One of the great ironies of the internet age is the rebirth of hardcopy as a value-adding business tool, particularly in the promotional area. Even a core printing option like business card printing has re-emerged as both a fashion statement and a valuable marketing tool for individuals and businesses. This “reincarnation” of hardcopy is actually a direct result of the new personalized business culture.
The New Economy, which is taking over global business and markets on a massive scale, is a “people” economy. The new businesses are highly focused business units which drive their business on a truly B2B basis. They need targeted, specialized promotional options. They also need high value, personalized hard copy products for their marketing.
The fact is that this economy is very different from the old business models. New Economy businesses may be physically smaller in terms of staff, but they do very big dollar value business in terms of productivity. This is an incredibly competitive business environment. Hard sell for the New Economy business is often a direct sales pitch.
Demand for quality information is also high. That’s where hard copy comes in to the picture on multiple levels. Hard copy presentation is highly effective in an unexpected way- It provides the same materials as can be provided online, but in a soft-sell form. It’s not as oppressive (or as time consuming) as the “watch this presentation/ video/ epic of statistics” routine.
A lot of people prefer to receive information which they can check and evaluate on their own terms. One of the reasons commercial booklet printing has suddenly returned to life as a working sales option is because the new forms of hardcopy act as “user manuals” for clients. The information can be set out in the required level of depth and detail, and does a lot of the sales work.
The hardcopy advantage- Presentation options
Another characteristic of hard copy is that it can be extremely well presented. That’s a major asset for this form of sales pitch. Not only is the client looking at the information at their own preferred speed and level of interest, they’re receiving messages from the presentation about quality of products. Modern printers can literally achieve miracles in presentation these days. Even a basic brochure can be a work of art, and much more importantly, a commercially appealing work of art.
This is the “prospectus effect”. A prospectus is one of the tougher, more demanding forms of hard copy document. If you’ve had a look at some of the prospectuses coming on the market recently, you’ll have noticed that the information, graphic and visual presentation values of these documents are extremely high.
Prospectuses are designed to attract investors, to the tune of millions of dollars. There’s nothing in them which can’t be duplicated online or in other media, but these are still the preferred sales and media option for stock floats. People have to think about investments, the same way they have to think about doing business. The hardcopy approach allows them to think and make decisions.
One other point- New Economy businesses always choose the most cost-effective options for their sales methods, and they’re the main force behind the new hardcopy culture. If you’re thinking about promotions, think about hardcopy.