What Is the Advantage & Disadvantage of Print vs. Electronic Media?

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Despite the huge influx of electronic media advertising as of 2015, print still has a place in a company's promotional strategy. The key is to know when newspapers, magazines and print collateral offer efficient and impacting ways to engage your target audience.

Print Media Advantages

The enduring message is a core benefit of print media, according to a January 2014 Association Media and Publishing article. A newspaper or magazine article may sit on a table or in a rack at a home or business, allowing for repeated exposures moving forward. Brochures, flyers and other collateral pieces often are reviewed multiple times and shared with other potential buyers. In contrast, many types of digital messaging, including banner ads, disappear after generating an impression.

Print media also enables reader flexibility. Magazines in particular have high reader engagement because readers often give the publication full attention. Electronic messages, however, typically get delivered without warning or consideration of reader preparedness.

For some buyers, taking a print ad or coupon to the store for help in buying is preferred relative to using electronic communication. The sensory experience of touching the ad while looking at a compelling message improves the impact as well, according to Association Media and Publishing.

Print Media Disadvantages

A glaring deficiency of print media relative to electronic media is cost. Simply put, you have no print costs when you deliver a message electronically. The savings is most extensive when you contrast electronic messaging against full-color, glossy finish magazine ads or brochures.

Timing and flexibility are far inferior with print media. A company can deliver or adjust many types of digital messages within the same day a decision is made. Newspapers typically need at least a day or two lead time, and magazines require several weeks to place an ad. Thus, a spontaneous ad with a relevant message is easier to make happen electronically.

Advertisers don't get timely responses and data tracking with print ads as they do with electronic messages. Follow-up studies are necessary to gauge the response to print advertisements. As soon as someone clicks on an electronic ad, his progress through the decision-making or purchase process is measured. This tracking allows for more clear understanding of engagement electronically.

Print ads don't have nearly the engagement and sharing opportunities offered electronically. Social media "Likes" or message shares demonstrate interaction with ads. The ability to share or e-mail ads quickly to friends and followers allows for rampant expansion of electronic advertising.

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