Marketers Utilize Technology to Integrate Print and Digital Strategies

Marketers Utilize Technology to Integrate Print and Digital Strategies

The report reveals that 32% of marketers use AI, and 31% plan to use the technology to support print marketing.

A study released by R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company (RRD) reveals that 91% of marketers with print marketing programs are embracing strategic integration of print and digital channels in 2024. Of those, 51% describe their print and digital marketing channels as “closely integrated and tightly coordinated.” The report shows that marketers manifest this approach by using technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI), QR codes, and web-to-print to bridge the gap between print and digital experiences.

The Print Impact Report, the company’s latest annual printing industry report, compares how 300+ marketing decision-makers plan, execute, and adjust their strategies and integrate technologies into print marketing campaigns.

The Print Impact Report found that marketers are embracing technology to support their print campaigns, with 31% planning to use AI to support their print marketing efforts and 32% already using the technology. The study also found that 39% of marketers have adopted web-to-print technology, citing the following main advantages: reduced costs through on-demand printing (50%), personalization and customization of the message (37%), improved efficiencies and streamlined workflow (36%) and enhanced brand consistency (31%). Additionally, 50% of marketers used QR codes in their print marketing and expect that to continue.

“Modern marketers are prioritizing innovation to uphold print’s relevance and effectiveness as a tool within their omnichannel arsenals,” said Margo Yohner, Senior Vice President of Growth, Commercial Print, RRD. “Companies are not simply abandoning print; they’re actively seeking ways to optimize its value.”

Print’s relationship status with digital isn’t complicated

The data shows that marketers strongly agree that print can effectively complement digital efforts by reinforcing digital messaging and driving traffic to online channels. The report found that a “digital primary, print secondary” combination is seen as the most effective approach by marketers (48%), further highlighting the value of print in supporting digital efforts.

Additionally, the report highlights that 94% of marketers are using print marketing to overcome digital fatigue; the top three strategies are personalizing print materials for targeted messaging (62%), integrating print with digital campaigns for cross-channel engagement (46%), and leveraging print for brand storytelling and establishing credibility (41%).

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“Print complements digital rather than competing with it. With the ongoing growth of digital marketing, print effectively enhances digital channels,” said Stefanie Cortes, Director of Strategic Analysis, Direct Marketing Group, RRD. “By embracing new technology, marketers can evolve the print-digital connection from isolated approaches to integrated ones and deliver highly impactful results.”

First-party data is the fuel powering personalized print campaigns

RRD’s report confirmed that marketers are looking to connect with audiences on a deeper level, with more than two-thirds (68%) of organizations reporting that they are currently personalizing their print communications.

Amid a crowded digital environment and shifting data regulations, organizations have prioritized how they obtain and utilize first-party data. For marketers working with a print vendor to personalize their communications, two-thirds of these marketers (66%) cite customer feedback as one of their primary sources for first-party data, with customer demographics (59%), email engagement (57%), buying history (51%), and location data (48%) serving as additional sources.