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Is Printing Dead?

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When you think of media and marketing, most of what comes to mind is likely digital. Whether the newspaper or magazine you keep up with has gone online or the business you’re looking for tends to advertise on social media, a lot of what we consume is found on our phones or computers. However, this does not necessarily mean that printing is dead. Print media and marketing continue to be made and distributed despite the misconception that it is being replaced. Here are a few reasons why printing has not yet reached its end.

Direct Mail vs Email

Contrary to the increasing number of businesses turning to email campaigns for marketing, both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. While direct mail is more expensive and its effectiveness is more difficult to trace, it tends to have more impact due to the lower volume of mail than email. Further, mail is kept around and looked at for longer than emails are, which can improve its effectiveness and increase the attention it receives. On the other hand, email campaigns are more cost-effective and can be personalized, but it is overused, and the repetitive and overwhelming daily task of sorting through emails can turn many people off. Marketing emails are also often deleted without being opened, and even if they are, privacy advancements are making it harder to trace links and track emails opened.

A survey of words customers associated with these marketing methods showed that email is viewed as quick, spontaneous, interesting, informative, smart, and informal, and direct mail is viewed as formal, official, considered, believable, important, reliable, informative, and personal. It was also discovered that many find physical mail more engaging and memorable than email and social media advertising.

A Needle in a Haystack

As mentioned above, while digital marketing seems to be the more popular option currently, it is overused, and it can be challenging to be noticed in such an oversaturated medium. Both social media advertising and email campaigns have this issue, and using this method can be like dropping a needle in a haystack and hoping your desired audience finds it. While there are specific metrics and features built into social media apps, such as target advertising, to help with this, it is becoming an increasingly difficult space to be noticed in. Direct mail or print advertisements may stand out or be seen as more appealing simply because they are not on our digital devices.

The Paper Experience

Many people prefer a physical copy of the book they’re reading; the same can be said about print marketing. The tactile and sensory experience of print should not be overlooked and cannot be entirely replaced by digital media. Physically holding a piece of paper in your hand is more concrete and permanent than an advertisement that can be scrolled past, and this can make a significant impact on your audience.

Print media also offers a break from your phone. Once your eyes hurt and you’re sick of scrolling, print media offers a less demanding option which allows you to pay attention to every page rather than an endless scroll. There are also fewer distractions of notifications and ads popping up than its digital counterpart.

Finally, not everyone is online. Despite the popular idea that the world is now online, depending on the demographic, this is not always the case. Print media is an accessible option for those who choose not to use the internet, do not understand how to use the internet, or live in a remote or low-income area where they do not have access to the internet.


So, is printing dead? The answer seems to be a resounding no, and some say it never will be. Instead, it appears that the best strategy is a combination of print and digital content to reach the largest audience effectively. However, what weighting of each works best varies from company to company.

unLOCKEd marketing experts have experience with all kinds of content and distribution, both print and digital, and know how to get you the best results. We hope we can help with your next marketing endeavour, providing the support and insight you need while you’re busy running your business.

Author: Sarah Murphy


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