How do millennials engage with print versus digital?

Promoting your brand can be an expensive business. Every company wants to invest time and resources in a way that generates the best results. This has led many marketers to make some assumptions about their target audiences. One of those assumptions is that younger generations favour all things digital, while older generations prefer print.

All millennials are digital natives, and all digital natives are millennials, right? This is a generation that is constantly glued to smartphones, shuns books and only engages with online advertising. If that’s the case, they’re going to be a hard bunch to reach.

Luckily, this idea of millennials is a stereotype and simply not true.

It is up to marketers to sort the fact from the fiction. In doing so, it’s essential that marketers explore different mediums, new and old, to create the perfect blend of communications to capture the audience’s imagination.

But while it may feel like a gamble targeting millennials with print, the fact is, millennials are often looking for an antidote to their digital world. Having grown up with digital, it’s what they engage with. However, millennials, just like the rest of us, feel a need to escape the information overload sometimes.

Print presents a moment of calm in an otherwise chaotic world, making millennials stop and reflect, if only for a short while.

The more tangible an item is, the more powerful it is too. There’s something that happens when consumers hold something physical; senses engage and connections are formed. These sensations are at least in part behind the millennial resurgences in sales of vinyl and possibly the Polaroid camera.

This idea is particularly crucial for marketers seeking to make a lasting impression on audiences; for example, a creatively printed invite or promotion, especially one that’s personalised in some way, might encourage people to stick it on their fridge for future reference.

Earlier this year, it did not go unnoticed that digital giant Facebook turned to print to apologise for its Cambridge Analytica data debacle, buying full-page adverts in several Sunday newspapers. And that KFC chose billboards and magazines to launch its FCK campaign after its chicken shortage crisis. Even among the millennial audience, print clearly has its uses.

Therefore, marketers need to remember that it’s unwise to stereotype different generations. For millennials, printed items add credibility to a brand, reinforcing its identity and offering something different.

The key is making sure that the two mediums work together to create engaging, effective campaigns. Instead of thinking of print versus digital, marketers must develop considered campaigns that connect with audiences in the right way.

This means ensuring that the brand stays true to itself. Millennials value honesty, realism and authenticity, and are quick to distinguish between advertising and genuine communication, regardless of whether the message is printed or digital.

If you would like to know how to find the right balance between digital and print marketing to reach your target audience, get in touch with the team at Adare today:


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