Digital vs Print. Which should your business use?

In an era of digital domination does print still have purpose?

We’ve done a quick comparison of digital and print marketing to see where the pros and cons of each lie so you can put your marketing where it matters for your business.

A matter of trust

Fake news has become part of our vocabulary and digital media is considered the number one distributor of it. Digital media is a great way to find information, but a question mark hangs over which information is actually real. This certainly does not mean everything digital is untrustworthy, and digital media is a very good marketing tool. Although recent studies have shown consumers are more likely to believe printed material.

If a consumer is handed a luxury brochure or flyer printed on quality paper that instantly speaks to them about the type of business they are dealing with. It is not so straightforward with social media. Unless a business has trusted reviews, it’s difficult for the consumer to know what they are dealing with.

Drawing attention

Digital marketing campaigns can be clever and engaging. However, there is also something more primal that goes on when a consumer picks up printed material, and how the brain remembers. Something called haptic memory comes into play, also known as the touch memory. This is thought to be one of the most lasting forms of emotional connection. So, as well as being able to handle print for longer, consumers develop a stronger attachment to the content. Whereas digital marketing is fleeting and intangible.

“Consumers may develop a stronger emotional attachment to print”


Digital media can undoubtedly reach places other media cannot. A social media post has the potential to reach millions of people across the globe and its impact can be immediate. It also provides very specific and accurate ways of assessing your ROI by using the likes of Google Analytics.

Digital marketing offers the potential of a big sweep. However, the usefulness of that depends on what market you are reaching out to. Print can actually be better for a specific local demographic. Leaflets or flyers allow a more targeted approach. If, for example, you want to reach people in a certain locale or those you know have certain travel or work habits.



One of the most appealing things about digital marketing is its affordability – it is in effect free.  But in reality you have to be a bit of an expert, with a lot of time on your hands. Creating noteworthy content is key, if you want to make your digital message really move. Alternatively, if organic digital growth is not working you may end up paying to access a specific demographic or group.  Having said that, it’s still a bargain and there are zero barriers to entry. Anyone can give it a go.

Print has a reputation for being expensive but with recent developments in printing technology it has become much more affordable. And what you get from a good printing company is not just printed material. You also gain the benefit of their experience to guide you on branding and marketing in general.


“If greenhouse gas emissions from digital technology increase at the present rate by 2025 they will equal current car emissions.”


Green Credentials

This is actually really interesting. In the past there was a strong and effective message about the use of paper and its impact on forests. So effective, in fact, that the pulp and paper industry is now highly regulated and a world leader in sustainability.

What is more surprising is that the digital world is having an impact on global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The massive servers which fulfill the increasing demand for online content need a huge amount of energy to run. It is predicted that if GHG emissions from digital technology increase at the present rate they could reach 8% by 2025 – that’s the current share of car emissions. (The Shift Project 2019.  Lean ICT: Towards Digital Sobriety)

Blog-Electrical waste-environment

The paper industry has become expert in recycling. Two thirds of paper is recycled, making it one of the main recycled materials in the world. Digital technology by comparison is still playing catch-up. Currently only 20% of electronic waste is recycled the remaining 80% ending up in landfill.


A fully rounded marketing plan

In an era that has been dominated by digital technology, print still offers unique marketing options for your business. Rather than being muscled out by digital marketing, the two work to complement each other, both having different strengths.  A print campaign could successfully drive consumer traffic to your website or shopping cart. A fully rounded marketing plan would be wise to include both digital and print aspects to properly promote a business.

And finally…


To help decide where to put your marketing have a read of our market report which compares digital and print marketing.  Hint: We advocate a combined approach!

Click here to view our report online or for a free printed copy please send us a message.

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