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Why Print Marketing Still Works with Uncle Sam

Print marketing still works with Uncle Sam . / Credit: Print media image via Shutterstock

If you’re trying to sell to Uncle Sam, you’d better include print in your marketing mix, a new study shows. Traditional marketing is still the most effective way to reach government decision-makers, even as federal readers begin to diversity their media consumption preferences.

Print is far from being dead, according to a survey of 3,700 senior federal employees conducted by Market Connections, a market research firm. Although federal decision-makers are slowly shifting away from reading trade publications in print, the decrease from last year is small (40 percent in 2011 to 35 percent in 2012).And more than one-fourth of decision-makers prefer a combination of both print and online media, the survey found.

In fact, the survey found, senior federal employees are quite tech-savvy, their preference for print notwithstanding. More than half (58 percent) use smartphones and almost a third (31 percent) use tablets. While the BlackBerry is still king for work email, iPhones and Android phones dominate personal email (36 percent). Android phones and iPhones are also the most-used devices for accessing news websites (27 percent), followed by tablets (21 percent).

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Like other senior professionals, they have discovered that social networking sites can play a useful role in their professional lives. LinkedIn is beginning to take off as a key destination for federal decision- makers, the survey found. More than a third (35 percent) of respondents rely on LinkedIn for both professional and personal use, up from 18 percent last year.

"Government decision-makers still consume information through traditional print outlets. Print is not dead," said Lisa Dezzutti, CEO and president of Market Connections. "As such, when developing marketing campaigns, it is important advertisers not abandon their print campaigns. Conversely, publications need to continue to provide a mix of print and digital content to meet the diversified needs of this audience."