According to some of the world’s leading marketers, the role of print is changing— not dying, but delivering new ways to innovate and achieve ROI in a world of 360-degree marketing.

That was one of the key takeaways from the opening keynote panel I moderated at the On Demand Conference and Exposition in Philadelphia this week. The new roles for print include some that are common across industries, such as driving prospects to Web sites and social media, and many that are more specialized.

Doug Neil, senior vice president of Digital Marketing at Universal Pictures said print has seen a resurgence since digital came into play. While broadcast media still dominate in movie promotion, print is playing a larger role to reach more consumer touch points in 360-degree marketing efforts.

Print sometimes has a significant impact in unexpected places. Matthew Downy, vice president, Anderson Direct Marketing noted that one client, an Internet information provider, was shocked to find that the highest response rates and most stickiness in the 18 to 34 age group came from direct mail— not electronic media.

Shelley Diamond, worldwide managing partner, Young & Rubicam, found an
unexpected touch point by developing a Zagats branded map of area Irish Pubs to accompany free Irish Spring samples. In the price-promotion-driven world of super markets, the map helped Irish Spring stand out through the association with the premium Zagat brand and a map that people kept as a reference.

Marketers want ideas that can help innovate and drive ROI, and they don’t care who offers the ideas, said Walter DeCasas, marketing manager, sales and marketing division, Chrysler LLC, and Alan Scott, former vice president and CMO, Dow Jones and Company, and CMO Council Advisory Board member. And with increasing pressure on marketing executives to show ROI, marketers are more likely than ever to experiment, the panelists said.

These marketers believe it is incumbent on printers to bring innovative ideas to them. Are you doing that, and if not, what are the barriers?