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Paper Beats Digital In Many Ways, According To Neuroscience

Posted Friday, June 23, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

alt textSource: Forbes by Roger DooleySee Full Article Here

There’s good news for printers and paper companies. Despite the enormous migration to electronic media, neuroscience research shows that paper-based content and ads offer special advantages in connecting with our brains.

In the last decade, every marketer as been engaged in some kind of “print to digital” transformation. Glossy brochures, direct mail pieces, bulky manuals, and many other printed items have been replaced by a combination of web content, email, and on-demand electronic files.

This transformation is driven by how all of us consume media. We increasingly get our news, entertainment, and information via computers, tablets, and phones. Print-based media outlets have seen a decline in use and in some cases have disappeared completely.

We certainly aren’t going to see a massive switch back to paper content. But, those marketers who have been looking forward to the day when print content is gone entirely may be surprised by the latest neuroscience research.

Rather than an all-digital world, it appears that a multi-channel approach that leverages the unique benefits of paper with the convenience and accessibility of digital will perform best.

The Latest Data

The most recent work supporting paper-based marketing is a study sponsored by Canada Post and performed by Canadian neuromarketing firm TrueImpact. The study compared the effects of paper marketing (direct mail pieces, in this case) with digital media (email and display ads).

The technologies used in this study were eye-tracking and high resolution EEG brain wave measurement. Conventional questionnaires were also used.

The three key metrics evaluated in the study were cognitive load (ease of understanding), motivation (persuasiveness), and attention (how long subjects looked at the content).

Direct mail was easier to process mentally and tested better for brand recall. According to the report,

Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media (5.15 vs. 6.37), suggesting that it is both easier to understand and more memorable. Post-exposure memory tests validated what the cognitive load test revealed about direct mail’s memory encoding capabilities. When asked to cite the brand (company name) of an advertisement they had just seen, recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to a direct mail piece (75%) than a digital ad (44%).

As a measure of overall effectiveness, the authors of the report calculate what they call the “motivation-to-cognitive load ratio,” and say values greater than 1.0 are “most predictive of in-market success.”

By their calculation, direct mail scored 1.31 compared to 0.87 for digital media. Here’s how the individual formats fared:

While these measurements and metrics don’t rise to the level of universal scientific standards, they seem to fit with other research in the paper vs. digital space.

Temple University Study

Earlier this summer, in Print vs. Digital: Another Emotional Win for Paper, I described a study published by Temple University researchers.

This study used fMRI brain scans to compare digital and paper. Their findings are summarized in this table:

Perhaps the most significant finding from the Temple study was that paper advertising activated the ventral striatum area of the brain more than digital media. A previous study of successful ad campaigns found that the ventral striatum was an indicator of desire and valuation.

While not quite the mythical “buy button,” activity in this small brain structure had the highest correlation with advertising effectiveness. The study showed that ventral striatum activity was a better predictor than self-reporting by the subjects.

The fMRI approach used by the Temple scientists is the technique most widely used by academic researchers. While costly, fMRI studies can produce 3D images of brain activity. While their time resolution is lower than EEG, their ability to show activity in specific brain structures is valued by researchers.

Paper’s Emotional Impact

A 2009 study conducted by Bangor University and branding agency Millward Brown also used fMRI to study the different effects of of paper and digital media.

Some of their key conclusions were:

  1. Physical material is more “real” to the brain. It has a meaning, and a place. It is better connected to memory because it engages with its spatial memory networks.
  2. Physical material involves more emotional processing, which is important for memory and brand associations.
  3. Physical materials produced more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater “internalization” of the ads.

Memory-Changing Power

A 2011 study showed that realistic print ads could actually change how subjects remembered an experience.

In Vivid Print Ads Change Your Memory, I describe how incorporating vivid images in ads actually caused subjects to remember consuming a brand of popcorn they had not actually tried. In addition, their attitude toward the product was more favorable.

In that study, the comparison was with print ads that had less imagery. But it seems likely that the same effect would occur if the study had compared large, vividly-illustrated print ads to ads viewed on a small screen like a smartphone or a tablet.

Reading, Comprehension And Recall

While the studies I describe above all compare the effects of print and digital advertising, quite a few scientists have looked at information or entertainment content. There’s quite a body of work suggesting that our brains process a book differently if we read it in paper format vs. on an e-reader.

For example, a study in Norway concluded that, “students who read texts in print scored significantly better on the reading comprehension test than students who read the texts digitally.”

Screen‐based reading behavior is characterized by more time spent on browsing and scanning, keyword spotting, one‐time reading, non‐linear reading, and reading more selectively, while less time is spent on in‐depth reading, and concentrated reading. Decreasing sustained attention is also noted.

The Message For Marketers

Science clearly shows paper can be more impactful and memorable than digital. Digital, meanwhile, offers its own huge advantages, including instantaneous access, localization, powerful personalization and targeting, audio and video, and more.

Marketers should take advantage of the unique properties of both paper and digital. In particular, print advertising can maximize sensory appeal. Print offers the ability to deliver rich, vivid images along with tactile stimuli. In some cases, scent can be used to further increase print’s impact.

In addition to exploiting the customer’s senses, paper may also be more effective for communicating detailed information. While most ads are designed to avoid any hint of information overload, sometimes a B2B sales effort may involve important documentation to ensure the customer needs are met. Providing this information in paper format may increase the customer’s comprehension and recall.

Personally, if I’m presenting someone with a copy of my book, I always give them a hardcover copy. Not only can I inscribe it, but I know that it will have a physical presence in that person’s world instead of disappearing in a Kindle library with hundreds of other little icons.

How complete is your business’s transition from paper to digital? Has the pendulum swung too far? Share your thoughts in a comment!

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Social Media: Why It's So Important

Posted Wednesday, June 21, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

PPI Executive Director Featured in the June 2017 issue of PIA’s The Magazine

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Social media. Essentially a category of online media where people are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online.

I get it, I hear it. It’s for kids. It’s for millennials. It’s not for B2B. #wrong

Let’s talk money—look at the opportunities for increasing your sales. If you were to pull your customer list, what percentage have you engaged with in the past year and, better yet, sold to? Are you happy with that? Are your sales reps reaching out to everyone on their customer list? Are buyers aware of all you do? Do they know your brand…a.k.a., your WHY?

It seems the only constant today is change. You feel it, and your customers and prospects do too. How we keep up and inform others is vital to success. A website is OK, but unless you have an active blog, many times it’s more of a brochure and is quickly dated.

LinkedIn seems to be the go-to site for a business to potentially see who the buyers are and contact them. My experience is that very little current intel can be mined from a company’s or individual’s LinkedIn pro le page. The other major channels—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.—may well be a better place to begin to understand your customers, their company culture, and what you might be missing!

BTW, your customers are doing the same thing—check- ing out your website and your social media presence to understand your offerings, relevance, and brand. Take a moment to look at what your customers see. Does it re ect the experience they’ll have when dealing with you? Are you present? Do your posts feel authentic?Was your last post three years ago? Do you even know your passwords?

You can’t escape the influence of social media conver- sations on buying decisions, company branding, and relevance to buyers. We have a “tweeter-in-chief;” watch viral videos on YouTube; and check out Yelp, Foursquare, or OpenTable when considering a restaurant. Yet, the producers of print, the second largest manufacturing industry in the U.S., have been slow to see the value of a solid social strategy. Heck, we have a bad reputation industry-wide of not marketing ourselves. So this should be no surprise.

Let’s be honest. There are sales being left on the table, new business to be mined, relationships to create, and important intel to gain. To be effective, the voice, direc- tion, and ongoing support need to come from the top down. Be a game changer—capitalize on the opportunity. Showing how print and digital communications can coexist is a great launching point to show your rm’s relevancy and start conversations. Most of your peers aren’t here yet. Your business will bene t the more we all share the awesome sauce print brings to marketing and brands!


Picture Your Social WHY?

LinkedIn: We are legit in the print industry.

Instagram: Look how amazing our print is!

Facebook: We like our print, customers, and people. Twitter: Yes we can #print #printing #paper #printrocks YouTube: Watch us print.

Yelp: This is where we print.

Pinterest: Great ideas for what you can create in print. Google+: I want to show up in print searches on Google.

SnapChat: This is what we’re printing NOW!

Follow Jules on Twitter:@julesvlive, @ppiassociation, and #printrocks

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Alder Technology Expands Wide Format and Dye Sub Print Industry Services

Posted Friday, June 16, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – PORTLAND, OR – May 3, 2017 – Print industry professionals now have an unbeatable resource to help them harness color management and print process control. Alder Technology ( announced today that they have welcomed Joe Rogers to their team as a Print Solutions Expert. Joe augments Alder’s industry-leading services with additional expertise in RIP software, as well as in the hot segments of wide format and dye sublimation printing.

“Our clients look to us for the technical and strategic guidance they need to take advantage of market opportunities,” said Alder Technology President Bruce Bayne. “Having Joe on board will further expand both our reach and expertise to help more customers set the standard for color and quality, and to replace wasted time and resources with productivity and profit.”

Rogers comes on board after years of partnering with Alder, contributing his passion for color and specialized knowledge on a project basis. His experience in multiple aspects of print – from sales and quoting to workflow to production – enables him to collaborate deeply with stakeholders across a project and quickly identify areas that are hampering a print organization’s effectiveness.

“When customers reach out for print process consultation, they are typically reacting to a symptom,” said Rogers. “I’m well versed in dealing with those symptoms, but I prefer to go deeper. Focusing on the root problem, and curing the affliction at its source, is what delivers true value. My goal is to significantly improve a company’s bottom line in a lasting way.”

Joe’s previous experience includes a position at EFI, where he supported Fiery® XF, the company’s wide-format inkjet digital front-end and color management workflow RIP. He also served as point-person for EFI’s acquisition of sublimation print manufacturer Reggiani. Previously, in his role at Caldera, he supported all aspects of color management for the company’s RIP software for large and grand format printers. His earlier print industry experience includes five years with screen-printing pioneer MetroMark.

About Alder Technology

Alder Technology provides the solutions, training, and support printers need to increase their profitability through the power of color management and process control. We apply more than 40 years of experience to analyze your production processes from beginning to end and identify improvements that take your quality and customer satisfaction to new heights. Headquartered in Portland, OR, we provide solutions for the industry’s top commercial offset print, wide/grand format, packaging and label, signage, marketing, advertising, design, and other print providers. Alder President and G7® Certified Process Control Expert Bruce Bayne is also Founder of SpotOn! Press (, which develops software to support the printing and signage industry.

To learn how Alder can improve your print productivity and profitability, visit:

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PrintROCKS! Wins Big at Premier Print Awards

Posted Friday, June 16, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

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PPI is pleased to announce the 2017 Premier Print Award Winners who were submitted into the competition at no additional charge from their wins in the 2016 PrintROCKS! Awards. 64 submissions were awarded with 24 organizations recognized for their stellar work.

Our region’s showing only reinforces once again the tremendous work done by the greater print community in the six states we serve. Bonus for the entrants is that we saved them over $13,000 collectively in processing time, shipping and entry fees.

PLUS, PrintROCKS! 2016 won a Benny! Celebrate a decade of PrintROCKS! and enter today! It’ll be the best PrintROCKS! yet! We will celebrate these wins at the PrintROCKS party September 22nd in Tacoma, WA at the Hotel Murano. The Premier Print Awards GALA will be held in Chicago, IL on September 10. More information at

ALL 2017 PrintROCKS Entries awarded Honorable Mention through First Place will once again be submitted in 2018 to the Premier Print Awards for consideration at no additional charge. You too can get this 2+++ for 1 opportunity by entering PrintROCKS today! We’re open for entries and look forward to helping you promote your amazing work. Contact:

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Summer Selling Success: Part 1

Posted Monday, June 12, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

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Don’t miss Leslie Groene’s Special Event Hosted by PPI: Sales in the Summer: Seminar for Success in both Seattle and Portland.

1. Learn the Customer:

Every time you’re with a customer, make it a point to learn something personal and professional about them. Don’t allow your time together to be so focused on the immediate business opportunity that you miss out on additional, long-term information. It’s the long- term information you gain that will help you retain the customer, and the longer you have a customer, the more likely they are to refer others to you.When you’re gathering information about the person, look for items that are of common interest to you both. These are the items that will help you propel the business relationship to the next level.

2. A Perception is Worth a Thousand Words:

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a high end store to purchase a product and arrived a few minutes before it opened. The store signage indicated that it opened at 11:00am and as we waited out front I noticed that there was a company meeting being conducted inside. Well, as we waited outside with a couple more customers, they continued the meeting for another 5 minutes well past the posted opening time at which point we left to purchase our item from a competitor. This has also happened to me at a large national bank where I waited at the door past their posted opening time while they conducted an internal meeting. In both instances the employees inside could readily see that there were customers waiting outside.

I think you get my point….As sales/business professionals:

  • Are you “open” when your customers need you and want to buy something from you?
  • Are you more focused on the process than the customers’ needs?
  • Is your company more internally focused than externally focused?
  • Is your company more internally focused than externally focused?
  • Think about these concepts so that you can make your client expectations of you and your company a reality!

In today’s business climate, we all have numerous competitors who can provide service or products similar to ours. The difference lies in the confidence we provide the customer. Before you begin the next conversation, think “confidence” — not just in what you plan and say, but in how the other person will perceive you.

3. Opening the Sales Call:

Always start off a sales call by covering three things: 1. Gain a clear understanding of the amount of time the call will take. 2. Make sure the customer knows what the objective of the call is. 3. Relate the reason for the current sales call to the previous sales call you had with the person, or to information you may have sent them.Connecting the current sales call to something previous gives the customer the comfort of knowing you remember fully everything that may have already occurred. This also gives the customer the comfort of knowing you respect their time and that whatever is decided in this current meeting will be acted upon by you.

4. “Your Price is Not High Enough”:

OK, so you’ve never heard that line, but wouldn’t it be great to hear it? A price can never be too high –it’s only too high when we haven’t taken the time to find out what the true benefits are of the item we’re selling. Remember, there is no such thing as “too expensive.” There is only the belief that the potential gain from something is not worth the cost.This principle explains why one person might be willing to pay only $10,000 for a car, while the car might be worth $100,000 to another person. The difference? The perceived benefit.Next time you’re about to buy or sell something, think in terms of the benefits the customer can gain from using it and not the price you’re asking. When it comes right down to it, there is nothing that is too expensive — it only lacks sufficient benefits to warrant the price.

5. Celebrate Your Customer’s Anniversary:

For salespeople who have retained customers for a period of years, it’s special to recognize them and their relationship with you. It’s also a great way for your customers to realize how much you think of them and a great way for you to take the relationship to an even higher level through this personalized type of communication.

**Focus Point

73. Engage in competitive analysis, a constant requirement to keep your edge!**

Knowing what the competition is up to is invaluable. This means knowing about every benefit and feature that anyone is offering in the battle for sales. When you are formulating your sales and marketing plan, take the time to find out what the industry leaders are doing. Go to their web sites and review their promotional materials. See who their clients are and what they are doing for them. Your competitors are not going to send you their materials. But if you have a supportive network of friends, they can help keep you up to speed on what the competition is doing to get ahead and stay ahead. This process can be as simple as reading your industry trades and reviewing the competing ads.

Make sure your firm and your services get listed on all the “free” links and other resource information transmitted within your industry. Usually, there is a “hot” newsletter in the industry that most of the leading clients subscribe to and read; make sure that publication profiles your company and your services.

Even in these times of continual technological breakthroughs, most of the techniques for making sales are tried and true and do not change. As we know, the techniques that get us face-to-face with potential clients are the best ones, because that personal connection can drive their business to us.

In real estate, listing agents provide competitive property analysis and project potential sales prices, hoping to acquire a listing. Other brokers and agents send periodical newsletters with tips and recent sales prices in the neighborhood.

To expedite sales, many real estate offices now tape tours of their sellers’ properties or offer web-related access or services to find qualified buyers. In other industries, firms constantly try to “one up” the competition by developing clever marketing slogans that differentiate themselves through superior advertising ideas. This is the basis for consumer advertising campaigns that often spend millions of dollars to create product awareness and drive purchasing.

Industries that involve high finance, investments or legal services put more of a premium on knowledge, expertise and communication. A client will want the best counsel for every business contact or transaction. However, we still must know what the competition is up to – to counter any initiatives they try with our clients.

Become aware of the tone your competition is using to reach its potential client base. Learn as much as possible about using the best and most appropriate graphic design and advertising aesthetic to describe your services. This is especially vital for professionals such as lawyers, accountants and management consultants.

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