One of my favorite things is reading the Sunday newspaper and feeling the grittiness of the newsprint under my fingertips, the slightly sweet smell of ink mingling with the aroma of my morning brew. I can’t imagine a world where the written word is not written on paper. However a persistent voice in the news and advertising world is whispering that print is dead.

Has digital killed the pressman?

In a world where numerous newspapers and magazines are closing their print divisions and expanding their digital presence, it is almost safe to assume, again, that print is dead. For years authorities such asHarvard Political Review have insisted that the demise of print is near, claiming that “With the meteoric rise of social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, many people have claimed that we are entering a new age in which news must be delivered in 140 characters or fewer.”

But is this true?

Any of us can see that of course print is alive and well. Our mailboxes hold just as much “junk mail” as before. Magazines and newspapers still include advertising in the majority of their print content. However, marketers have learned to evolve with the changing role of print in advertising. Traditional print advertising is now integrated with digital advertising. Innovative consumer engagement tactics can be implemented across print and digital mediums to measure the comparative performance among all channels. Facebook and Twitter has consumers interacting directly with advertisers through “likes,” “shares” and “comments.”

The digital age of marketing has brought a surge of information to marketer’s fingertips. Feedback is instantaneous with real-time updates on campaign effectiveness. And the demographics of the participating audience can be seen at the click of the mouse. However, with all of the instant satisfaction advertisers gain from their digital dashboards, some critics report that print is really the purest brand advertising.

“It’s really pure brand advertising. And digital tries to do some of that, but it’s still much more of a direct response. People still measure digital with click-throughs and conversion rates, and you can’t necessarily maintain marketing of a brand through digital alone. Print advertising is a very efficient way of establishing a brand identity and for communicating that to the target market,” says The American Marketing Association.

Friends ‘til the end

Inevitably, print will always have a toehold in the advertising realm. But in the ever-evolving digital world, print is now lending a helping hand to the bits and bytes of online advertising. We can answer the age-old question of “What came first? Print or Digital?” But it is up to marketers to decide which will survive the advertising endgame. Or, if print and digital can play nice together as friends.

Print is dead?

Nah…just evolved.



  1. Harvard Political Review, December 6, 2014, The Future of Print: Newspapers Struggle to Survive in the Age of Technology, By Tess Saperstein
  2. American Marketing Association, April 2015, Marketing News, Why Print Maters, by Molly Soat