Print vs. Electronic Media: Has Anyone Asked Customers What THEY Prefer?

Many marketers are pushing their customers toward electronic statements, e-newsletters, bills, and transactional statements as a “green” move, but in reality, it has more to do with economics. It’s cheaper for businesses to send electronic communications than print. But while pushing e-communications as greener, has anyone bothered to ask what customers how they feel about it?

InfoPrint Solutions Company did. A joint venture between IBM and Ricoh, InfoPrint conducted a a survey that found three out of four respondents would consider opting for traditional mail delivery if they were informed it had less of a negative environmental impact than email.

In addition, 50% of consumers indicated that they still prefer to receive marketing information about new products or services via traditional mail rather than email. Only 44% would rather receive marketing via email.

Do preferences convert into action? Yes! Not only do customers prefer print mail, but they are more likely to open it, even if both communications come from a bank.

  • The survey found that, while 71% of respondents “always” open email containing a monthly bill, this jumped to 92% of consumers who received statements by mail.
  • Likewise, while 60% “always” open an email containing a bank statement, this jumps to 83% when the bank statement comes in the mail.

So if you’re looking to save money, by all means stick with the “move it all to e-media” strategy. But if you’re looking to be more effective, don’t drop your print

In fact, the more you learn about the green nature of the printing industry and the more you can promote green print to your customers, the more you’ll get the double bang for your buck. They want print and they want to be green. So promote that print is green and you’ll be giving customers what they want and making them feel good about it, too.

Like this post? See all my “Greening Print Marketing” posts.

Image: Brochure of Cascade Enviro 100 paper

Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Heidi Tolliver-Walker has been a commercial and digital printing industry analyst, feature writer, columnist, editor, and author for nearly 20 years. She is known for her meticulous research and no-nonsense perspective. In addition to having written thousands of industry articles for top industry publications, she and Richard Romano have been the face of the well-respected industry research firm The Industry Measure (TrendWatch Graphic Arts) for many years. In her more than 13-year tenure with the firm, she has written countless reports on digital printing, 1:1 (personalized) printing, Web-to-print, personalized URLs, and other hot industry applications. She is also a long-time contributing editor and columnist for Printing News, for which she writes two monthly columns, including "Personal Effects," which features monthly analysis of 1:1 (personalized) printing case studies. She is also the author of three titles for the National Association of Printing Leadership: Designer's Printing Companion, Ink & Color: A Printer's Guide, and Diversifying Via Value-Added Services. As a small, niche publisher (Strong Tower Publishing), she is active in utilizing these technologies in her own business, as well.


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