Why Digital and Print Are Better Together

Digital+Print

Is print advertising dead in the digital age? Will Gen Zers forget what paper feels like? Don’t bet on it.

As with many aspects of marketing strategy, there’s virtue in balance—in leveraging a mix of channels to create diverse touchpoints for audiences. Each medium has a time and a place and unique benefits, and that includes print. When done right, a mix of print and digital messages will amplify one another, leading to multi-channel synergy.

For evidence, consider the fact that since 2018, digital giant Amazon itself has published a toy catalog in print.

Digital Overload

The growth of worldwide digital ad spending is not surprising. Display, search, social, mobile, and email advertising offer unprecedented benefits for advertisers, including the ability to track results immediately and precisely, and the relatively low costs per impression. Plus, online is where audiences are, with American adults spending an estimated 11 hours per day 1 on average in front of some sort of screen.

Here’s the problem. That screen time comes with a constant barrage of ad messages, banner blindness, and overloaded email inboxes that dilute the effectiveness of digital marketing. And while production costs are low, online channels like search are competitive and can be costly.

Clearly, digital advertising is vital for most advertising programs, but there are multiple reasons to bolster your digital impact with complementary print campaigns.

Here are four benefits of print to keep in mind:

1. Print Is In-the-Moment

The digital environment is dynamic, frenetic, and distracting—with consumers continually swiping, paging, and tapping from one message to the next. Consuming print, on the other hand, is a focused experience that captures full attention.

2. Print Is Personal

For situations and environments where you are meeting your audience face-to-face, print is king. At a trade show or conference where you are interacting with potential or existing customers, a QR code will never offer the same impact as a print brochure or catalog put into the hands of your audience. Those materials will usually lead the consumer to a website for the details, but that tactile experience at the top of the funnel gets things moving.

3. Print Has Gravitas 

Luxury retailers from fashion to automotive know the power of a stunningly produced, glossy print ad in a high-end publication. For luxury consumers, the print format is part of the experience. And the psychology of this should not be lost on other kinds of marketers. Launching a new product, offering, or technology with a high-quality print ad or well-designed piece of collateral sets a tone of trust and quality that a digital campaign can’t duplicate. In fact, newspaper and magazine ads are reported to be the most trusted 2 of all ad types.

4. Print Stands Out

As our email inboxes are bursting, our physical inboxes are less crowded than ever, which means print media truly stands out and gets more attention from consumers. That may explain why a recent study found that the response rate to direct mail marketing was 37% higher 3 than for email.

Perfect Partners

Digital is efficient, measurable, and reaches consumers where they are. Print is trusted, impactful, and increasingly distinctive. Together, they are a powerful marketing partnership. Print messages will resonate more if they reinforce online messages and vice versa. For most print marketing, you want your call to action to be a digital experience (a URL or email) to get your consumer quickly to the point of conversion, whether that’s a purchase, a registration, a resume submission, or other action. In addition, digital integration gives you more measurement power. With the right attribution tools, you can precisely measure the impact of your print campaigns based on the online conversions they generate.

At ASHA, our print marketing assets are a great way to connect with our membership of speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and CSD students. They perform extremely well for our advertisers, in part because they are highly relevant to, and trusted by ASHA audiences. The fact is, online or off, a relevant ad is a successful ad.

To learn more about the best ways to integrate print and digital into your overall marketing strategy, reach out to Liz Barrett at 202-367-1231 or ebarrett@townsend-group.com. For job posting placements, reach out to Eli McLean at 202-296-8726 or emclean@asha.org.

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The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for members and affiliates who are audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel, and students.

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