11 August 2009

The Continuing Need For Marketing Print

LDS Tourism Services has had a web presence since 1995 and has fully embraced e-marketing and, more recently, social media networking techniques. However, while the Internet is an important means of promoting tourism, we fully recognise that it is a useful tool in the box rather than a ‘one size fits all’ method of catching the visitor’s eye.

We recently put the question: "Is it still worth spending time and money on brochures?" to fellow members of LinkedIn, an online network of experienced business people from around the world. We received a huge number of replies from a cross section of people involved in the tourist, leisure, design and marketing industries. The overall consensus was that promotional print is still undoubtedly an extremely important means of marketing attractions and other businesses in the modern era.

Here is a small but representative selection of the replies:

“I use print material to drive people to the Royal Academy of Arts’ website and to promote advance bookings. Customers still appreciate the tactile quality of print and particularly these days this tool provides a sense of trust.” - Maria Salvatierra, Marketing Officer, Travel & Tourism at Royal Academy of Arts

“Absolutely! Even though technology has made it possible to see information online, people still want a hard copy. The internet has refined in a way what could go into print. There are still plenty of people out there that stop by visitor information centres searching for flyers and brochures on the way to their next destination. We mail out a lot of information packets each month from people requesting information.” – Brent Hunter, Economic Development, Government Relations, Business Management

“To rely on a web presence is only a small part of the picture. Without the personal touch, even the best website doesn't convert as much as they could. All online marketers are always looking for the right landing page or design. The impersonal web has a hard time competing with a smile, handshake and well designed brochure.” – Buddy Hannon, Media Production Agent, Nature’s Blend Inc.

“A good note to remember, roughly 18% of web users actually read what's on a website. Brochures allow a potential client to educate themselves when they want, wherever they want.” – Shane O’Brien, Owner, Blue Wave Design Inc. (Website Print)

“I speak for the tourism industry - YES - brochures are absolutely needed. When you're driving down the road, stop at a restaurant and want to get local information about what's in the area, a well-stocked brochure rack is extremely useful. Not all festivals, events, hotels, restaurants, etc. are on the Internet. And even if they were, not everyone travels with a Blackberry. For the traveller on the road, brochures help people make last-minute decisions about where to go and what to do. And, many people save them to share or for future use.” – Greta Lint, Tourism Communications Services

“While a website has the flexibility to offer far more information than [promotional print], it cannot do everything. A brochure when created and used correctly is a great sales support tool that can augment a web site. The thinking may be a little different these days, but the use of brochures should not be tossed away simply because the web exists. It is very true that companies do not have to rely on brochures alone anymore. They also should not fall into the trap of relying solely on their web site. Some people still like holding things in their hands besides pieces of plastic tethered to a monitor.” – Jim Pallotta, Designer, Studio Barrage

“Yes, they are absolutely still worth the time and money. The goal is with the brochure development - to plan on presenting an online option as well. The nice aspect of having a printed brochure, you can take it with you to read at leisure without the glare of a computer screen and offers a comprehensive, offline resource to store for future reference.” – Yvonne Denault, Creative Director, Vorden Corp.

“Absolutely, brochures are still worth spending money on, provided that you understand your target market and their likely behaviours properly. My organisation runs multi-channel campaigns and regular use of brochures forms the backbone of those campaigns. Their strength for us is the facility for our customers to digest the information at their leisure, without the need for technology. The brochure can be casually picked up and acted upon at the customer's whim, and it can come with the customer to a store so that the product they require can be followed through from the brochure right into the store and to the cash desk.” – Ed Brazier, GO Outdoors Ltd.

“I hadn't had a new batch of brochures printed up for, probably, fifteen years - almost as long as I've had a Web site. However, I was informed this past spring that I was missing a key marketing connection with one of my specific niches by not having one. Why I didn't realise it before (or why no one made the connection earlier), I can't say, but I now use a newly designed brochure to hit that niche: genealogists and personal historians. The response has been surprising.” - Stephen Evans, Editor, www.the-freelance-editor.com

(This question is still open on the main LinkedIn Q&A board and in the Brochure Marketing group Discussion area.)

Both our survey and market research in general clearly show that printed materials are still one of the most cost-effective and successful means of promoting an attraction, event, tourist resort, leisure facility etc. It is quite clear that displaying promotional print in high-footfall outlets is massively important to the success of tourism and to suggest that e-marketing has replaced brochures and leaflets would be wholly inaccurate. Professional literature distribution is proven, effective and reliable.

Incidentally, it may interest you to know that there are now 619 members of our Brochure Marketing group on LinkedIn. There is also a sub-group - Brochure Marketing UK - for those who wish to network with fellow Brits.


Image © knowtebook.com, 2009


Eve White said...

I agree, the internet is great, but people still want a brochure.

Paula Bardell-Hedley said...

Thank you, Eve! :-)

Debbie Lenaghan said...

Think its wonderful what you do , and what you have created . Have left you a message on Flickrmail !! Debbie ;-)

Paula Bardell-Hedley said...

Thank you Debbie. I'll look for your message on Flickrmail! :-)

Gayathri said...

Brochures can successfully advertise goods/ services. Good brochure need good design and good content. Keep blogging. Thanks.