An Argument for Print in a Digital Age

February 27, 2017
Emily Schilling

With print media giants such as Time Inc. and New York Times reporting all time lows in print advertising revenue and digital advertising sales reaching new heights — it’s easy to see how print material has developed a bit of a bad rep.

However, while digital may appear to be the new king of marketing strategies, it still falls short to print in many ways.

1 //  Print is forever.

Think about your closet – Can you picture it? The clothes you wear to work, some clothes to wear while lounging around the house, maybe some athletic wear, and clothes for leisure, special occasions and more. Now think back to how you built that closet – Can you remember where and when you acquired each piece of clothing? Probably not. Enter the genius of print branding and packaging.


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While you may not realize it, your closet is really nothing more than a collection of print advertisements. Without the branding and design on tags, embroidered logos, buttons, you most likely would not remember where you purchased the article of clothing. Even the collection of t-shirts from concerts, events, and vacations — all advertisements.


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Prior to the launch of Pinterest back in 2010 and the newer bookmarking features on Instagram and Facebook, digital advertisements were often seen once and then forgotten. But even with these new opportunities to extend the “life” of a digital advertisement, print still outlives digital as it is a tangible part of our everyday reality. It exists in almost every step of our day, from the alarm that wake us up every morning to the pad of paper you take notes on at your client meeting to the cup of tea we make before drifting off to sleep


 2 //  Print is your product.

There is no doubting digitals takeover in the advertising sphere. But until products on shelves are wrapped in led screens, print materials — packaging, corporate brochures and stationary, or business cards —  paints your brand’s image and is what ultimately sells your product.


BoardEffect Branding Book and Style Guide by Push10 Design, BoardEffect, BoardEffect Logo, Branding, Push10, Brand Identity, Brand Strategy, Brand Development, print, print designAll of the most memorable brands created their image with the help of print advertising materials. Retail giants such as Nike, didn’t get to where they are today by just slapping a logo on their shoes and apparel and wrapping them in a blank cardboard box. Apple, despite being digitally inclined also painted their image through print materials – shaping their prestige and modern image with a sleek, simple, brand image in neutral colors of white and silver.


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 3 //  Print is respectful. 

Advancements in digital marketing software has made delivering curated content and advertisements to the right target audience much easier. Through internet usage, location services, and more, advertisers can figure out where someone lives, their age, nationality, marital and parental status, and even what topics they are interested to define a target audience and deliver ads that are most relevant to the user, thus making them most likely to want their service. This relevancy strategy, comprised of remarketing (or retargeting) and target-market specific ad campaigns, gets mixed reviews from prospect customers. Some people find this strategy to be invasive and too aggressive, being served ads from the last website they were on when they are simply trying to see the weather for the day.  This is where print shines. Print is more of an organic way of advertising, while it’s all around us, it is not as intrusive as digital.

Let’s look at an example — Connie Consumer and store.

digital marketing, digital marketing overload, print, print advertising, branding, push10 print designScenario A: On the way to work, Connie sees an ad on the side of a bus for Super Store. The interesting, bold design catches her attention and peaks her interest, planting a seed of brand awareness and consumer intent. On her walk home from work, she notices a the store she saw on the bus ad, Super Store, and decides to stop in. Scenario B: Connie goes on Facebook. Based on her interests, she receives a display ad for the store. Later on, Connie turns to YouTube to show a coworker a funny video clip of her favorite movie. She selects a video, and because she was served the ad on Facebook, a 30 second unskippable YouTube ad from the same store comes on. Connie accidentally clicks on the ad, and immediately leaves, frustrated with the overbearing presence of advertisements. Because she technically visited the site, Connie is then served three display ads from the same store on her favorite online news site.

While the digital advertising strategy was relevant based on Connie’s interests and behavior, it did not leave Connie with a good taste in her mouth. Print advertising has a more organic way of promoting brand awareness, giving customers the feeling that they are making a choice to select one brand over another, rather than being forced into it. This is not to say that, when done properly, digital advertising isn’t extremely successful — because you can’t deny the facts.

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Bottom line – both print and digital advertising should be present in your brand marketing strategy. When used properly, the two channels work together to fill in what the other one lacks. It’s just like the old saying “make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.” Don’t miss out on the golden opportunity for your brand — keep on printing.

Need some advice on how to create the perfect brand marketing strategy for your company?? Give us a shout!