIP codes, or as in in the example of PebblePost outlined in the aforementioned Printing Impressions article, the ability to target people within 24 hours of interaction with a brand online.

Studies, such as the ones highlighted in Marketplace’s article, prove that there is opportunity for commercial printers to enter the direct mail market, if they haven’t already.

So, the next time someone says print is dead, show them the numbers — the $44.9 billion spent on direct mail, to be exact — and then go out and print some more coupons.


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