Old habits die hard: Reassessing paper versus digital
5 Dec

Old habits die hard: Reassessing paper versus digital

In the modern business landscape, “evolve or die” seems a generally accepted maxim. Technology marches us towards a fully digital future with increasing speed every year, and there’s little room in the market for companies who remain set in their ways, unable or unwilling to move with the times.

Few areas of the office have felt the touch of digitalisation more than documentation and imaging. Computers, tablets and even smartphones have sought to replace physical pen-and-paper processes and have quickly become the default tools for creating and sharing written information. There’s little substitute for the convenience offered by new innovations, but are these means of communicating actually as effective as their traditional counterparts?

Some research has been conducted into the paper versus digital debate, and the findings might surprise you.


The case for traditional workflows


Take a look around your office, the local library, even your preferred method of public transport – chances are you’ll see more people interacting with their mobile device or computer than with physical books or documents. But are those people fixated on their screen of choice having the same experience as others holding the real thing in their hand?

Not according to a recent survey by research firm Two Sides. Querying the reading habits of people in the U.S., they found that 88 per cent of respondents reported better understanding and retention of information when they read print on paper compared to a digital screen. Also, 81 per cent felt more relaxed when absorbing printed media, while 62 per cent indicated concern about their the effects of digital reading on their eye health.

The most definitive result from the Two Sides study is a relatively straightforward one, however – over 80 per cent of respondents simply preferred print over digital when they had the choice. For the satisfaction of your employees and customers, at least having the option of traditional paper reading materials seems to be important, for the time being anyway.


Print vs. digital in marketing


Speaking of customers, just how much of an impact can maintaining a physical media strategy have when it comes to marketing? Another study from the U.S. – this time carried out by the U.S. Post Office – may have some answers.

While the study revealed that digital advertising was better at catching the attention of consumers, in every other metric, physical material was found to be equally or more effective. This includes critical areas such as review time, engagement, confidence and desirability – all highly prized facets of successful marketing campaigns. The conclusion of the study summed the situation up like this:

“Digital ads may provide a cost-effective option for companies that are trying to get consumers’ attention to quickly understand a marketing message. However, companies that want to generate a more accurate memory of an ad, for better recall during a purchase, would be served best by physical ads.”


Does your organisation need to pick a side?


For many Australian businesses, this may be the most pressing question. The good news is that there is room for both digital and printed content in your document and imaging strategy, and modern printers and multifunction devices are well equipped to service both mediums.

When you’re assessing your marketing options for a future campaign, it’s worth paying attention to the enduring power of physical media. Make your printed materials as vibrant and attention-grabbing as they can be – speak to Fuji Xerox about upgrading your office equipment today. 





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About nextwork

The next generation of work opens the door to new opportunities and challenges. The workplace of tomorrow will be a transformed place where greater mobility, increased innovation, collaboration and employee flexibility will be key drivers of change. At Fuji Xerox Australia we help businesses integrate data, documents and business processes and turn tomorrow’s documents into knowledge. Nextwork explores the dawn of the ‘new working world’ and how we can successfully harness the opportunities and mitigate the challenges of tomorrow.

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