Despite Digital’s Dominance, Print Is Still Alive & Kicking


In the late 1800s, one would often find flat-capped, suspender-wearing boys, sometimes as young as six, holding stacks of newspapers, shouting “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” on city street corners to alert passersby of breaking news featured in the “extra” editions they were peddling. Towards the end of 1900s (the turn of the millennium), if newsboys still existed, one could easily imagine them hollering “Extra! Extra! Print is dead!” in one last ironic hurrah. 

That’s when the Internet had just started taking off and was widely believed to be the death knell for non-digital newspapers, magazines, books, and other publications. Along with their predicted demise, print advertising, such as direct mail, magazine ads, and newspaper inserts, was also thought to have one proverbial foot in the grave. 

However, to paraphrase a famous saying often attributed to Mark Twain: the reports of print advertising’s death were greatly exaggerated. While advertising on websites, social media, search, streaming, and either digital channels have clearly risen to prominence and changed the marketing landscape due to the meteoric rise of smartphones and Internet use, print advertising continues to have a significant place in marketing strategies and can still be a powerful tool in your own. How so?

Print Still Packs a Punch

Global revenue from printed newspapers and magazines is projected to reach $123.5B in 2024. While that is a considerably smaller amount than it was just a decade ago, it’s still a considerable sum that shows people still value the printed topical word. 

According to an October 2022 report featuring a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, roughly two-thirds of adults reported said they still read printed magazines (68.5%) and newspapers (61.6%), while ad spending in the print advertising market worldwide was forecasted to reach $46.23B in 2024. Also in 2022, a USPS Office of Inspector General report on the value of mail during the pandemic revealed somewhat surprising insight, given our screen-obsessed age: 96% of those surveyed viewed mail as important and 69% checked for mail every day. These numbers are proof positive that people still value tangible, hard copy materials. 

Print Demands Greater Attention Compared to Many Other Channels

Nowadays, you may only receive a few pieces of mail per day or week, but this infrequency makes it more likely that you will view whatever you receive at some point. After all, when someone takes the time, money, and effort to mail you a mailer or letter, you naturally tend to consider it more important and personal than an email or broadcast commercial (e.g. a credit card bill, car insurance reissuance, or health care material). 

When you market your product or service via mail, recipients won’t know the what and why until they look it over. And this is your foot in the door. If just for a few seconds, a recipient of direct mail must at least analyze and consider it, unlike a digital ad or billboard ad which can easily be missed or ignored. Plus, keep in mind that there are no “ad blockers” to get in the way of your print marketing and your audience. So, while paper mail may be pricier and take longer than other channels, it can do a better job of garnering attention. 

Print Allows for Hyper-Targeting & Better Personalization

Print has become a unique way to reach certain audiences and further differentiate your brand from competitors. Having lived in a time when email didn’t exist, Boomers and Gen-Xers are used to direct mail, magazines, brochures, and other print pieces more so than younger generations, and typically value it more. However, that doesn’t mean that younger audiences wouldn’t also respond well.   

In the USPS OIG’s “value of mail” report, 75% of millennials felt special when receiving personal mail and 69% like receiving restaurant coupons in the mail. Furthermore, 89% of Generation Z, aka zoomers or post-millennials (born between 1997 and 2012) who rely heavily on technology, felt getting letters or cards made them feel special and 83% were happy when mail arrived. 

All generations and demographics can be targeted in some way with engaging print advertising thanks to its versatility and a ubiquitous appreciation for hard copy. Magazine and newspaper ads are especially effective, being that they are placed among surrounding content that the reader is likely to enjoy. Plus, the increased ability to personalize mailers and other print advertising allows you to better speak to potential audiences based on data-driven insights, their interests, and location. Gen Z in particular values individuality and personalized messaging. 

Print Reflects Greater Authenticity & Professionalism

While younger generations have a natural skepticism towards traditional marketing, they also desire and expect authenticity and transparency from brands, and print marketing is uniquely good at this. Conveying a sense of credibility and trustworthiness that digital marketing cannot always achieve, high-quality print ads show that your brand is willing to take the time and effort to create a physical marketing piece, which builds trust and credibility.

Print Is Resilient

With the overwhelming amount of rapid-fire messages online, scrolling is often so fast and mindless that the majority of those messages are missed and never get seen again. However, a person is likely to view a physical marketing print piece more than once. 

For instance, someone who receives a mailer may be interested in the advertised product or deal, but not ready or able to make a decision yet. So, they set it aside and revisit it at different times. Whether that person eventually throws it away or acts on it, the brochure, postcard, magazine ad, or one-page flier has multiple times to win the customer over. Digital, broadcast, and other fleeting channels can’t replicate the resilient experience that print provides. 

Print Stands Out Over Email

If you’re like most people, your email inbox is an overflowing, massive collection of personal, promotional, and spam communications, many of which you’ve never even opened. Then there’s your less-crammed physical mailbox where print marketing is much more likely to stand out, spark curiosity, and elicit engagement. Simply put, print marketing materials stand out and capture attention in a different, typically more-effective way than digital efforts.

Print Complements Digital Nicely

These days, it’s practically a must that your marketing strategy features an omni-channel approach which targets consumers across multiple channels and helps create a consistent message that resonates with them. The more relevant channels you use to reach customers, the likelier you are to get more bites. Print can be a powerful complement to your digital marketing, and you can even connect the two using QR codes on your print materials that lead to your website, social media profiles, or online discounts. 


While digital marketing continues to increase in popularity along with society’s reliance on the World Wide Web, smart businesses still work print marketing into their strategies for a number of differentiating benefits.  

At M:7 Agency, we specialize in an omni-channel approach that weaves together digital channels, such as websites, digital ads, and social media, with traditional channels, such as mailers, broadcast, and billboards, for maximum impact. For expert help with your print strategy including everything from brochures to postcards, start a conversation with us today!