Marketing Online vs. Print – Is There Really a Contest?

Marketing Online vs. Print – Is There Really a Contest?

All businesses need to use print advertising, ideally in a variety of ways, to effectively reach customers.  This fact is has been demonstrated many times over in studies that reveal a basic human inclination which evokes great appreciation for the time, effort, craftsmanship and personalization that results in print media in its various forms.  So any marketing program failing to feature traditional printed efforts is missing a huge share of potential revenue, meaningful connections and online traffic.

At the same time, to deny the omnipresent force of online marketing channels would be a ripoff of efforts to reach a wider audience, all too willing to connect with the brands they truly need.  It takes a combination of online and offline marketing to make a true impact with today’s customers in all industries.

As for the answer to the question that pits marketing online vs. print? There really is no such contest because wise entrepreneurs learn (sometimes through costly trial and error) that success is equal to investing their marketing dollars in a way that utilizes online and print synergistically. To do so will reverse any decline of previous, weaker efforts and finally maximize future growth; but since it takes artistry and an understanding of the science behind successful marketing techniques, mentors within the business service industry are vital to a thriving integrated marketing campaign.

Mike Maddalena, owner of the Minuteman Press franchise of Petaluma, CA, knows that putting more weight on one technique over others can backfire on constructive marketing efforts.  His Minuteman Press center consists of a staff with marketing specialists whose continual mission is to partner with all clients to develop a fluid strategy that is tested and adjusted for brand awareness, customer acquisition and retention.  He does acknowledge the inherent power of print and its superior edge when it comes to comparing email and direct mail marketing, but this is tempered with the reality that all channels need to be used with regularity and careful consideration to the brand message, as well as design and expert production of all marketing collateral.

Mike says, “Marketing is all the little things you do to promote your business.  I would never say one is more important than another.  What is important is understanding your customers and your market.  Our experience has been better with direct mail vs. email marketing.  If I told you I understand why I would be lying.  Personally I am frustrated by the junk email I receive and I suspect I am not alone.  My feeling is when we email market our email message is diluted with other emails more so than when we direct mail.  What I do understand is direct mail usually returns 3-5 percent response (estimates) and 0.5-1.0 percent in finished jobs per mailing.”

Matt Peretz, Minuteman Press International Vice President New York, knows that print captures attention that might otherwise elude other channels of communication.  Matt shares, “Cross media marketing is key to having a holistic approach to advertising.  The web is great for deep engagement with a customer and giving them answers to all of the questions they have about your products or services.  Where then, do they figure out what questions to ask about your business?  If the prospect is completely unaware of anything that has to do with your company, print is a very good way to grab their attention and start making them think about you.”

There is danger when assumptions are made without research because the myth that “print is dying” is perpetuated, frequently, by the unmotivated marketer for whom the assumption that the modern business world can survive with online channels alone.  False and a sure way to condemn business to decline is this assertion because no matter which business is the focal point, print is still a clear, strong and effective medium for generating sales, especially as premium printing techniques continue to evolve as part of printing industry growth.

One of many such studies by the Direct Marketing Association discovered that just $1.00 spent on print advertising generates an average of $12.57 in sales and this high-return ratio was discovered to be universal across all industries.  It must be remembered that print media extends well beyond the effective methods that incorporate paper products such as business cards, brochures and flyers.  Print media is huge and includes promotional magnets, drinkware, pens, stickers, branded apparel, USB drives, chargers and many more.  The important point is that these printed tools are considered gifts, not marketing collateral and they will build brand familiarity as well as a magnificently strong impression.  Supporting that truth is a study by Advertising Specialty Institute, in which “84% of Americans said that they retain the names of companies when they receive promotional gifts with the company’s logo imprinted upon it.”

On August 1, 2015, Sony PlayStation came to Long Island, New York for their “Road to Greatness” tour in which giant trailers with yet-to-be-released games were unveiled for the community of the contest winner as well as a voracious “gamer” audience willing to travel for a fix of their anticipated digital fandom expansion.  In this case, a 15 year old girl won the right to play with her rock band, live at the event.  Sony built a professional-level stage and sound system, awarded the winner with the latest in Sony technology and the young rock band played a seven-song set in front of a crowd of about 600 eager gamers and music enthusiasts, all enjoying free food and drink.

Clearly, Sony, with its PlayStation system’s gigantic online presence made full use of its own website, forums, social media, blogs and email to broadcast publicity for this event.  However, Sony decision-makers very specifically used printed media to make sure that the giant crowd gathered and stayed for the festivities.  Distributed generously were promotional gift items emblazoned with the PS2 logo, including sunglasses, a USB drive, a drink insulator and a Frisbee, all neatly packaged in a branded tote bag.  Additionally, branded, edgy wristbands, and different versions of drinkware and other very welcomed items were tossed into the crowd and snatched up by greedy hands throughout the day.  If that is not enough endorsement for the modern power of print media, there is more; in addition to all of the branded promotional items that helped make the event a success, each of the 6 teenage band members were provided with 100 full-color, sharply printed flyers and they were encouraged to distribute and hang them up “all over the place”.  There are simply some people that online marketing will not reach as effectively and even the biggest Internet companies realize this, so they embrace an integrated method of spreading their brand messages.

Jim Galasso, Minuteman Press Regional Vice President for NY, NJ and CT, references the journey that led from a singular to a multi-channeled approach to reaching customers.  He comments, ‘Let your fingers do the walking’ is a familiar slogan. Years ago, when people had to find something they ‘let their fingers do the walking’. In today’s times their fingers are ‘doing the scrolling’ and print helps lead them there.” Jim continues, “Every day around the world, someone sees an imprinted product and a minute later they are scrolling the website and purchasing something. Now the home based business has as good a chance in succeeding as the high end retailer as long as it gets its name out there.”

If there is a useful inanimate object, odds are great that it can be incorporated into a marketing strategy with a neatly printed logo emblazoned upon it with website, social media and email addresses imprinted in a way that supports the design.  Even consumable representations of brand like paper dinnerware which could be used for awards dinners or at Chamber of Commerce events have impact.  In fact, many business organization meetings offer opportunities to speak on various business-related topics and that would be a great time to display an expertly printed promotional banner, right on the podium.

As technology applied to smartphone and tablet use continues to grow and develop, printing industry growth has infused print media with greater flexibility and interactivity which can be harnessed by marketing specialists in order to craft cutting-edge, modern campaigns.  In addition to announcing your web presence by printing a URL meant to be typed in by recipients, these days QR codes and NFC (Near Field Communication) technology empower print media by allowing customers to directly connect to your website.

For instance, QR codes can be imprinted and customized with attractive colors and patterns for improved integration between online and print marketing designs AND to add additional opportunities for striking branded elements across both channels.  NFC technology uses a microchip to send signals directly to mobile devices without scanning, so by tapping the printed media against a mobile device, the NFC chip instantly connects to the website.  Once there, consumers can play videos, redeem vouchers, complete surveys, activate augmented reality features that encourage exploration and engagement, and share with others.

Jon and Traci Eppes, owners of two successful Minuteman Press Franchise locations in Elgin and Loves Park, IL, hail from the leaders of digital print, design, marketing within the business service industry.  As they have entrusted the support of a Minuteman Press franchise, Jon’s clients receive customized, personal attention needed to design thriving integrated marketing campaigns.

Jon offers, “The change in generations requires you to have an online presence as some younger users believe if it is on the internet then it must be true.  However, print marketing is crucial for all businesses.  Online marketing is too easy for a potential customer to bypass you and choose your competitor.  Or to just delete your marketing email, if it even gets through the firewall. However, with print marketing you are putting your message directly into the hands of the potential customer.  Therefore, using print material to drive customers to your online tools making both a necessity.”

Social networking actually started in print if you look at the traditional business card for what it really is, a social medium.  Handing potential customers a business card is making a social connection, so expanding on that tool by imprinting LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or other social networking URLs on expertly produced marketing collateral is part of the evolution of modern marketing strategy that excites serious entrepreneurs.

More than half of respondents to a Nielsen survey said that they  have used social and print media advertising campaigns in conjunction with one another.  By adding customer feedback and testimonials from social media and website comment sections to customized print designs, printed marketing tools will compliment and strengthen the brand’s online presence.  Assumptions must not be made that any designer will properly handle the execution of a well-integrated campaign, however.  Done correctly, brand awareness and business growth is expanded on a dual front as print media will help draw attention to social media and other business sites, while online marketing can be used to fortify a solid print campaign.

During a marketing consultation with top leaders in the business service industry such as Minuteman Press, the seemingly endless scope of today’s integrated marketing campaign is revealed through a long-term partnership. Business owners supported in this way will be able to adapt and change the formula based on feedback from all channels, with the traditional and contemporary working and moving forward together towards greater business prosperity.

For cross media marketing and multi-channel marketing solutions that are tailored to meet the unique needs of your business, find and contact your local Minuteman Press at

Learn more about Minuteman Press design, marketing, and printing franchise opportunities by calling 1-800-645-3006 or simply fill out the contact form on this page.