Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Paper Still Matters

You have a great idea and a compelling story to tell. It’s clear in your mind what story you want to share, but the question is how do you share it to the world? Paper can help.

Paper remains an important medium in the digital age. In fact, the business industry still largely depends on paper when it comes to documenting important events. In today’s business environment, electronic media is not only the best way to communicate with prospects; print and online messages should complement with each other.   

In a 2009 research conducted by Harris Interactive® for Earthtone, a majority of Americans say that printed materials are easier to read than their digital counterparts. In fact, 64% of office workers prefer ink on paper to a computer screen when reading. They said that they are more comfortable reading materials when they can touch and feel them since it’s easier to navigate hard copies than electronic documents.   

A Kindle experiment conducted by University of Virginia Darden School of Business also revealed that most Darden students prefer not to use electronic reading devices in the B-school classroom. Michael Koenig, director of MBA operations of Darden, said that the Kindle is “not flexible enough. … It could be clunky. You can’t move between pages, documents, charts and graphs simply or easily enough compared to the paper alternatives.’’ The experiment also argued that people may actually learn better from a book or printed report than through a computer.

Consumers also continue to choose print over other mediums as evidenced by the Doremus/Financial Times study which showed that 64% of the executives surveyed said they pay more attention to print ads than online ads. Similarly, consumers still read or scan promotional materials they receive in the mail according to the Mail Moment Study conducted in 2004 in behalf of the U.S. Postal Service. The study revealed that 80% of consumers sort through the direct mail materials they receive almost immediately.    

People may have varied reasons for preferring print over electronic media—practicality, ease of use, familiarity—but whatever it is, no one is saying that electronic media is not practical and effective. However, it’s clear that the enduring popularity of print in business will continue and will have a significant impact on both consumers and the company’s bottom line. With print and electronic media complementing each other, the possibilities are endless.

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