Print + Digital. An Emerging Love Story.


Is print dead? Maybe…but on the other hand, perhaps it’s just evolving. And before comments start flooding in from the peanut gallery- YES – this is a blog centered on all things emerging media…but stay with me. I may just be onto something!

Print arguably isn’t what it used to be, and as marketers, our efforts often shift to emerging digital tactics. That said, there are some counterpoints to consider with respect to the relevancy of print, and how its symbiotic relationship with digital can supercharge this traditional method.

Before we delve into the May-December romance between print and digital, let’s give some props to print, and why it’s still relevant in our digital-centric world.

Tangibility: Often times, nothing can beat a physical representation of what a product is all about. The shelf life of a print piece is also longer (months, even years), whereas a digital ad can disappear quickly into cyberspace.

Credibility: Print provides a certain level of credibility/legitimacy to a product. There is the same level of perceived danger with it in comparison to a potentially spam/virus-laden digital ad

Branding: Print ads contribute to establishing brand recognition/building a brand’s identity across all platforms.

Targeting: As a marketer, you can reach your audience through a print ad in a niche publication, which may not be as easy to reach/target in an online format. For example – bridging the gap between generations.

Less is More: The writing may be on the wall (or smart phone/tablet, rather) that print is losing the battle to digital, but that does not make the format obsolete. If anything, a compelling, well-designed print marketing piece has the capacity to stand out even more amid a sea of digital advertising. The decline of print publications and increase in digital advertising can actually be leveraged as a marketing advantage for print advertising efforts.

Simply put—if print publications are less crowded, there’s more opportunity for an ad to shine – perhaps just as much if not more than your digital tactics. By nature, consumers engage more with print materials—websites are scanned in as little as 15 seconds/visit.

The symbiotic relationship of print and digital

The usage of QR codes and NFC (near-field communication) is a perfect example of how well print and digital work together. Print collateral is transformed into something even more interactive with the placement of a QR code, or NFC enabled, which leads to a landing page/website. It’s the best of both worlds.

qr codes
Image Credit: MarketingProfs

Social media sites might seem like a new found way of doing business, but people have been networking socially since the dawn of civilization. Before social media sites, businesses used printed marketing materials to make a connection with their customers and it’s a practice that is still going strong today.

Both social media and print marketing are effective at attracting new customers, yet one is not inherently better than the other. According to a Pitney Bowes Survey, 76% of small businesses state that their ideal marketing strategy utilizes both printed and digital communications.  In order to successfully use both mediums to attract customers, you need a print marketing strategy that enhances your social media presence—and vice versa.

What is the Answer?

Instead of pegging print against digital, gleaning their strengths and pairing the formats can amplify the success of an integrated campaign. Let these mediums coexist and bring their strengths to the table (at least until the next big thing emerges on the scene).


Lend me your thoughts…

Can/should these mediums rely upon one another, or it is time to let print R.I.P.?



One thought on “Print + Digital. An Emerging Love Story.

  1. One of the problems of people who say that print is dying is that they only think of the magazines that come through the postal mail or the flyers people hand out. Print is so much more than paper. I think your best point is the tangibility of print. Print includes objects as well! Sports teams get great advertisement through hats and shirts. I know I’ve had a pen from Fulton County Public Schools in Atlanta for at least 3 years now. I carry it with me in my purse and I’ve lent it to at least a dozen people. That one pen’s reach has extended to so many more people than just the one person that owns it.

    If we are solely talking about paper print, I do think marketers must get more creative to stay relevant. QR codes on print ads are keying into this partnership between print and digital. I think print will survive, but it will morph as digital grows.


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