When To Go Print v. Digital

Two women shop online.

While some might cry that “print is dead!” the evidence shows this isn’t the case. There are some instances where one may be more effective than the other, but dismiss either at your own risk.

Why Choose Print

Print is an essential marketing medium when you absolutely must make a lasting impression. It tends to have more of the “wow” factor and be more memorable. Studies have shown printed marketing materials, such as leaflets and brochures, are more likely to be held onto and referred back to. 79% of consumers are more likely to read or at least scan paper advertisements, and 39% will try a business for the first time based on their print. Therefore, as current, responsive and cost effective as digital marketing may be, the traditional notion of creating print materials to market your business must not be dismissed.

Print is also a hit for business promotion as it’s more tangible – it can be felt, possessed, and if it’s created with the latest sensory printing techniques, even tasted and smelled.

Furthermore, many people still prefer print as it’s portable, flexible and reliable when digital options can’t be. You’ll never be stuck with a dead battery or no signal with print media!

Stats on how different marketing mediums can work together.
Print v. digital stats collected for Social Media 2014.

Why Go Online

Digital media is rapidly growing in popularity, and for good reason. There’s no denying it’s effective in its own right, but there is no clear winner in the print v. digital argument. Digital media is valued for being immediate – a message can go out as soon as it’s dreamed up, making it easier to set or follow trends minute by minute.

Digital marketing is also great for channeling uniquely crafted messages to highly targeted demographics. Audiences can be broken down by age, gender, location, interests and so forth, increasing the likelihood of messages having an impact on those who receive them.

Word is more likely to be spread quickly by digital media, as the ability to re-tweet or share a post takes seconds to accomplish. In addition, once a business’s messages reach their audience digitally, it’s a good platform for getting feedback.

Two women shop online.
Reach a wider audience by using both print and digital marketing methods.

How Print And Digital Can Work Together

When print v. digital becomes print and digital, it becomes a highly effective strategy for enhancing a brand and increasing the public’s familiarity with it. Print and digital, united, will drive increased online and offline sales and best promote special events. This is because the combination will reach a wider audience overall.

Print is excellent for making a great first impression, and can be used to attract an audience before driving it online. Through the use of printed QR codes, for example, recipients of printed business cards or flyers could easily find their way to a Facebook page or micro-blogging site where they’ll be more likely to have further interactions with the company.

Print and digital can also aid in forming a full picture of measurable results – when new customers come to a business, owners or team members can ask how they heard of them and find out which methods are most useful for drawing them in.

print v. digital Rik Haynes Solopress business cards.
Solopress business cards featuring a QR code.

The Overall Picture

Ultimately, when developing or re-developing your marketing strategies, never ignore a method that gets results. If flyers or postcards do a great job of attracting customers to a company, they certainly wouldn’t want to stop printing them. And if Facebook followers are quick to act upon the latest contest or sale, businesses shouldn’t give that up either. Blending the channels of communication by playing to the strengths of each medium will see the best results overall.