Pressworks Blog

Print’s Place in Your Cross-Channel Campaign 2021 HINT: THE QR CODE IS WORKING

August 30, 2021 by
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What role should print marketing play in your marketing plans? As digital media explodes it is tempting to minimize the value and importance of print marketing or even do away with it altogether. NOT SO FAST. Print continues to play a shifting but very important role in reaching your customers in both a branding and marketing capacity. No longer the primary focus of many marketing strategies its value is indisputable.

Close attention to print ads has more than doubled since 2009-10, from 23% to 49% in 2020. Ad recall for print news brands has increased by 67% between 2009-10 and  2019-20. (Newsworks, 2020). Combining digital and direct mail yields a 400% increase in the effectiveness of online campaigns. There are a few things that every brand manager and marketer should consider when preparing their marketing budget and assigning resources to each specific marketing channel. Although digital information is processed faster than print, retention is significantly lower than it is for print. Digital ads are retained for seconds, whereas print is retained for 10 to 15 days.

  •  52% of Recipients read direct mail postcards.    

  •  84% of Millennials take the time to look through their mail.

  •  64% would rather scan for useful info in the mail than email.  

More than half of the brain is devoted to processing sensory experience, and much of that sensory receptivity focuses on touch. Print engages multiple senses, including touch (tactile), smell, sound, and sight. Combine that with digital, which engages sight and sound, and you have effectively engaged all five senses to increase retention rates and make a strong and lasting impression on your consumer.

Print should still be an integral part of your marketing strategy. What is changing is how print is incorporated into campaigns. While a call to action in an ad or on a direct mail piece has been an effective standard business practice for decades, now technology is offering even more effective and measurable options.

The Quick Response Code, or QR code, invented in 1994, was first introduced for use to consumers in 2010. However, its acceptance and broad use took years to become part of consumer behavior. As mobile applications have improved and cell phone technology has developed, the barriers to use have disappeared. Today most smartphones incorporate QR code scanners as a part of a phone’s basic features. The use of QR codes in restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic helped them become an accepted part of consumer behavior.

  • 5.3 Billion estimated number of coupon code redemption by 2022.     

 Now is the time to use this technology to drive consumers to your mobile app and website. Consider adding a QR code to your direct mail piece, look book, or catalog to drive consumers to your online ordering system. Print combined with digital will maximize your next campaign by increasing your response rate, identifying your customer, and increasing your ROI.



  • Nearly 80% of consumers act on direct printed mail advertisements compared to 45% of consumers who act on electronic advertisements (Potochny, 2017).
  • Print and direct mail marketing bring a 9% customer response rate compared to other digital marketing channels, which hover around 1% or less (R.C. Brayshaw, 2020).
  • Print ads generate a 20% higher motivation response — even more if they appeal to more senses beyond touch (R.C. Brayshaw, 2020).
  • If you’re curious about brand marketing, you’ll be happy to know that advertising in print drives higher levels of brand recall vs. digital (77% vs. 46%) (Newsworks, 2020).
  • 92% of 18- to 23-year-olds find it easier to read print over digital content (Forer, 2017).
  • The response rate for direct-mail marketing is 37% higher than the email rate (Medina, 2019).
  • 2019).
  • Digital ads are less recalled than print ads but they are more effective than print ads at converting engaged readers into action takers (64% vs 55% for print) (Newsworks, 2020).






Still Relevant: A Look at How Millennials Respond To Direct Mail, USPS 2018

A Communicator’s Guide to  the Neuro Science of Touch ; Sappi,  Boston, MA. 2017