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Print is Dead, Long Live the King “Online Advertising!”…Really?

Print advertising has been the go to player forever, but the online advertising explosion simply eclipsed it. Print is still a viable medium when used as a targeted marketing tool. Sadly many newspapers, magazines, and gazettes have been sent into permanent retirement because of a mix of bias reporting, unrealistic costs, lack of relevancy, and inability to track results effectively. The age of the online experience is in full swing and marketers across every vertical push out endless supplies of critical data, lists, terminology, definitions, and check lists. They attempt to sway opinion and preference through a barrage of data rather than a carefully constructed message. Print is ideal for target marketing


Two reasons, cost reduction and analytics. What better way to impress the boss than with reports on site visits, page clicks, views, likes, and hopefully revenue. The problem with this scenario is comparable to shooting a shotgun at the head of a pin, from 100 yards – no focus! At least print, although sometimes biased and opinionated, provides a specific platform for the message. Online experience is teaching “users” (who are not necessarily buyers) that graphics are most important while the art of the written word has become an ancient practice, akin to magic.

Next Picture Please

I can already hear the legions of successful online marketers laughing at this comment. In their opinion, the end justifies the means. Kind of a crack pot way of thinking considering that most online exposure is short-lived and tossed aside in pursuit of the next idiom and associated graphic. The true benefit of print lies in the written word and its longevity in building strong relationships between individuals and groups. Online marketing programs tend to push impulsive behavior in lieu of conversation about true value. They overcome obstacles by linking unaccredited sources to data “proving” their position. Unfortunately, all that is proven is ability to use the Internet.  I mean how reliable is Wikipedia for you? Do you use it as a reference or a starting point in research? The answer defines you.

Forming a Strategic Partnership

Alright, I am off the soap box. The truth is that both print and online are necessary in any strategic initiative regardless of a company’s size, budget, or industry. The issue lies in how to best use both together, in parallel, or as a supporting role. Print can be directive in long-term strategy for brand awareness and publicity whereas online exposure is a great way to increase short-term cash flow through discounts, promotions, contests, and daily deals.

I know what you are thinking- online can also do that through blogs, websites, forums, and chat rooms – and you would be correct. Print is simply another tool to enhance targeted campaigns and provide additional touch points with the target audience. So get your pencil and paper out and scratch out a plan to use both print and online in your next campaign. You can’t go wrong. See, I put it in writing...

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