The growth of technology and the internet has forced the hand of many marketers to look for new and innovative ways to communicate and build a relationship with their audience. You need only look at the rapid rise (and continued growth) of Facebook and Twitter as a communication tool to realise just how the landscape has changed. But is the digital platform the best way to get in touch, and stay connected, with your parents, either prospective or current? The answer depends on the message you want to send, and who you are communicating with. Of course, there are pros and cons of both print and digital, so to help you get a better understanding of where you should focus your efforts let’s review the key benefits of each.
Benefits of Print Media
- They’re tangible – they provide parents with a physical reminder of your school, becoming a brand asset.
- They stand out – as digital mediums begin to dominate the marketing landscape, physical communication becomes something of a rarity, and parents are more likely to pay attention.
- They are more engaging – parents may not fully digest digital messages, but rather briefly scan them. In the digital world there is a sense of urgency that can’t be avoided. Printed communications can be more engaging as they give readers a chance to slow down and absorb more information.
Benefits of Digital Media
- They’re cost effective – Digital communications such as emails or hyperlinks can be shared over and over, and there are no reproduction costs.
- Digital communications are accessed anywhere at anytime – parents may be overseas, in transit, or even at work and they can still view your message.
- It’s interactive and dynamic – a major advantage digital has over print is it’s ability to share other information. Photos, videos, and documents can all be shared through a single email or website, thereby widening your message’s scope.
- You can track reader activity – analytics programs provide an opportunity to see what your parents are reading, allowing you to tailor future messages.
Even though both offer strong benefits, are they mutually exclusive? A happy medium (pun intended) would be to combine both communication tools … it all comes down to the intended audience, the purpose of your message and the desired outcomes.
A weekly newsletter sent out to current parents in a print medium would become extremely costly, especially for larger schools. The clear answer here is a digital version, either via email or through the schools website. The best newsletters also link to a printable version so as not to alienate readers who still enjoy hardcopy publications.
If you’re talking to past parents and students, a printed publication may be more favourable, as it provides a physical reminder of their relationship with your school. It is also something that is more likely to be held on to and kept around the home, which has the chance to be viewed by guests. In this way, the publication acts as a brand ambassador for your school. To leverage the benefits of the digital medium, look at incorporating QR codes, images that are scanned by smartphones which link to videos or websites.
Effective communication is about personalisation, so get to know what your parents enjoy and what they respond to. Understand how they like to be communicated to.
Resources to help you decide whether print or digital is the best option for your next communication
- Here are some blogs on digital marketing which might also be of interest to you
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This blog was written by Brock Ashton
When he isn't writing blogs or providing marketing communications support to clients, Brock spends his time reading fiction novels or chasing oval shaped footballs around a paddock. You may occasionally find him in your local Japanese restaurant, fuelling his passion for unique cuisine and culture.