There’s no question that we live in a digital age. Wifi, smartphones, and social media are ubiquitous and have unquestionably and fundamentally altered the way that we communicate—and the way we market.
So why do we continue to espouse the benefits of printed materials when it comes to delivering healthy brand messages through health & wellness influencers?
Because print works in ways digital cannot.
Let’s start with the most basic and powerful benefit: Printed materials deliver a face-to-face interaction between an influencer and highly targeted consumers. When a health & wellness influencer hands printed materials to a consumer during a counseling interaction, their influence is delivered directly and compellingly to that consumer. You don’t get that direct influence with a URL, tweet or blog post.
No less importantly, print lets you control the message. Digital activation aimed at earning blog posts, tweets, and other social media content risks your healthy brand message being communicated to consumers in ways that are inaccurate, misleading, or embarrassing. Printed materials not only educate influencers in an accurate and appropriate manner, but they ensure that consumers will receive your healthy brand messages as you have crafted them.
And despite what you may think, influencers prefer printed materials. This has been corroborated many times in our research with health & wellness influencers. In fact, more than 75% of influencers say they prefer print over digital. Why? They don’t have time to search the Internet for information to share with patients or clients, let alone manufacturer websites. They often don’t have the means in a professional setting to print or copy the quantities they need to distribute to consumers.
Plus, influencers prefer printed materials because they want their patients and clients to walk away with something they can refer to later. In fact, creating printed materials that allow for personalization and interaction vastly increases the usability and perceived value of the materials.
Finally—and this comes as a surprise to many—consumers prefer printed materials. When it comes to their health & wellness, consumers are seeking more information, not less. They trust health & wellness influencers more than any other source for this information. And despite the ubiquity of digital, they prefer print.
When people express surprise at this, I often encourage them to search Google for the phrases “Millennials prefer print” or “Boomers prefer print.” There is no scarcity of studies and data supporting these notions. In fact, there’s even science to support the fact that consumers are right to prefer print when it comes to important topics. A study by TrueImpact, a Canadian neuromarketing firm, showed that print media requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital, is easier to understand, and is more memorable.
So, is there a role for digital in the realm of health & wellness influencer marketing, or even in the marketing of healthy brands? Absolutely. Digital plays a key role in driving awareness and interest in healthy brands. It’s just that digital impressions are a mile wide and an inch deep.
But once you have the attention and interest of health & wellness influencers, print is the workhorse engine that drives the path to purchase.