17 Feb The Return of Tangible

I was in Barnes & Noble the other day and happened to notice a table just beyond the best seller books with….portable record players? Ironically enough, I recently bought a record at a local brewery where my favorite Richmond band was playing. The reason for the purchase? Perhaps I felt reminiscent of childhood days when my brother and I would race in circles around the living room to Earth, Wind & Fire blasting from my dad’s record player – definitely a tried and true tactic of my mother to wear us out. Or maybe, I miss the experience of listening to music when you had to touch more than a button for it to play. Regardless, why the resurgence of record players?

I’ve also started to notice more print magazines. Being a tactile person myself and having never converted to digital reading, I am quite happy to find a plethora of print options at my disposal. In fact, there were almost twice as many print magazines launched in 2014 than there were in 2013 with some companies like Newsweek even moving from digital to print. Print magazines prove to be effective in educating and retaining customers as well as building brand loyalty. As Discovery Channel Magazine Editor Luke Clark said at WITnext, “Print is like what vinyl is to music. It’s nostalgic and it’s coming back.”

There appears to be a trend toward the tactile. Perhaps all this movement toward digital has made the time and experiences spent away from the screen increasingly important. According to a study by J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, 8 out of 10 Americans would rather read a magazine in print than online. Interestingly enough, this trend holds true across all generations, even millennials.

What does this mean for marketers? The digital medium is definitely strong and will remain an important part of any marketing plan, but the return of the tangible experience is an opportunity for brands to create strong emotional connections with consumers.