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Print vs. Digital: Discussing a Marketers' Debate

Print vs. Digital: Discussing a Marketers' Debate
  • October 27, 2022

Print vs. Digital: Discussing a Marketers' Debate

Marketers and business owners have been using traditional marketing for decades, and print has been a reliable channel for driving results. After all, studies show that 75% of consumers say that print advertising makes them feel special, and 82% report trusting print when making purchasing decisions. 

However, many don't know that adding digital channels to the marketing mix has more powerful benefits. Although print can be powerful, the advantages of print advertising don't compare to major digital marketing components like reach and targeting.  

In terms of reach, more than half of the world's population, or 4.2 billion, can be reached on one digital media type (social media). Regarding targeting, data and analytics ensure your ads reach and resonate with the right people, which reduces time, money, and wasted effort. 

Ultimately, for better results, print-only marketers should implement digital. With McClatchy, you get solutions and audiences for both. 

Why Advertise with McClatchy? Learn Why Here.

The Question Every Brand Has to Answer: Is Print or Digital Marketing More Effective for My Business?  

Are print or digital marketing more effectiveThe considerable debate between print and digital has weighed on every marketer's mind. Although print still has a place in many people's hearts — and an undeniable spot in a marketing mix — digital marketing took off quickly, making many ask, "are print ads still effective?" 

The answer is yes in many cases, but digital is still the powerhouse every brand needs. Not only does it continue to evolve into a powerful tool for reaching and resonating with the right people, but there's no end in sight for what technology has in store for us. The problem with print is that we've already seen how far it can go, and it's not likely to advance much further on its own. Digital, however, seems to be naturally progressing with new technologies. 

What Kinds of Customers/Audiences are Relevant to Each?   

Target audiences for print and digital marketingPrint marketing audiences are often educated and affluent. Although it remains prominent in older generations like baby boomers and the silent generation, studies suggest a 'growing appeal' among the youngest generation: Gen Z 

Digital, however, has something for everyone in one way or another. Millennials and Gen Xers have gone digital for work, and Gen Z spends most of their time online for entertainment. Grandparents flock online to stay in touch with grandkids and old friends. When it comes down to it, the kind of customers you find on digital depends heavily on what type of digital media you're leveraging.  

The Strengths of Print Marketing   

  • Loyal audiences   
  • Multiple people can see one print ad
  • Print reading can be more focused, and people tend to remember what they read (an academic study from The Journal of Marketing Research observed a "memory advantage for print ads") 
  • Print ads favorability (73% of consumers have chosen print as their preferred method for receiving advertisements)  

Examples of print media channels include newspapers, magazines, billboards & posters, and direct mail.  

The Strengths of Digital Marketing

  • The Benefits of Digital AdvertisingEffective targeting and data-driven (organizations that are data-driven experience 23X customer acquisition, 6X higher customer retention, and 19X more profitable results) 
  • Targeting across multiple channels  
  • Measuring/monitoring views, impressions, and clicks  
  • Can have a wider reach online (more than 5 billion people globally use the inter, accounting for 63.1% of the population) 
  • Multiple powerful channels (according to HubSpot's research, the top marketing channels today are social media, website & blogs, and email) 
  • Increased engagement  
  • Generate a lead pipeline  

Examples of digital channels include email, eBooks, social media, websites, digital audio, apps, content/blogs, SEM, SEO, and more.  

Why Not Both? Using Digital Media with Print to Boost Reach and More

Benefits of multimedia marketingThe biggest problem with the digital marketing vs. print marketing debate is that it focuses solely on the independent success of each advertising channel when the two advertising methods can be pretty powerful. Recent research has pointed out that marketing campaigns that combine print and digital ads experience 400% more effective results. This is because where one lacks, the other makes up for it. 

Take, for instance, digital advertising's ability to pinpoint exact audiences and measure ad performance. These abilities are crucial to targeting and reaching the right audiences. Measuring also allows for continuous improvements that ensure your campaigns are optimized to their fullest potential.  

On the other hand, print advertising doesn't have the same technologically advanced opportunities to back it. That said, it has its own strengths, like bringing in better response rates and higher levels of brand recall & recognition. The same report that reported the powerful effectiveness of combining print and digital also noted that print generates a 9% customer response rate (digital is only around 1%) and drives more than 30% higher recall & recognition results (77% vs. 46%).  

What Does Blending Print and Digital Look Like?  

Blending print and digital marketing tacticsThere are numerous ways you can blend print and digital solutions in a campaign, but the most trending combinations in today's market include: 

  • QR Codes — make your print media more interactive by using QR codes to direct receivers to digital media where they can take action. 
  • CTAs — print may not be able to supply the same convenient CTAs as digital platforms (i.e., clickable buttons, links, etc.). Still, a strong CTA tells the receiver to take action and ensure there's no miscommunication. It also allows you to retarget them when they take action online after seeing your print. 
  • Consistency is Key — both print and digital ads should be consistent and authentic to your brand for this to work. There must not be any confusion about who is reaching them on both channels...and why! 

McClatchy's Services and Audiences are Ideal for Both 

You need a media partner to support your leverage of both marketing channels. McClatchy's services and audiences are ideal for print and digital, reaching consumers who prefer a mix of multiple channels when interacting with brands and utilizing several marketing solutions to do it. Contact us for experts who can help longtime print advertisers convert their successful print ads into effective digital campaigns. 

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