Print vs. Digital Marketing: Which is More Effective?

Print vs. Digital Marketing: Which is More Effective?


Print and digital marketing are two mediums that seem to be in constant competition with one another. There’s no shortage of articles out there proclaiming that “print’s not dead” or how digital is the wave of the future.

But here’s the honest truth: “Which is better, print or digital?” isn’t a simple question to answer, because they each serve different purposes and are advantageous in different situations. Read on for a more in-depth analysis of the effectiveness of print vs. digital marketing, courtesy of Company Folders, Inc.

Advantages of print marketing

Print’s biggest perk is that it’s up-close and personal; your audience can literally touch it with their hands. It’s more tangible than digital, engaging the viewer on multiple sensory levels. You can use that to your advantage by making use of texture and light. A foil embossed design, for instance, engages the audience with a unique tactile effect and a distinctive reflective look—things you wouldn’t be able to achieve with a digital ad. These techniques allow you to build a deeper, more emotional connection.

According to a German study, print marketing is more likely to establish trust in the audience, regardless of their age demographic. Print ads are also more likely to influence consumers who are positioned to influence other consumers themselves.

What’s more, audiences tend to take their time with print marketing; they read it slowly and deliberately, understanding the information at a deep level. That makes it best-suited for establishing credibility and achieving results in the long term.

Advantages of digital marketing

Digital marketing is a bit more than just print’s flashy, modern cousin. It comes with several unique benefits that make it attractive to marketers.

For one, it’s comparatively cheaper than print—in part because there are no costly physical materials to deal with, and also because you can ensure you’re only targeting the people who are most relevant to your campaign. If you only really need to reach women over 30, for instance, you can tailor your Facebook ad campaign to focus on that demographic. Digital ads also make it easier to target audiences on a global scale, outside of your immediate, local community.

One of the biggest perks of digital is that you can make adjustments quickly and on-the-fly. Changing a print campaign would require an entirely new rollout, while digital campaigns can be tested and edited at the click of a button. This makes digital particularly advantageous when you want fast, immediate results from a campaign.

Putting them together

Some people think of print and digital as being opposing forces at war with one another, but the truth is that you’re usually better off incorporating both into your marketing plan. Not only can each medium make up for the weaknesses of the other, but there are many situations where print and media can play off of one another. Your print ad might direct audiences to sign up for a digital mailing list using a QR code, for instance.

The best marketing plans are diverse and varied, without placing all of the eggs in one single basket. Rather than forcing yourself to decide between print and digital as mutually exclusive options, think of ways you can create synergy with both of them.