The resurgence of print by Phil Newson, Director of Burnthebook

Phil Newson

Phil Newson, Director of Burnthebook full service digital marketing agency in Pride Park, Derby, explains why he thinks there will be an even greater resurgence in print and direct mail as part of the marketing mix for businesses in 2018.

When I started Burnthebook 18 years ago, everyone was saying that publishing and print work was dead. I didn’t believe it then and I certainly don’t believe it now.

On the contrary, rather than being an outdated marketing tactic, we are seeing a resurgence in print which will gather even greater pace this coming year – but perhaps not as we knew it in the past.

Think back to the days when you had to push the front door open and spend half an hour opening the post.

Now, consider the last time you received direct mail in the post.

More importantly, have you received something that was unique, had an air of quality about it and was particularly relevant to your business or lifestyle?

If so, you are far more likely to look at it and possibly keep it. At the very least, it would stay in your mind and maybe you would take up the call to action and a sale would be made at some point.

Online marketing – albeit lower cost – is passive.  Therefore, instead of sifting through the post – we are bombarded with emails that are easy to delete without opening and who is to say what else has landed in the junk folder or been blocked by spam filters.

Don’t get me wrong – email marketing has its place but requires greater thought and skill in how and when it is used.

On the other hand, printed direct mail – although higher cost – is active, tactile and has higher impact – demanding the recipient to do something with it.

This is particularly evident in the growing resurgence in print by some online companies who are skillfully using direct mail to enhance their brand through developing direct mail pieces that their customer base eagerly await.

Ecommerce sites such as and produce fantastic, high quality printed materials including lifestyle magazines that use engaging content to back up their products online, without employing hard sell tactics.  Rather than throw away these direct mail pieces, their customers keep and collect them.

Such clever marketing delivers a high return on investment ROI and importantly, develops brand loyalty.

They and others have embraced the major factor in the successful use of print by capitalising on the big data that is collected online to ensure that their printed materials reach the right people.

By combining digital capture techniques with print, customers can be profiled online and specific marketing personas can be targeted.

Also, combining traditional methods like letter press, foiling, stitching with small digital print runs makes engaging and cost effective direct mail more achievable within a company’s budget.

The end result enables businesses to capture the attention of their target audiences and provide them with a unique brand experience.

I am proud that our combined expertise at Burnthebook enables us to produce high quality digital experiences as well as a wide range of traditional print collateral.  This ranges from lengthy reports for one of our global clients to tightly focused and short print run, highly engaging direct mail that is targeted and customer focused.

But the story does not end there and the longer term future is even more exciting with new technologies opening the doors to new innovations such as paper-thin video adverts combined with tradition print.

Therefore, as marketeers and businesses we all need to broaden our horizons, and think differently to stay ahead of the game, but above all, not lose sight of who are the customer is and what is relevant to them.

Taking the omni-channel approach will enable us to look at alternative ways to engage with audiences and provide them with a deeper brand experience and develop the kind of brand loyalty that helps businesses to maintian high customer retention levels, which is what we all dream of. The future is exciting, but so is today.

For more on this subject, please visit