Traditional Print In The Digital Age

08 Apr 2013

Traditional print is at the forefront of marketing. Newspapers and magazines are incredibly powerful methods of delivering targeted advertising. Fliers and in store promotional material transform footfall into sales. The digital age of marketers have learned everything they know from the world of print, but digital marketing brings in new challenges and problems.

There has been a colossal shift in the way people consume information. In as little as a decade, digital media has become an essential part of our lives, in some cases replacing TV, magazines and newspapers. The relative affordability and the proliferation of high performance hardware like computers, tablets and smartphones has meant that printed media like magazines and newspapers have gained a major rival – in every home and every pocket. But the same could have been said about the rise of television which, although a one-way medium, brought a new level of targeted advertising. Did print suffer as a result? No. Both mediums coexist to this day and even benefit each other due to their own unique properties.

Print is alive and well, suffering very little from the ill effects of TV, the internet and digital media – because it offers something different. Print offers marketing advantages that digital won’t ever be able to replace. Even Google (the prophecised killer of print) has started a printed publication, because they know that without print, they are incomplete.

Graphics, shop displays, promotional material and fliers are still very much in use – and it’s because they work. Attracting business with print is as old as business itself. As welcome as digital media is in the mix, nothing at present has quite the same effect as a physical thing. If you imagine removing every graphic, display stand and promotional poster from a retail environment, you would soon see how void of information and feel it is. Without necessarily noticing it, a retail environment submerges you in printed information – from pricing, point of sale and promotional displays to the adhesive window graphics used to invite you in and tell you the opening times.

Print is everywhere – on every desk, in every home, on every street and every billboard – but it’s a versatile medium, not just restricted to the public domain. Printing fliers and leaflets is vital to smaller businesses for spreading their message. The same goes for business cards which are seeing a resurgence in popularity as of late. Personal real-world interaction is the strongest form of social networking there has ever been. The physical presence of print is what sets it apart from television and the web.

Digital media does have advantages and is absolutely amazing in it’s own right, but to say it can replace print completely is just too broad a statement. There are a lot of things that digital will never be able to do. Using both digital and online media in conjunction with print can provide the best of both worlds in terms of delivering content, but out in the field print is still the only viable choice.

Print will continue with the strength it has always had – things will naturally change and evolve within it, just as they do in every industry. The combined forces of print and online media result in multi-faceted campaigns with huge potential. Print will continue not as a supporting role, but as an essential feature of marketing.