Is This Farewell to Print Marketing?

the end of print marketing?It’s been like a slow train coming – more and more marketing is being turned over to digital formats, whether that’s websites, emails, e-newsletters, QR codes, video or social media.

Although brochures and leaflets etc., still hold a valid place in your marketing armoury, you do begin to wonder how long that will remain so. After all, if we look at consumer behaviour, it would suggest they will soon become a dim and distant memory like the humble pound note or vinyl.

The consumer leads the way

That’s where it all started (well, in my world anyway) – with music. I started off buying tapes of my favourite bands or vinyl singles. They were the best as far as I was concerned; that was until the CD arrived.

It wasn’t long before I was seduced by those shiny discs and my vinyl and tapes were consigned to the history books (and our loft). I thought CDs were the pinnacle – nothing could surpass their sound quality. But a few years down the line and I was confronted by the iPod and digital music downloads.

So, you guessed it, eventually I converted to downloading my music.

The same is happening to books.

A staunch lover of an actual book, I have vowed never to go over to the digital side. I love the feel and smell of a book; the ability to thumb through pages. I don’t care how cluttered my house gets (I simply can’t part with my books), I love browsing through book shops and buying books.

But, the other day I really wanted to read. Not having a book to hand (one that I hadn’t previously read), unable to wait for Amazon to deliver one, and certainly unwilling to brave the pre-Christmas crush in town, I did the unthinkable.

I reached for my iPad and, yes that’s right, downloaded a book.

Expecting to hate the experience, I have to say it’s not a bad way to read. Granted, I don’t have the physical book to touch or smell, but I can use a digital book mark, turn the pages almost as I would in real life, and enjoy it

That illustrates how consumers are embracing new technology and paving the way for change simply by accepting it.

We’ve already seen more and more people engage in online shopping rather than hitting the High Street, online banking, video calling, and social media – so perhaps the era of print marketing is drawing to a close.

The online way

Perhaps now companies should be investing more into their online presence. With the search boom continuing, their budgets may well be more wisely spent on search engine optimisation, professional copywriters, mobile websites, video and social media.

It would certainly appear that the effectiveness of print adverts is dwindling. So is this the beginning of the end?

What do you think?

Do you think we’re coming to the end of the print advertising era?

Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your views.

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#1 Mike Robinson on 01.03.12 at 9:21 am

I thought of myself as something of a luddite too, in that I really enjoy holding a book as well as having an impressive few shelves full of things to make me look smart! However, I have to agree that the digital formats that are now delivering books are very appealing and enjoyable to use.

From a marketing perspective there’s always going to be an avenue for print media – an area that used to be overcrowded – and companies will look to vary their media every so often by using it.

#2 admin on 01.03.12 at 9:53 am

Thanks MIke – glad I’m not the only one out there 🙂

#3 David on 01.03.12 at 9:51 am


I think there will always be a place for print books and adverts. I use my ereader for reading novels, but I prefer print books for reference and how-to guide, I can flick through them and look things up more easily.

Research has also found the people give more weight to information from heavy books. Neuromarketing thinks this could translate to digital – i.e. we take things we read online less seriously than those we read in print:

It’s certainly true for me. I give more time per item to emails than to items in my RSS reader. And I give more time to snail mail than email.

#4 admin on 01.03.12 at 9:54 am

Thanks for that David – very interesting…

#5 Jane Hooper on 01.04.12 at 3:16 pm

I think both will sit happily alongside each other. I tend to skim read on screen, whether it is a blog, website page or email. Something has to hit me straight away to carry on reading, however when I get something that has been printed I sit down and digest it more. Holiday brochures and newsletters are a classic example, I like to take my time over them, if they have something that catches my eye then I go online, but I like to know what I am looking for first, and print fulfills that need.
When it comes to reading books and magazines, as I spend all day looking at a screen my eyes need a break from all that light and the printed word does that.

#6 Matt on 01.06.12 at 9:42 pm

I don’t think the business of printing will go away anytime soon. Just go to a trade show and look at all the printed materials. Open your mailbox. Less mail than a few years ago? Pick up a menu. Posters. Banners. Flyers. Do you have a business card? I could go on but I think I’ve made my point. I think the printing business is changing…but not going away in our lifetimes.

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