Why digital and print marketing make a winning combination

Why digital and print marketing make a winning combination


AdvertorialLondon + Culture Calling explain how combining print and digital marketing makes a dynamic strategy to deliver the best ROI.


It’s fair to say that print marketing, in all its forms, went out of favour when shiny new digital marketing arrived. There have been many reports since, and indeed a spotlight on several high profile brands, detailing the perils of putting all your marketing budget into a single marketing channel.  Digital marketing has, in particular, been beaten up in recent times for delivering short term sales vs its ability to build long term brand affiliation. This often includes generating high kick-backs for media agencies thus skewing the real picture, and adds to misconceptions by marketers that inadvertently reinforce the effectiveness of digital marketing.

Integrated marketing

This piece isn’t about looking into the nitty gritty of who’s right and who’s wrong but a thought that developing a truly integrated marketing plan will always win the day. It’s an approach espoused by all the great marketing theorists and has proven time and time again to boost overall campaign effectiveness.  Not least because we human beings like variety. We see things at different times, absorb messages through different media at varying rates, and absolutely need to see marketing messages time and time again for them to finally seep into our conscious before possibly parting with our hard earned cash.

If you look at two of those marketing channels, which are often seen as diametrically opposed – one drives short term sales, one does not - it’s important to take a closer look and consider their respective benefits to see how they each have a part to play in delivering marketing success.

So age first… print marketing

We know it’s been around since the advent of the printing press and a lot of marketing budget has been poured into pure print campaigns over the decades. Indeed brands have been built on print marketing campaigns alone. But just what makes it ride the test of time and create a unique place in today’s marketing mix?

“Some of the most impactful pieces of marketing these days are the ones that are physical and keepable. That’s what stands out, simply because so much is digital.”

There isn’t one simple answer. But there has been considerable research looking into how we interact, process and remember physical print messages together with print design. Neuroscientists have shown through robust studies that print holds major benefits for marketers and for ease, we’ve summarised their key insights below:

  • Print marketing in the second most effective medium for driving short-term sales (Ebiquity Re-evaluating Print, 2017)
  • Brand recall is 31% higher if marketing messages are read on paper versus online (Canada Mail, 2018)
  • Print marketing ranks amongst the most trusted marketing channels (Marketing Sherpa)
  • Printed direct mail has a long shelf-life, kept in the house for up to 17 days and passed around family members (Royal Mail 2018)
  • We show deeper interest in marketing messages when we read them on paper

One of the main reasons for higher print brand recall is that paper makes content more intuitively navigable.  It inherently allows for better mental “mapping” of information meaning that we make internal maps of the whole page, something which doesn’t happen when we process content in a digital format.  Reading on paper also drains fewer of our cognitive resources because we only have one static thing to read rather than getting distracted with interactive buttons, flashing ads, pop-ups and much more besides.

Put simply, everything is just a little easier on the brain which helps us to remember more of the marketing message.

“When you look at the research on the ground, we see that, for the foreseeable future a combination of print and digital – the two in balance is the smart play.”

Peter Field, Marketing Consultant

What about the ‘new’ kid on the block?

Digital Marketing isn’t now new per se. But what is staggering is how much the industry has developed and matured during its lifetime and how it continues to evolve at lightning speed.

The benefits of connecting with consumers online are prolific.  Target marketing really came into its own with the arrival of digital marketing as advertisers could find their specific audience type – be that by location, interest, age, sex etc – with a dedicated ad message or messages and encourage a reaction. All with apparent minimal wastage.

Secondary to that, tracking campaign performance has become the most talked about digital benefit between client and agency. Being able to see if a campaign is either succeeding or failing whilst live, and then adjusting its course at the same time, is something that simply wasn’t possible before online marketing insights came along.

Now, we are constantly tweaking and testing digital advertising in order to improve campaign conversion rates as we invest where we are in demand.

Digital marketing has the very obvious benefit of giving us a richer insight into our customer base.  The more we can understand , the better insight we have into their behaviour so we can find emotional triggers and use them to engage customers.   Greater reach, if you’re doing a good job, should stimulate word of mouth and a nice snowball effect.

One of the greatest features of digital marketing is the ability to test 2 different ideas for the same campaign. This way you can optimise your campaign’s creative based on results and not just on instinct or gut feel.

“In a connected world brands need both interaction and action.  Perhaps, then, the secret to smarter marketing lies at the cross-roads of physical and digital”

 Why not put the old and new together?

Different media types have always been employed to achieve something greater than the sum of its parts. When you dissect the attributes of the two tried and tested channels we’ve looked at in this thought piece, you get a sense for why both print and digital marketing can and should work hand-in-hand with each other.  Match physical and often beautiful artwork positioned in reach of people who are really engaged and in the right mindset to book an event, together with digital reminders of the same message landing direct into people’s inboxes, and the chances of driving sales rise exponentially.


If you want to talk to us more about integrated campaigns and how we can support you plan a campaign, build awareness and sales, please drop Gary an email at gary@londoncalling.com or call him direct at: 07557 943859.

Download 'Old and new can be a winning combination' as a PDF (behind a data wall). The first 10 people to download the article will receive a copy of Seth Godin's Wall Street and New York Times Bestseller 'This is Marketing'.

London Calling logo

Browse by learning pillars
Marketing Planning
Browse by smart tags
Marketing mix Print
Resource type: Articles | Published: 2022