Digital is the primary communication platform for most colleges and universities, but there still is an important role for print within an integrated, cross-media approach. The best marketing strategy brings print, web, social, email, and advertising together in a harmonious way for more effective and compelling communication.

Print isn’t going away, but it has changed — it is more special and more experiential.

The most effective print pieces have simple and powerful messages. They create an experience through choices of photography, paper stock, shape, finishes, and inks. With print, you can focus on the romance of a message and let the website do the heavy lifting on the related detail.

A cross-media approach makes perfect sense, but it ain’t easy. Steve McKee gets it right in a post for Bloomberg Business Week, “Put simply, integration takes time. It’s not easy to integrate a brand into a wide suite of processes, materials, and messages that have been shepherded by different people, driven by different objectives, and brought to life in different places within the organization.” [Bloomberg Business Week – Integrated Marketing: If You Knew It, You’d Do It]

mStoner’s approach to print (or any other platform) is our approach to any good communication: Let your message and your audience define how you use the medium. For most, the first question is, “How do we integrate print with web?” We think that’s the wrong first question. Instead, we ask, “What is the best and most appropriate use of print?”

Determining when print is best:

  • What are the communication goals and purpose?
  • What is the call to action and does it fit with print?
  • What is the expectation of the target audience about the medium you’ll use?

Thinking about the best uses of print and web:

What’s print good for?

  • Creating relationships
  • Reminders about your brand
  • Making people feel special
  • Driving individuals to web content
  • Grabbing attention (there is less clutter in direct mail than in email)
  • Reaching a smaller and more targeted audience
  • Responding to inquiries from prospective students
  • As a takeaway for legislative meetings, donor visits, and college fairs

What’s the web better for?

  • Transactional content
  • Information that changes and/or is updated regularly
  • Presenting large amounts of filterable content
  • Interactive media like video and photo galleries
  • Reaching the broadest number of people
  • Reaching people you don’t realize are interested (they aren’t on your list or in your funnel)

What do both print and web do well?

  • Connect with people in every age group
  • Build brand equity
  • Create an experience

My next post? Using the web to make your print work better.

mStoner Staff

AUTHOR - mStoner Staff

mStoner, Inc. helps clients to tell their authentic stories by clarifying their unique brand value proposition, creating a content strategy to communicate the brand effectively, and implementing compelling and dynamic communications across the web, mobile, social media, print, and other channels. We focus on research, data, and results.


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