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The Key Question – Print or Digital?

As MediaMax prepares to unveil all-new digital campaigns and packages—stay tuned!—we’ve continued to broaden the variety of capabilities our programs offer. As we advise our small business clients on how best to spend their limited marketing budgets specific to their needs, there is a question that is always key to the conversation: should I use print advertising or digital advertising, and what is the benefit of each?

Whether it be print, digital, TV, email, etc., no advertising strategy is the same, and every single medium has its uses. To develop a solid grasp of the role that each form of advertising plays, there is a sales model that is important to understand called the “marketing funnel.”

For those who are unfamiliar, picture the marketing funnel as the journey through which a consumer chooses to buy a product. The top of the funnel signifies the first time a consumer becomes aware of the product, the middle of the funnel signifies a growing interest in the product—trickling down toward the decision—and finally comes the action of buying the product.

The general rule is that print advertising is better for branding and awareness, or top-of-funnel targeting. Reaching people in our iconic, Conde Nast titles is especially beneficial to help boost your brand, but as studies have shown, print advertising can give a helpful hand in the lower funnel as well. This is exemplified by the leading $3.94 Return on ad Spend that magazine advertising boasts–leading all forms of advertising.

Just as the general rule is that print is better used for top-of-funnel branding and awareness, digital is better for bottom funnel conversions. “Book now” or “buy now” display ads can be immensely helpful in driving sales, but as our VP of sales, Cara, reminds us time and time again, starting a digital campaign with branding and awareness is essential for the smaller brands, so that the consumer can develop a bit of recognition before being directed to a conversion campaign.

Ideally, an integrated print and digital campaign is the best way to convert sales, because you can introduce your brand to consumers through print, and then lead them through the bottom of the funnel by retargeting with digital. While many small businesses have limited budgets and cannot spend on both, we focus on creating starter programs so that even companies with modest ad budgets can get a taste of how these strategies enhance their business.