Print Vs. Digital Media

by | May 25, 2021

print vs. digitalThe year 2020 has shown the importance of digitalization. More than ever, we’re all communicating by social media posts, website updates, and of course, the beloved Zoom calls. It is clear that companies were able to quickly adapt to technology in the changing landscape, but where does this leave print? Is print actually dead? Let’s take a look at the evergoing battle of print vs. digital media.


At firsthand, Transformation Marketing has seen, felt, and has even been a part of the shift towards digitalization. Over the years, we have moved from traditional marketing to more online marketing… not only for ourselves but for our clients as well. It’s not that print is reaching its demise, but more so, that digital is reaching its full potential. We’re not here to say that one is better than the other, but rather to smooth out the argument. Here are the advantages of both types of media.


Let’s start with digital.


Digital Advantages

  • Return on Investment – The first thing that comes to mind is the return on investment you get when entering the digital world. When going digital, you don’t have to account for the extra costs of printing and distributing. Quite frankly, you can create, publish, and advertise your own content for FREE. Print doesn’t have that luxury and can get rather pricey. Another advantage of digital is that you can measure your success more easily than in print. You can track your reach, impressions, followers, clicks, and whatever else with insight and analytic tools to determine your real ROI.
  • More Reach – This point goes hand-in-hand with ROI. What’s your return? A huge audience. With digital, you have the potential to grow your business and reach hundreds, thousands, or even millions of users. The potential is endless. With print, there is a lot of one-and-done content that never gets seen again, whereas, online content gets shared and regenerated for days, months, and even years after it’s first published. 
  • Easily Accessible – The beauty of technology is that nowadays, you can access it from nearly every corner of the world. It’s second-nature to us to carry our phones everywhere we go, and it serves as a multi-tool device that connects us to the rest of humanity. Whether you’re on a plane, train, or bus, you can nearly reach anyone or anything using the device in your hand. 
  • Personalization – Who doesn’t like feeling recognized? With the help of digital processing and automation, personalizing content is much easier and less expensive than doing so with print. Personalization has increased both relevance and effectiveness for digital communication. 

Print Advantages

  • Emotional Attachment – Even though there is a clear shift to digitalization, some individuals stand firm in their preference for print — most likely because they have an emotional attachment. For many, print brings a sense of comfort and familiarity that can’t be replaced by a device. There is something about picking up a book that invokes the senses. It feels good, it has a distinct smell, and it brings back a rush of memories. According to Communicate Magazine, 64% of those who took their survey say they like the feeling of physically holding a book, and 58% said they like the smell of print. Neither of which can be defeated by an iPhone. 
  • Trustworthy – Publishers have spent decades establishing their reputations. It’s paid off because readers hold their content to a higher standard compared to content found online. Readers expect accurate, relevant, and reliable content. We all know that there is an overabundance of fake news online, so publishers have worked hard to distribute current, factual information, which reflects well on their reputations and brands. 
  • Easier to Read and Concentrate On – Would you rather read a newspaper article online or in print? The majority say they find it easier to read long text on paper than on a device. One of the contributing factors is fewer distractions. When reading on a device, you can get bombarded with ads, sign-up forms, or texts, whereas, with print, it’s just you and the words on the paper. No flashing boxes or automated videos.
  • Less Screen Time – It’s true. We, as a society, spend too much time scrolling through our phones, surfing the web, and watching TV. All of that screen time can lead to health implications. As a way to minimize screen time and lessen the risk of damaging your eyes, many people prefer paper as a better alternative for that very reason. Reading print is a good way to unplug and unwind as well.


Who Rules?

It’s hard to say which is better between print vs. digital because both media have strong and relevant points. Print carries an emotional connection with readers that digital never will. And, digital carries a cheap price tag for a rather large audience that print never will. All in all, both hold true in their place in the marketing mix. What are your predictions for print vs. digital? Will there even be a distinct winner? Only time will tell.


As a full-service marketing agency, we like having the freedom to merge both traditional and modern marketing for our clients. If you’re wondering how we can help you revitalize your marketing strategy, contact us in Lincoln, NE. We’re only a phone call away at 402-788-2896.

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