The Most Effective Health & Wellness Marketing Device of 2017 Isn’t Digital

In the recent book “The Revenge of Analogue,” the creative director at Mohawk Paper, Chris Harold, is quoted saying that for millennials, “digital devices are a commodity; a commodity delivery platform.” Does this surprise you?  Maybe not. Maybe you’ve heard that adults who grew up with digital devices find all kinds of “old-fashioned” things refreshing, such as reading actual books and living out of vans. But the desire for information on paper is stronger than simple nostalgia.

Harold goes on to explain that “print has an ability to organize information in a special way,” compared to the always-clickable internet with its “endless loop of information.” In other words, even for digital natives, the fact that a printed handout is the beginning and the end can be a benefit. This is especially true for health and wellness brands, particularly when that printed material contains highly relevant information delivered in a face-to-face interaction with a trusted professional. 

Believe it: Paper remains one of the most effective health and wellness marketing devices yet.

The appeal of paper as a marketing device

We’ve been delivering face-to-face interactions between health and wellness influencers and consumers for nearly 20 years, and overwhelmingly, influencers prefer hard copy, printed materials. In fact, their preference for print has only gotten stronger in the wake of the digital explosion. 

Members of PulseConnect influencer collective tell us that printed educational materials handed out during a face-to-face interaction add significantly more value to their patients and clients. 

Think about it.  What would you trust more? A list of keywords to Google or a brand website URL provided by a dietitian, or a printed educational piece that you and that same dietitian sat down and walked through together.

Three factors of paper marketing success

Three factors make this old-fashioned marketing device one of the best-performing in the health-and-wellness space in 2017.

  1. The information on it
    When it is beautifully designed and communicates just what its readers need (such as nutrition guidance and key brand messages), handouts, brochures, and tear pads are the widely preferred communication device—even for millennials.
  2. The person who shares it
    The information on the paper must come from a trusted source—and for health and wellness, that’s a professional. Without a doubt, consumers trust their own doctor, nurse, dietitian, or fitness professional more than any other source for guidance on which healthy products meet their needs.
  3. How it is shared
    It must be shared during a face-to-face interaction. Not via email or social media post. Not with a URL or a QR code. But with a professional looking the consumer in the eye and saying, “This is what can help you.” Targeted, impactful, and effective.

Yes, even in 2017, old school and analog solutions can be most effective when it comes to driving health and wellness sales. 

What the (other) experts say

Don’t just take our word for it.  

Neuromarketing firm TrueImpact did a study that found that paper-based messaging performs even better than digital ads. When asked to cite a brand they had just seen, recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to printed marketing materials (75%) versus a digital ad (44%). 

The numbers can only be higher when paired with a face-to-face recommendation from a trusted source. Pair it with your next digital execution, social media campaign, or PR effort and you’ve got the best of all worlds. Just don’t forget paper the next time you hear the term “marketing device.”