TKs Korner Masthead

November 2023


Why Print?

(Especially During a Down Market)




Keep Your Brand in Front of Your Audience

Consumers still have money to spend, even if they are being more selective. Your dollars spent are apt to hit your target audience powerfully if you’re the one sending a message that you are a Brand that is strong, with something to offer. Staying out front gives your clients reasons to buy your products and services — compared to others messages with too many options to consider to gain and then retain a consumers attention.


Learn more from these issues of TK’s Korner:

22 Immutable Laws of Branding

Branding Warfare



Branding Strategy Insiders point out “...the brands that continue to build their equity in the recession will be best placed to enjoy the fruits of their labor when the economy inevitably returns to growth.”


The Marketing of Higher Education that indicated the vast majority of executives agree that seeing a company continue to market in a down economy makes them feel more positive about the company, and keeps those companies top-of-mind when considering purchase decisions.



A Yankelovich/Harris study that indicated the vast majority of executives agree that seeing a company continue to market in a down economy makes them feel more positive about the company, and keeps those companies top-of-mind when considering purchase decisions.


McGraw-Hill Research’s Laboratory of Advertising Performance analyzed the performance of 600 business-to-business marketers and found that those maintaining or increasing their advertising budgets during a recession averaged sales growth of 275% over the preceding five years.


An American Business Press study revealed that sales and profits could be maintained and increased in recession years and in the years immediately following by those who are willing to maintain an aggressive marketing posture while others become non-participants.


A Harvard Business Review report of 200 companies found that sales increases came from companies that advertised the most during the recessionary year.



Advertising During a Recession, by Alex Biel and Stephen King states many reasons to do so, but I am including just a few that make the point.


During a national recession everyone gets hurt; but some sectors feel the heat more than others. Conversely, during a period of expansion some markets reap greater benefits.


A more useful, empirically determined definition of recession is one which relates annual growth at one point in time to the longer term growth trend of a specific market. The Center for Research & Development, in collaboration with the Strategic Planning Institute, has used this market-specific concept of recession to analyse consumer businesses in the Profit Impact of Market Strategy (PIMS) database. The PIMS database included, at the time of this analysis, 749 consumer businesses, with a minimum of four years'data covering those businesses and the markets in which they participate.


The PIMS database is the only source that contains both marketing data and financial information for the same consumer-based businesses.




For our purposes, a specific market is considered to be in recession when short-term growth lags long-term growth by at least four percentage points. On the other hand, when a market exceeds its long-term growth rate by more than four percentage points, we can say that it is in a period of expansion. Using this definition, it is possible to describe how consumer businesses fare under different market conditions.




What is the relationship of changes in advertising spending to changes in return on investment? To answer this question, we looked at the specific spending policies employed by the businesses in the database.


Of the 339 observations of the businesses that experienced recessionary periods, one-third cut their spending on advertising by an average of 11%, while two-thirds actually spent at a higher rate than before.


Of those businesses raising their advertising investment, the majority '60%' limited their increase to no more than 20% more than they had previously been spending. The average business in this group increased spending by 10%. However, the other 40% of those businesses that raised their expenditures made substantial increases ranging from 20% to 100%, and averaging 49%.


Table 1 shows how changes in return on investment relate to these changes in spending. Clearly, businesses suffer a reduction in return on investment whether spending is cut or increased during a recession. Indeed, businesses yielding to the natural inclination to cut spending in an effort to increase profits in a recession find that it doesn't work. These businesses fared no better in terms of return on investment than those which modestly increased their ad spending.


... those advertisers who increase spending 'whether modestly or aggressively' achieve greater market share gains than those who cut their advertising investment. This, in turn, puts them in a better position to increase profits after the recession.




... advertising spending and return on investment are linked 'but only indirectly. Advertising directly affects brand "salience"': it makes the advertised brand more top-of-mind among prospects. It also tends to amplify the relative perceived quality of the brand, which in turn increases the brand's perceived value for money.




... those who reduced their budgets during recession attained much lower share gains than their more aggressive counterparts. On the other hand, marketers which increased spending were able to realise significant market share gains.


... Marketers that decrease their spending during an expansion of the market lose share, albeit slightly; on average, they drop one-tenth of a share point. Those who increase their spending by upwards of 20% as their market expands increase average share, but by only half a percentage point. In other words, the possibility of gaining share through increasing advertising appears to be greater when the total market is soft.




In our earlier study of consumer businesses, we found a clear relationship between share of market and return on investment. In fact, this general relationship is not limited to firms marketing to the consumer; it is a robust, well-documented general principle that seems to occur in all markets.


... These data suggest that the advertiser who is able to build market share is likely to enjoy a better return on invested capital than is the marketer with a lower market share.




... In other words, cutting advertising spend to increase short-term profits doesn't seem to work.


More importantly, the data also reveal that a moderate increase in advertising in a soft market can improve share. There is a substantial body of evidence to show that a larger share of the market generally leads to higher return on investment.


For the aggressive marketer, the data suggest that a more ambitious increase in expenditure, although reducing short-term profit, can take advantage of the opportunity afforded by a recession to increase market share even further.


The PIMS data indicate that consumer marketers increasing their spending by an average of 48% during a recession win virtually double the share gains of those who increase their expenditures more modestly...


From Options and Opportunities for Consumer Businesses: Advertising During a Recession, Alexander L. Biel and Stephen King.


© The WPP Center for Research & Development, October 1990


Marketers want results.

Every printed piece is done for a reason, to accomplish a means to an end. The options are increasing as technology creates new avenues of communication and the ability to integrate them.


Print has been the world’s NUMBER ONE communications medium for so long we tend to forget its impact and power.


TKs Top 10 Ways Printing Helps You Prosper

(And why it should be in your next campaign...)


1. PRINT is for Keeps


Electronic content comes and goes. It’s easily deleted, never being viewed or read. When it’s gone, your marketing initiative disappears with it. People love to order online, but typically prefer to view products in a printed format vs. on a computer screen.


Print on the other hand is there for the long run. Think about magazine pass-along rates, that range as high as two to three people per issue, giving advertisers double and triple bonuses on their marketing investments.


Millennials prefer to get all their information online.


92% of college students prefer reading in print over any form of electronic media.


70% of those surveyed prefer direct mail over email for unsolicited marketing pitches.


40% seniors consider college used brochures & cell phone calls


The older generation typically prefers print. They tend not to feel as comfortable using computers, disks etc. Loading and locating pertinent information takes time and energy vs. you providing them a printed marketing piece. This is more of a well-known medium, which can be especially important regarding donations, as they typically are more established with discretionary income.


In action, the durability of print adds a positive impact. It says, ‘Your message is significant. You cared enough to print it on paper. You’re authentic rather than virtual and you’ll be there when they need you.’



2. PRINT is Portable


Don’t make the fatal oversight to a marketing campaign, a product launch or a branding initiative that is trying to connect with people, by not using print. People trust print. They feel comfortable using it. Print materials can be carried anywhere, at any time. You can take it while traveling on a plane, train, or to the beach, in bed or a bath. There’s no need to boot up, or power down.



3. PRINT Drives a Higher ROI


It’s particularly persuasive as direct mail because people gravitate toward it. A survey by the U.S. Postal Service found that 85% of mail is either read or visually scanned by recipients.


A Vertis Study found:


• 72% of adults replied to direct mail containing a "Buy one, get one free" offer.

• 63% of adults responded to direct mail containing a discount coupon.


Direct mail is also a great way to expand business relationships and keep customers loyal. A study by The Rochester Institute of Technology Printing Industry Center found:


• 67% of respondents like getting mail about new products from companies they already do business with.

Direct Mail, Raising Responses



4. PRINT is Beautiful


Print offers incredible branding. Nothing makes a brand more recognized than a beautiful ad in a glossy magazine. A well-designed ad is an engaging experience for readers. According to a recent MRI/Nest Step poll, 55 percent of teens say they pay a lot of attention to print ads.


Advanced printing techniques make for a more appealing and compelling final piece. Photos seem to jump off the page. Special effects draw the eye to the printed content.


A new generation of papers and substrates make readers want to touch and feel your message. The beauty of print will rub off on your product or service, giving it a special appeal of its own and an extra tangible dimension that no electronic media can.


Read these previous issues of TK’s Korner:

Picking the Right Paper and Substrate

Creative Coating Techniques



5. PRINT Plays Well with Others


Print doesn’t have to be the only medium you use, every medium connects with a different target audience in different ways.


Print enhances the impact of all those media by providing your target audience with an extra dimension. The World Wide Web provides a real time interactive environment, but so does the telephone and TV. Print is friendly, warm; inviting and one can’t very well be ignored because they’re holding it right in their hands!


Use a printed direct mail campaign to:

• Draw prospects and customers to a personalized web site

• Follow up with a printed thank-you card

• Show them a next generation upgrade

• Give them an incentive to ‘Buy now’ with a special offer can be a real closer


Research by the Retail Advertising & Marketing Association found that most customers were motivated to begin an online search after viewing ads:

• In a magazine — 47.2%

• In a newspaper — 42.3%

• By reading articles — 43.7%


According to an American Business Media Study:

B-to-B magazines were viewed by prospects as trustworthy and objective.

Websites were where they received timely information.

Tradeshows were viewed as the place for interactions and to improve their awareness of alternatives.

Successful marketers are using all three outlets to maximize their ROI’s.


Read this issue of TK’s Korner: Marketing



6. PRINT is Sought by Buyers


Consumers seek print when they are ready to buy. That’s a fact supported by a study done by The Direct Marketing Association.


Scoring the primary channels for generating orders:

• 60% from printed Catalogs

• 24% inspired by Retail outlets

• 9% via the Internet


Percent of sales by channels also showed prints pulling power:

• 42% — Printed Catalogs

• 20% — Retail

• 26% — Websites

• 12% — Other channels



7. PRINT is Credible


Print still excites people. The printed word is still perceived as more credible to many people than anything on the web. It goes to the old adage, “If someone invested enough to print and mail it, it must be important.” It’s amazing how different the perception is of the print versus online channel when it comes to editorial contribution.


The phrase, “Get it down on paper” has never been more meaningful. Having words and images that you can review, hold in your hand, show to others and keep in a safe place provides a degree of reassurance that no ‘bit-and-byte’ medium can match.


People love the speed and scope of the Internet, but the www’s fleeting nature makes them wonder, “Am I getting the fast shuffle here?” and “What’s all this contradictory information?” Our ink-on paper medium is believable because print is real, timeless and focused.


An increasing number of marketers are leveraging the high credibility of print by using custom publications to get their messages out and absorbed. Researchers found that 66% of people surveyed read custom publications and 80% agree that they contain useful information.


Print sways trendsetters. “Influentials” (those who sway other consumers) are themselves influenced by print. Check out this influence ranking, from the MRI Survey of the American Consumer:

• Magazines — 61%

• In-store — 58%

• TV — 55%

• Newspaper — 53%

• Radio — 44%

• Free samples — 39%

• E-mail — 26%


According to “Small Business Goals, Challenges, and Marketing Tactics by Heidi Tolliver-Walker,


Where are small business putting those dollars? Here are the top 7 channels they use:


• 77.4% Social media

• 70.0% Direct mail

• 54.8% Email

• 50.0% Local/event marketing

• 35.7% Paid search/Google Ads

• 31.3% Organic search/SEO

• 30.0% Newspaper/local publications


These channels are increasingly being used in combination. More than 80% of small businesses indicate they’re using wo or more channels in their marketing. Nearly 60% are using three or more.


Customers still need to know what questions to ask... The web is where we go to get answers, but print is where we go to ask questions. The print vehicle is still the best medium on the planet for thinking outside the box and asking yourself tough questions based on what you read — its lean back versus lean forward. If you want to challenge your customers, print is a viable option.



8. PRINT Puts You in Control


What happens when we add print to the equation? Send prospects a personalized mailing that introduces the caller and lets them tell you the best time to call. Now you’re putting the prospect in the control of the situation. You are using Permission Selling as a technique here.


There are no more interruptions at dinner. Just a positive flow of information between the marketer and the consumer. The bond starts to get stronger, The relationship grows. The sale becomes a natural progression of the power of print rather than a rude intrusion.


Telemarketing is the crudest form of cold calling and with the growth of ‘Do-Not-Call’ lists; its effectiveness has sunk to an all-time low. In fact, a Time Magazine poll ranked telemarketing number four on the list of the worst ideas of the 20th Century

(Compare that to My TOP 10 list!)



9. PRINT is Personal


Put each prospect and customers name up in lights, literally. A message to them in clouds (or other unique technique), include a photo or a specific product in which they expressed interest. Print can do all that and more because print takes marketing personally.


Using new Variable Data Printing (VDP) and one-to-one messaging techniques, you can personalize each and every piece of your print campaign, right down to the specific photos you use and every word of your pitch. Did someone say relationship building?


In an Interquest report, response rates for customized color direct mail campaigns ranged from 6% to as high as 75%.

On average, response rates were 5.6 times HIGHER for customized color versions vs. simple mail merge applications.


The more you individualize print, the more individuals you’ll inspire. It’s like saying your customers name in a crowded room; you’ll grab their attention — rather than just the same static message to everyone in hopes of hitting someone.


Read my related article Digital Printing-Variable Data or Business Development



10. PRINT is Everywhere


A survey by the magazine Graphic Design USA, found that:


• 9 out of 10 designers polled have worked in print during the past year, 76% used print exclusively or projects were comprised of a substantial print component, and 71% of their total work hours were devoted to print driven projects.


Event marketing wouldn’t be possible without print. Programs, posters, signage of all kinds, special commemorative publications — print is on the scene. Ball games, motor sports venues, concerts, shows, fairs, museums, galleries and rallies... Wherever a crowd gathers, print can provide a platform for marketers and a fresh perspective for fans.


We’re used to being surrounded by print. We’re comfortable with it. We want more. These are the vital signs of a medium that’s vibrant and valuable. That medium is PRINT.


Portions of this issue were obtained from:


The Print Council — A business institute that explores the persuasive power of print


The Rochester Institute of Technology


Sappi’s book “Life With Print"


Retail Advertising & Marketing Association


“Top 10 Reasons Print Should Remain a Vital Part of your Marketing Mix” by David Mammano, President and Founder of The Next Step Magazine.


“Why are Marketers Blind to the Power of Print?” by Joe Pulizzi, Founder at Content Marketing Institute. Author of Epic Content Marketing.


Another article that reinforces the use of print during down times:


The Lenskold Group — Innovating the path to marketing profitability..."Six Approaches to Spend or Cut Marketing in Tight Economies" by Jim Lenskold.

In this article, there are six strategic approaches that a company can pursue in tough times to generate the best long-term financial outcomes:


Win Share & Grow -

...“If you have not been measuring and managing Your ROI, you will unfortunately be managing just spending levels in hopes of winning the right customers, without good insight into..”


Spend Smart & Grow -

...“Companies that have insights into customer buying behaviors, segment value, and marketing ROI will do much better with this approach. It is perhaps the most ideal opportunity to...”


Minimize Spend but Hold Share -

...“If your competitors choose to hold or increase spending first, your increase in spending can be justified to executives with...”


Cut Marketing & Invest Elsewhere -

...“Instead of advertising brands and communicating messages that may not make a lasting impression or drive immediate purchase behaviors, you invest in customer relationships, additional service, and added...”


Cut Cautiously & Allocate Smart -

...“Try to keep or add measurements that help assess and guide marketing effectiveness. Companies that can spend the smartest will...”


Cut Drastically & Wish for the Best -

...“If there is any flexibility with the remaining budget, consider running test markets to determine and possibly demonstrate that reasonable short term returns can be generated to...”



Before we go...

If you have a production issue not discussed above that you would like me to address, or a project that needs to be looked at, please give me a call or send me an email.


As always, I will do whatever it takes to ensure you receive the best value for every marketing dollar you invest.


Connect with me on LinkedIn


You can also check out my profile, join my network and view more client comments on LinkedIn at:


Referrals are greatly appreciated. If you know someone I can help, or who might like to receive TK's Korner, please let me know.

Take care and have a great day!


Tom Kubinski

Printing Consultant Who Helps You Make Good Impressions
Direct: 612-278-1568
Cell: 612-760-3700


Our Work

Shapco has done it all — showstopping display pieces, innovative packaging, award-winning art books, direct mailers that get results, you name it — and our team is always ready for a new challenge.


Explore our portfolio and start envisioning what we can do for you.

Take a Virtual Tour of Shapco and visit our Website for more information.


Virtual Tour: Shapco Printing Inc.


Website: Shapco - Minnesota's Most Awarded Offset & Digital Printer


Our Services: Advertising Specialties, Large Format, Full Service Mailing, Fulfillment / Inventory Management, e Commerce Portal, Offset Printing, Digital Printing, Packaging, Kitting etc.


Our Work: Advertising Specialties, Books, Packaging, Digital, Large Format, Booklets, Brochures, UV Offset, Direct Mail, Specialties, Menus and a whole lot more


Why Shapco: "If You Dream It, Shapco Can Print It. What can Shapco do for you?"



Our Work

Shapco has done it all — showstopping display pieces, innovative packaging, award-winning art books, direct mailers that get results, you name it — and our team is always ready for a new challenge.


Explore our portfolio and start envisioning what we can do for you.

Take a Virtual Tour of Shapco and visit our Website for more information.


Virtual Tour: Shapco Printing Inc.


Website: Shapco - Minnesota's Most Awarded Offset & Digital Printer


Our Services: Advertising Specialties, Large Format, Full Service Mailing, Fulfillment / Inventory Management, e Commerce Portal, Offset Printing, Digital Printing, Packaging, Kitting etc.


Our Work: Advertising Specialties, Books, Packaging, Digital, Large Format, Booklets, Brochures, UV Offset, Direct Mail, Specialties, Menus and a whole lot more


Why Shapco: "If You Dream It, Shapco Can Print It. What can Shapco do for you?"



Did you miss an issue of TK's Korner? Click below to view!

Branding - 22 Laws Of
Brand Warfare
Clear Dry Ink
Creative Coatings Techniques
Desktop Techniques
Digital Printing - Variable Data or Business Development
Direct Mail Raise Response, Lower Costs
FSC Certification
In House Mailing Capabilities
Ink Tour—Everything you wanted to know
Marketing More Effectively
Paper Mill Tour - Coated
Paper Mill Tour - Uncoated
Picking the Right Paper and Substrate
PDF Formats
PDF Info & Quark vs. InDesign
PODi - Digital Print Success Story
Postal Changes, Mailing Requirements & Rates
Press Check Tips
PURL - Avoid Dog House Campaign
QR Codes
Save Disk Space
Social Media -- The Basics
Social Media vs. Print
Top File Issues
UV Burn
Ways to Save Money
What Sets Shapco Apart?
Why Print in a Down Market?
Why Work With TK?



Tom Kubinski
Printing Consultant
Direct: 612-278-1568
Fax: 612-334-5879
Cell: 612-760-3700
1109 Zane Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN. 55422
Phone: 612-375-1150
Fax: 612-334-5879
Toll Free: 1-800-230-2828

Did you miss an issue
of TK's Korner?
Click to view!