There is an ongoing battle between members of my family regarding e-readers versus paper books.  My father, the everyday commuter, would fully benefit from the versatile functions of an e-reader, yet refuses to give up his classic paper and ink hard-covers.  My GRANDFATHER in his old age has all of his newspapers, books, and magazines easily accessible on his iPad.  Both sides recognize the positives behind their opinion, the iPad can centrally locate all reading material, but physical books won’t let you down if you forgot to plug them in the night before.  From a marketing perspective, is there a winner in this battle?  Is print marketing or web marketing superior?

There is really no defining line for what works best, because every marketer and every company is different.  Some people are even hinting now that web marketing is becoming so common, that direct mail and print marketing are grabbing more attention.  That being said, if we had to pick a side, web marketing has a few places where it trumps traditional print media.

  • More bang for your buck.  Think about how your marketing online can reach someone globally in a matter of seconds.  If you’re using social media or email blasts to do so, the cost is extremely low, if not free.  Now, how expensive would it be to reach that person with a direct mailer, or to place print ads in local publications in that global region?  Pretty costly, right?
  • People do research on the Internet.  Where did you go the last time you wanted to research a product?  The last time I wanted to buy a new TV, I didn’t siphon through newspapers to find sales, I went to Best Buy’s website and started my research.  The present-day consumer utilizes the Internet more than ever, and if your marketing isn’t present there, you are losing a much larger client base than if you skip the newspaper ads every once in a while.  Go where you customers are.
  • Tracking.  Online marketing makes tracking a great deal easier.  Marketers and sales teams have lists of opens and click-throughs available almost instantly, shortening the sales cycle by a great deal of time.  It can be extremely difficult to track the success of a print advertisement, and while direct mailers may have a QR code or a personalized URL, it is more convenient for the consumer to click on a link right in front of them while surfing the web than to remember to visit that website later on.

Print marketing and advertising will likely never become obsolete, because it has had huge returns for companies in the past.  In this day and age, though, it is important to consider the benefits that web marketing delivers to companies and their sales teams.  If you’re not sure how to make the switch, or invest more time and resources into web marketing, combine things!  Here’s an article from marketing blog HubSpot on how to combine a few different marketing tactics (web and print included).

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