Teenagers are not going to drop their smartphones. Okay, they drop them all the time, but metaphorically speaking, digital is here to stay. Though they have migrated from Facebook to Instagram and Snap (and other social networks the over 25 crowds may not know), “kids” will always be plugged into the latest technology, much to their parents chagrin. The good news for older folks (the rest of us) concerned about youth and digital attachment is growing more apparent in studies and in the hallways of schools and malls everywhere. Teens LOVE print!
They adore buying printed representations of their favorite things from promotional items from major gaming companies, to celebrity lithographs, to photo albums filled with their own memories.
Teenagers are consumers of real-life experience, quickly learning that cyberspace is empty when all you want is your favorite band to sign the concert t-shirt you will never, ever lose. When it comes to loving all things printed, there is no generation gap and even the youngest among us are embracing their printed treasures.
4 Teens Tell Us What They Love About Print:
- “Printed citations and personalized plaques made my Eagle Scout Court of Honor complete. I had a table covered in the coolest letters with official stationery from dignitaries locally and in Washington. My family and friends were passing them around during the reception and now my walls are decorated in BSA official printed awards. I have never been to a Court of Honor that was JUST Instagram pictures and a reception with no physical awards or letters. That would be boring and kind of sad.” – Dan, 18, New York
- “I love print because I might delete something I love by accident, but I won’t delete my pin with the Imagine Dragons art printed on it. That’s on my backpack.” – Abby, 13, Long Island, New York
- “Since, like a lot of my friends now, I have an instant camera, I print a bunch of pictures. They can have a vintage look which I would actually attempt to recreate when I feel like making art in a sketchbook or with online drawing apps. Print makes me look like a bomb*** artist!” – Noemi, 16, Kansas
- “I am not throwing away my One Direction shirt from the concert I went to because it’s more than a screenshot. I bought it AT the concert. If it was on my phone, then I wouldn’t think twice about deleting it because I’m not into the band anymore (and they have separated). BUT, there is something about having a printed thing. It’s there. It’s with me. I am able to hold a physical thing I got from the concert when I was 13 and I just don’t want to throw it away.” – Peg, 16, New York
Print demand is strong, yet there is so much emphasis on digital marketing and it only leads to digital fatigue. Focusing only on digital marketing channels is a mistake and people hoping to capture and maintain attention risk loss. The convenient interactions that our smartphones and laptops provide through apps and email lack the ability to keep our attention. That is a reality for all of us, not just teenagers. Those who expect attention to transfer equally online once they strike print from marketing strategy will learn that human beings don’t work that way. The two channels serve all of us, young and “old”, in varied ways…and we want both.
The UK Telegraph is an example that demonstrates the widespread love of print, with nearly two-thirds of its print audience reading the paper daily.
According to Professor of Communication, Dr. Neil Thurman, “‘Time spent’ is the magic metric. News brands still get overwhelming attention from print channels and one study in the UK in 2016 revealed that the total number of minutes spent reading aggregated British print was more than digital platforms. It was an 86 percent majority for print.” The same UK study revealed that the time spent with several news brands that converted to solely online recorded an 81 percent fall in ‘time spent’ on brand.
The world’s leading digital print, design and marketing franchise has long predicted the endurance of print and with good reason. Minuteman Press International franchise owners are trained and equipped to print what crowds of all ages demand and they print on just about anything you can imagine. As marketing services providers who can claim, “We Are the Modern Printing Industry” through thousands of growing B2B clients, globally, Minuteman Press franchisees and representatives are confident that options to imprint messages and memories are only set to expand, especially with younger generations’ growing enthusiasm. “The printed page provides a tactile sensation that resonates with human beings, regardless of age. The actual legitimacy of the printed page will likely never be replaced by its virtual counterparts. I believe this is evident when the virtual document is so important that the user decides, ‘I should print it for later reference’. Business growth and lasting memories all count upon our products and services,” according to Regional Vice President, Rich Hornberger.
Since teenagers are equally affected, there is more at stake for businesses hoping to get their attention solely through digital channels. They join the rest of us by literally not giving unprinted brands the time of day. Everyone loses if their presses stop running. Dr. Thurman confirms this. “We see a very different picture in terms of ‘time spent’. Reader figures don’t change much if a publisher converts to online-only, but ‘readership time spent’ does,” he added.