Why Print Combined with Digital Marketing Matters


Technology and the internet have revolutionized how we communicate with and market to customers. Nevertheless, contrary to initial predictions, this hasn’t wiped out older, traditional methods. In fact, everyone has been forced to think more critically about how to reach their audience.

At first, of course, everyone focused online, but digital forms of marketing aren’t perfect and can even be less effective than print methods. Deployed in tandem, however, these two forms of marketing can be extremely powerful.

Why Print Marketing Is Important:

We’re human. Sponsored by Canada Post, Canadian neuromarketing firm TrueImpact conducted a study comparing the efficacy of print versus digital marketing. The results supported something those of us in the print industry have been saying all along – the sense of touch matters. This Forbes article  has all the details, but for a variety of biological reasons, direct mail proved more powerful than digital media in connecting with customers (and prompting a response).

In another study conducted by Bangor University and agency Millward Brown, the research suggested that “physical material is more ‘real’ to the brain. It has a meaning, and a place. It is better connected to memory because it engages with its spatial memory networks.” So, while we do love our smartphones and the internet, holding something in hand that activates the senses is a powerful thing.

Additionally, from a business perspective, printed marketing such as flyers, posters and banners have a lower cost per impression (CPI)!

Customization. On-demand product customization, or custom commerce, is causing a sweeping change in consumer behavior. Customers expect to be able to order custom, made-to-order products with a click that are then delivered in a timely manner. This expectation has also influenced marketing as consumers respond more to personalized communications.

Print on demand enables businesses to create custom printed postcards, advertisements and newsletters that speak directly to an individual. Printing on demand helps B2B companies, too. Instead of ordering flyers, posters and the like in bulk for sales meetings months in advance (which often causes overages), products may be custom-printed and delivered a few days before in quantities based on actual attendance.

The Numbers. According to Marketing Tech News:

“Targeted directed mail boasts a 4.4% response rate, compared to email’s rate of 0.12%. That is why online brands like Airbnb launch print magazines to reach important stakeholders, print catalogues are on the rise, 10bn business cards are printed in the US each year and advertising print totaled $45.2bn globally in 2013. Growth averaging 4.5% per year is predicted to continue to 2024.”

Pretty persuasive!


All that being said, print on its own is not the way to go. Everyone’s got a mobile upon which they receive email, access social media, and browse the internet…at nearly every opportunity. Of course businesses should use digital marketing tools including social media, but just not all by itself.

For example, mailing out a postcard can prompt the recipient to visit your website, while in-store displays or stickers around town (or sent with products ) can be used to promote your social media platforms. An email could be sent out enabling folks to opt-in to receive event invitations and event invitations. The opportunities for a symbiotic relationship between print and digital within your marketing strategy are endless.

Together, print and digital marketing enable businesses to reach and engage more customers and inspire them to take action, but both methods should be employed with purpose. When sending out a direct mail piece, think about how it can be used to encourage website or social media profile traffic. Or, when sending an email about a sale or new product launch, consider also mailing out a catalogue or supplementary piece. Businesses need to think about the strengths offered by both approaches and evaluate how they can be calibrated to achieve the best ROI.


Lance Trebesch is CEO and Co-Owner of Eventgroove which operates in North America, Europe, and Australia.

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