As we look at the role of paper today, we are faced with the following questions: Does paper still remain important in these times we are living? Is direct mail (possibly one of the bastions of printed paper) still as relevant in the communication process of some companies?
We start with these questions, telling you right away that you will be able to find the answers in the course of this text, but what is important to emphasise here is that we live in an age in which we repeatedly and cyclically witness chronicles of announced deaths.
- TV is going to die;
- Twitter is going to die;
- Facebook is going to die;
- Newspapers are going to die;
- Direct marketing is going to die;
- People are pronounced dead – but are still alive after all – and even human beings have been foreseen to die at the hands of Artificial Intelligence, robots and extraterrestrials.
You get the idea . Right?
The same thing is happening with paper. In a time when everything is digital, scanned or scannable, the role of paper appears to have been forcibly relegated to second place.
Confused? We’ll explain.
To be more concrete, a plan seems to be in place to try to show that the paper is indeed dispensable and easily replaceable. Well, we have the hard mission of demonstrating just the opposite.
And nothing beats using concrete examples to do so.
Take the case of Tetra Pak, which announced in May of this year that it will replace plastic straws with paper ones.
We also have the example of Inapa, which presents kraft paper (the brown and recyclable one) as an alternative to plastic bags.
Renova itself has launched this year in the United Kingdom toilet paper packaging made of paper and not plastic.
And a Portuguese paper napkin factory that has also abandoned plastic (saving up to 460 tons/year ) to start using paper packages.
McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Starbucks, Disney, Ikea, Super Bock and Sagres, Sonae, Jerónimo Martins… all of them have already started the process of abandoning plastic in favor of … paper.
And if we remember Marketing and Advertising, for example, it is difficult to think that paper is dead or to striding towards extinction.
As you see, paper is a long way from being extinct. Don’t believe it? Let’s move right on to the examples, so that you can see why we say this with a lot of certainty.
Let’s observe and contrast digital vs.offline.
Looking at digital, we can easily conclude that email is now one of the main forms of communication on the planet, and it is possible to send targeted and personalised emails with excellent pieces of content that result in the lead becoming a conversion, a buyer becoming someone who is going to consume our contents and buy our products.
It is also possible to measure opening rates for these same emails, and to compose them by resorting to the most varied platforms, without forgetting the RGPD rules, etc. Therefore email is indeed a very complete communication tool. However, as far as personalisation itself is concerned, few things can beat a good direct mail. Especially if the sender really works on the copywriting, paper, graphics, personalisation and content he or she is sending.
Did you know that the email opening rate in 2017 was 36%? This means that 64% of outgoing emails are deleted before they can even be read. The information is from the Litmus Email Analytics study, from 2017.
Having a higher success rate, the waste associated with direct mail is considerably less, especially because the brand can and should adapt the message with points that capture the interest of that particular recipient and offers that are difficult to ignore. This is a communication technique that works in almost every market and with almost every product or customer.
If it is possible to transport something by mail, it is possible to choose direct mailing as a means of communication, with the guarantee that the degree of satisfaction of the recipient will be high.
When a brand chooses this type of channel, deep down it is offering something to the customer. At the very least, the brand is offering the client an immersive and completely different experience that is hard to forget. And this, dear friends, the email cannot do.
In many of these cases, direct mail is the essential complement to a marketing strategy, which has a maximum exponent of customer care in this format.
This is an act that can take place only for the simple pleasure of doing it, combined with the intention of pampering a customer with something that should preferably last and be a constant reminder of that brand in the life of the customer who receives it.
In the field of Marketing, there are still flyers, catalogs, brochures, pamphlets, banners, posters, billboards, letters (yes, letters) and so many other means of communication – some more effective than others – whose existence and reason to exist are based on paper. Not to mention books. E-books are spectacular, but the paper books are unbeatable.
Have you ever wondered where you would write down notes to leave at home, if paper ceased to exist ? It’s best to not even think about that .
As you can see, good examples are not lacking, so our task has become much easier. Paper seems to be decidedly determined to let itself remain with us for a while.
The way we use it is changing as well as society’s awareness of the need to use environmentally friendly paper and recycle it in order to make the industry itself more sustainable and cleaner.
Take, for example, the use of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) paper which gives the consumer full assurance that the raw material used comes from a certified forest. By opting for the consumption of materials with the FSC seal we are actively contributing to the improvement of forest management worldwide. In addition, we are also contributing to the certification of new forest areas and new companies.
It is therefore then possible to conclude that paper is far from dying. Quite the contrary.
Despite the ease of the digital world in terms of time savings and optimisation of tasks and resources, it is still very difficult to obtain the level of personalisation and conversion efficiency that direct mail has.
And that, dear reader, will be difficult to change, at least in the near future.
Oh, and let’s not forget one important detail: if digital fails, paper is always there to save the day.