Online Marketing
Digital Marketing or Print Marketing - Which is more effective?

Have you heard? All the world is online now, anything printed is out of fashion and ineffective. If you don’t have an online presence your brand will slip away like the stories we tell our children about Blockbusters and Woolworths.

Digital Marketing is the present and future of brand awareness and promotion. Print marketing is now a dinosaur, and no longer relevant is today’s fast-moving immediate world.

Of course, this is nonsense. However, some would have you believe that print marketing efforts are now a dying medium and you should focus solely on your digital efforts.

Digital marketing is all forms of marketing that occur online, this can be social media, building a website, email marketing, or any other online activity with the aim of promoting a brand. Print marketing meanwhile, is the promotion of a brand that is done offline. Think flyers, posters, business cards, or any other printed marketing materials.

The Benefits of Print Marketing

Direct Marketing

Print marketing offers the most direct form of marketing there is. You can hand-pick who receives your marketing materials, making those that receive them highly relevant to your business. It’s the basic principle of getting your brand in front of the eyes that are interested. Print marketing will always be highly effective at doing the basics.

Easily Digested

The noise online can be overwhelming. Printed materials, meanwhile, are easy to digest and understand. The customer has the copy in their hand for them to take their time to read, and to keep so they can revisit. Of course, this can be done online but not to the extent that it can be done in print.

Attention Grabbing Marketing

There are a number of online studies that support the idea that having a physical copy resonates more within the memory and improves brand recall. Having a piece of print marketing gives the customer something to relate your brand too. If it is of a high quality, that will reflect on your brand. Print marketing simply feels more real to the brain, making it more memorable – which is surely a huge aim for any marketing efforts.

Global Windows Brochure Open Mock Up

Constraints of Print Marketing

Lack of Interaction

The major problem with print marketing is that you push a flyer into a potential customers letterbox and then all the customer has to interact with is that piece of coloured paper. You leave it with them in the hope they make the effort to take the next step in contacting you. This lack of interaction is a big downside to print marketing.

Can be Costly

Designing, printing, and distributing en masse can become expensive, which tends to put most businesses off pursuing that perfect poster. Of course, you can control and budget your print marketing efforts to ensure you don’t overspend, but this can be difficult to gauge thanks to my next point.

Difficult to Measure Results

To budget your marketing efforts, you need to understand what your return on investment will be. This is made difficult with print marketing. How can you gauge the success of a campaign without undertaking thorough research into your customers? This will, again, cost time and potentially money.

The Benefits of Online Marketing

Target a Wide Audience

With online marketing, you can easily go national and even international with your content. This cannot be done when limiting yourself to print marketing. Are you more likely to share a Facebook post, or hand a flyer you have received to your friends in the hope they do the same? Digital marketing is sharable by nature meaning your marketing spreads much more quickly, reaching a much wider audience than print marketing can even dream of.

Audience Control

How many times have you received a flyer this week? How many times have you kept the flyer? A problem with this style of print marketing is there is no opt-out button, meaning the marketer is not only wasting the customers time but also their own. However, with junk mail boxes, unsubscribe buttons, social media account blocking, and more, the audience has more control over what marketing they receive than ever before. This may sound like a bad thing for marketers at face value, surely getting your brand in front of as many people as possible is better than having them reject you. But think of it this way, with tailored marketing experiences your content will only be put in front of the eyes that are interested and you will see the benefits of this in your engagement rates.


A huge benefit of online marketing is that it gives you the ability to interact and engage with your audience. You can answer questions and solve problems, join in on industry discussions and recommend your products to people asking for solutions. This is the reason many brands are now on social media, hiring social media managers to push content and talk to customers. Engaging in this way adds a voice to your brand, giving it personality so that audiences can relate and connect to what would otherwise be just another corporate figure.

Cost Effective

Distribution? Post on your free social media account and what the views flood in. Design and print? You may potentially need to have content prepared, but you certainly won’t need to print it. Amongst many other things, a major reason digital marketing blew up was because of how cost effective it was. Everything you want to achieve with digital marketing can be done for very little expense when compared to the print alternative, the only way it can get expensive is if you want to accelerate the results.

Live Results are Recorded

At any point during a marketing campaign you can check the results and adjust based on what you find. These results are also recorded on most digital platforms for future reference. This is true for Google Analytics and most social media platforms which have an in-built analytics tool. It is far easier to gather the data from an online campaign than it is for a print marketing campaign.

Champs Menu Standing Mock Up

Constraints of Online Marketing

Saturated Market

The biggest issue with digital marketing efforts is getting your voice heard over all the noise of the online world. The fact is that audiences have thousands of similar pieces of content on the same topic you are covering, they have hundreds, if not thousands, of similar businesses to interact with, the competition is greater than ever before so there is added pressure on being unique and producing a steady stream of high quality content, which relates to my next point.

Time Consuming

While it is undoubtedly cheaper to produce than the print alternative, digital marketing is an ongoing effort that costs time. Producing high quality content, keeping updated on social media and industry trends, and managing email engagements and campaigns requires effort and time. The results are proven to be worth it, but it is an organic process which may not equal results until months down the line.

Organic Interest?

While I talked about the relevance of those finding your content earlier, while it is true that audiences control what they see and therefore only receive what they are interested in (well, most of the time), it is also highly likely that a lot of your audience will not be relevant to your business and just those that have used you for a follow. Social media in particular is rife with “Follow-for-follow” and “Like-for-like” culture, with the principle being that if someone follows your account you return the favour by following back. If you run your social media accounts in this way your followers will be irrelevant, and your follower count will be a false statistic. It is a lot more effective to grow your social media presence organically with good content and engagement.

The Plough Inn Gift Card Mock Up

What's the Solution

Multi-channel marketing, omni-channel marketing, digital marketing, traditional marketing – it’s all rather confusing. The fact is that marketing is simply the techniques used to communicate the benefits of your business with your target audience and effective communication isn’t done through one medium.

Do the basics, get a website, build a social media profile, send marketing emails, then send a brochure or flyer to those that are most interested in your business to further encourage them to take that next step in purchasing from you.

By using a mixture of marketing techniques, you outweigh any constraints they have, and your efforts will be rewarded with higher engagement rates. By using print marketing together with digital, you reduce your spending, containing it only to an audience that are highly likely to respond.

Related Articles:

7 Reasons Why Print Marketing is Still Important

Choosing the Right Social Media Platform for your Business

Planning a Social Media Strategy

5 Top Design Tips for Brochures


We can help you with all your marketing efforts; social media management, content creation, SEO, or any printed promotional items, get in touch today! – DS Creative

Get In Touch



Created by, Chris