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Is Print Marketing Obsolete in a Digital Age?

The rise of digital marketing has convinced some in the industry that print advertising is about as relevant as cassette tapes or VHS. A more appropriate comparison might be vinyl, however Vinyl had been consigned to music industry landfill, but now it is a growing and vibrant segment of the music market. Here’s why we believe print marketing continues to earn its place in your overall marketing strategy:

Print is permanent

You are exposed to so many ads every day that your brain learns to filter them out. Indeed a study by eMarketer) revealed that young adults (18- to 34-year-olds) pay far more attention to traditional TV, radio, and newspaper advertisements than they did to banner ads and advertising on social media and search engines. If you need to supply your customer with important documentation about product details, a well written, well designed brochure in paper format may be easier for the customer to understand and remember than a digital download.

Digital ad-blocking is on the rise

Delivering digital adverts to your target audience is trickier and more expensive than it used to be. The use of ad blocking software in the UK grew by 82% in the year to Q2 2015, and looks set to continue in the same vein for some time yet. (Source: PageFair), so beware if you’re only advertising is via a digital medium.

Email software is increasingly sophisticated at screening unwanted noise from your inbox. Gmails segregation of promotional messages, and Outlook’s Clutter folder both increase the chance that your email marketing might not hit your target customer either. A mix of print and digital marketing increases the likelihood that your prospect will see your message.

Print has premium appeal

The tactile nature of print marketing is unparalleled. You never opened an email and commented on how your touch screen felt. Printed marketing materials offer you that tangible connection that cannot be recreated by anything else,  print has the capacity to create a more personal impact on a potential customer. Unusual textures, luxurious print finishes, – or even unusual and eye-catching materials can great a big impact within your target audience. How about a wooden business card?

Print gives you the chance to attract attention from the outset – and not just with a snappy headline. Although your copy needs to work too… there’s no point investing in amazing print if your content doesn’t motivate your prospect to take action.

Our brains like printed media

Research by Canadian neuro-marketing firm TrueImpact measured the relative effectiveness of print marketing (direct marketing, in this case) and digital media (email and display ads). It found that direct mail was easier to process and more effective for brand recall. In fact, recall of brand names was 70% higher among candidates exposed to a direct mail piece than a digital ad (Source: Canada Post).

Done properly, tactile, colourful, print marketing provokes more emotion than static online advertising. Plus, it it is more likely to be retained and reread by the recipient – 65.8% of those questioned agreed with the statement: “I am more likely to remember to use a voucher if I have a physical copy of it to carry around”.


Marketers everywhere are making the switch from print to digital, but we know that both print marketing and digital marketing have a place in your promotional mix. With more and more media being consumed on computers, tablets, and smartphones, print marketing is not going to dominate the industry as it did in the past.

In the same way that vinyl has carved out its own niche in the music industry, quality print marketing can consolidate its own powerful position in the marketing industry. An all-digital world is not going to be a reality any time soon. In its place, a multi-channel approach which exploits the unique qualities of print marketing and blends them with the convenience and accessibility of digital marketing often delivers the best response.

We’ve done the research so you don’t have to:

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