We ran a session at the 2019 Navitas Business Partners Conference which asked: “What’s the Role for Brochures in this Digital Age?”
Ahead of the session we surveyed a wide range of recruiters and marketers, and asked a simple but provocative question:
“Could you do your job and succeed without printed collateral?”
We were a little bit surprised by the response, which was that brochures, whilst obviously not their only tool, were nevertheless indispensable.
In fact, the picture above is what a recruiter looks like when their brochures don’t arrive in time for event!
What They Said
It’s impossible. [In South America] having a hard copy of our flyers/marketing material is much more effective than not having anything at all, or just have e-versions available.
Printed brochures are required for students in my markets (Sub-Continent). Student feel they have a take away to home and read more about us. Though this got less use but they feel honoured when they get printed brochure/flyer. It is necessary in fairs to give them something to take away. Agents/counsellors also want to give brochures to student when they apply/to convert.
My feeling is that if we overly embraced digital, the first thing that would happen, would be agents saying they haven’t got the materials to promote us effectively and after much debate they’d be reintroduced 6 months later.
At an event [in Africa] it is very important that we have printed brochures/flyers with us. Once we engage in a discussion with a potential student, we usually make sure they leave with some material which provides more information that will compel them to put in an application. Also, not having brochures/flyers at an event makes our stands less attractive as that is what attracts students to approach initially (the banner definitely help too!)
Do you remember when [X Institution] decided no brochures – disaster! What happened the next year? – brochures came back…..
If there weren’t any brochures/flyers, I could see a lot more phone calls & emails wanting to confirm information with no assured sources, which could get skeptical or confusing quite fast of the information passing from one to another.
If we don’t have printed flyers or brochures, we can say that we don’t exist. It should be a combination of printed brochures and website. We need to have both.
As much as digital technology has evolved – I do feel slightly handicapped without hardcopy brochures/flyers at events.
Brochures and flyers are still important in [South East Asia] market, the parent will still ask for it as a source of references. We tried to promote QR code before but unfortunately the market is just not ready yet. Hence, we still need brochures for events.
What Makes Print Indispensable
#1 Parents. Recruiters find that parents often ask for something to take away and that in markets where the tech infrastructure is less stable, that print is a reliable sales tool.
#2 Trusted Sales Tool for Reps. In some situations ‘old tech’ like brochures works well – it’s easy to find what you need without the distractions that digital tech is designed to provide. And the batteries never run out.
#3 Brand Visibility and Consistency for Institutions. When your offering is an intangible service, paper helps keep your brand and value proposition in sight. And knowing that the message is locked into print, helps ensure the Institutions’ representatives stay on message and in a format that absolutely everyone can use.
Initially we thought that recruiters were wedded to their brochures out of habit. However, there may be more to it than that. Neuroscience research suggests that people, even young people, are less distracted and more engaged by content on paper than in digital formats, which could make face to face counselling sessions more productive for both recruiters and students. Maybe recruiters have picked up on that.