Crisis Deepens


The self-inflicted plunge in registrations and income continues. Unless reversed soon, it’s a crisis that threatens to put many programs out of business.

Data-denying administrators across North America are forcing programs to eliminate their print brochures. At the same time, Gen Y and younger generations are reading more and more print promotions.

“Don’t sabotage your success,” says Julie Coates, the leading brochure expert for the field of lifelong learning. “Keep your print brochure,” she strongly and emphatically insists.

Online retailers like Amazon and eBay are just two of the hundreds of digital companies adding print brochures to their marketing mix.

Registrations Plunge Without Print
Lifelong learning programs, of course, are doing no A/B split testing to find out if their disastrous policies are working – – they aren’t. LERN registration surveys continue to show that virtually all programs in the U.S. are getting killed by eliminating their print brochure.

Yet the central administrators keep forcing programs to drop their print brochures. The print brochure generates 70% of registrations and income for almost every program. Last fall, programs dropping their print brochure saw income fall between 40% and 80% as compared to programs that kept their print brochure. The situation “may” be different in Canada, but even there no A/B testing has been done.

In LERN’s latest survey on print brochures for Fall 2021, some 29% of programs said they did not do a print brochure, a staggering and unprecedented rejection of all the best practices in the direct marketing business.

Get LERN’s FREE Report
Get LERN’s Exclusive FREE Report for Members on why you should NOT eliminate your print brochure. Just email info@lern.org and ask for the report on “Why we should not eliminate our print brochure.”

Overwhelming Evidence
Coates, who researches print every year, presents an astounding number of facts to back up her recommendation to keep the print brochure.

    • 95% of people under 25 years old read magazines (Top Media Advertising, n.d.).
    • 82% of consumers trust print the most when making a purchase decision (Burstein, 2017).
    • Print readers usually spend 20 minutes or more with their publication in hand, while a typical visitor to a digital news site sticks around for less than five minutes (Heitman, n.d.).
    • Print requires 21% less cognitive effort to process (R.C. Brayshaw, 2020).
    • Combining print and digital ads makes online campaigns 400% more effective (Top Media Advertising, n.d.).
    • Customers spend 58% more when they purchase from a printed marketing piece. (
    • Nearly 80% of consumers act on direct printed mail compared to 45% of consumers that act on electronic advertisements (Potochny, 2017).
    • Print and direct mail marketing bring a 9% customer response rate compared to other digital marketing channels, which hover around 1% or less (R.C. Brayshaw, 2020).
    • Print generates a 20% higher motivation response—even more so if it appeals to more senses beyond touch (R.C. Brayshaw, 2020).
    • Print drives higher levels of brand recall vs. digital (77% vs. 46%) (Newsworks, 2020).
    • Print activates different parts of the brain than digital content. It “involves more emotional processing” which is key to sales and people place a higher subconscious value on products and services they see in print according to recent research. (Marketing.sfgate.com)
    • 92% of 18- to 23-year-olds find it easier to read print over digital content (Forer, 2017).
    • The response rate for direct-mail marketing is 37% higher than the email rate (Medina, 2019).
    • Despite two decades of email and social media marketing, and the digitization of the consumer experience, catalog mailings have been steadily increasing since 2015. What’s more is that consumers are surprisingly enthusiastic about receiving them – response rates from catalogs have increased by 170% from 2004 to 2018. (Harvard Business Review, Feb. 2020)
    • Brochures drive sales. When shopping with a printed catalogue, 52% of people bought more than planned and 75% of recipients say catalogues can give them ideas for more things to do or buy. (Forbes Magazine)

Get LERN’s FREE Report
Again, get LERN’s Exclusive FREE Report for Members on why you should NOT eliminate your print brochure. Just email info@lern.org and ask for the report on “Why we should not eliminate our print brochure.”

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