Scarbutts Printers
Scarbutts Printers

What’s in store for 2024?

As we roll out of 2023 and into 2024, technology seems to be leading the way, from AI (we delved into that in our last article) to cookies, and everything in between, but this technology is not only progressing digitally, it’s opening doors and creating opportunities for printed media to take back it’s fair share of the advertising and marketing pie.

Do you remember when digital advertising was the new kid on the block or maybe you have only ever known it to be part of the marketing mix.  You could specify who you wanted to reach based on their postcode, what TV shows they liked to watch, what they had for dinner that day, their middle name, and the length of their index finger, (OK maybe the last 3 are a bit far-fetched) but the targeting was so precise you could pretty much guarantee to get in front of the audience you wanted to.  Fast forward a decade or so and it turns out that most people like to watch Big Brother but not actually take part and as quickly as you can say the word ‘target audience’ platforms are removing the middle rings from the target and rather than aiming for the bullseye we’re aiming for somewhere around the edges.

What has all this got to do with the future of print?

Well, when digital started to take over, the cost per sale was pretty low and marketing funds for print started to decline in favour of digital advertising as it was seen as a much better ROI (return on investment).  In 2023, Adspend was 4x that of 10 years ago, but are we still getting the same ROI?  Drawing on publicly available data from Lumen and TV Vision, JIC Mail reported that the cost per minute of attention for Door Drops are twice as attention efficient as Display, with all mail channels being far more cost-efficient [1].  Taking this into consideration, the above-mentioned broadening of the target area and the fact that in 2024 Google is disabling 3rd party cookies, making it even harder to track people across the web, there’s plenty of evidence that would say we’re not going to be able to prove ROI as well as we have been and that was one of the big arguments against print.  So, are we seeing a levelling of the playing field between digital and print advertising?

There is more to consider, such as the trust people give to different platforms. Printed, newspaper, magazine and direct mail scored higher for trust in advertising among consumers in the United Kingdom[2] than online, mobile, and social media advertising. Over 75 % of people trust print, TV and mail ads more when making a purchasing decision compared to 61% for search engine ads and just 43% for social media ads.[3]

3rd party cookies

With the removal of 3rd party cookies from Google comes more opportunities for print, as adverts will no longer be able to chase you around the internet, there will be a need for data, good data, and a good CRM system. A combined digital and printed approach will ensure that people continue to get multiple exposures to your brand and with better data, you can provide personalised marketing activity digitally and in print.  With digital print presses providing a finish as good as traditional litho printing but with the added capability of being able to personalise each print, the opportunity to create clever campaigns that surprise and delight the recipient at their home or desk is exciting. With connected technology (such as QR codes) you can also ensure that printed media ROI is tracked.


Sustainability also remains a key topic for the year ahead and as Unifida demonstrated with a case study that ploughing more into digital advertising meant the kg CO2 per sale was more than the printed direct marketing activity[4] there’s a strong argument that you could be wasting resources with less targeted digital marketing activity.


The case for running Digital and Print in sync has never been stronger, and companies that put their faith in a more holistic solution will see a better ROI than ever before.

At Scarbutts we have a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to print, and we are ready to help propel your business into 2024 and beyond. We don’t just put ink on paper, we inspire, innovate, and challenge. The future of print is here.

Read about packaging and label trends for 2024 from our sister company Delga Press here.





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