Printers and Digital Marketing: A Prosperous Duo

The digital age dawned quite some time ago, and yet it continues to evolve in new and challenging ways. As it does, businesses must evolve as well—particularly printers. People have begun to fully embrace the benefits of an online presence for marketing, from the easy and effective social media route to the higher tech eye-tracking in video ads. Some have mistakenly assumed these developments entail the death of physical marketing.

No matter what the tech guys would have you believe, they still need printers in marketing to reach consumers because, no matter how hard we try, we still haven’t figured out a way to spend 100 percent of our time looking at computer screens. Printers will always have a place in marketing, but the savvy business owner will use technology to his advantage to grow. One must simply look for the opportunities to combine digital and physical marketing. Here are just a few.

Wide-Format Print

Wide-format printing has an advantage in that very few business owners have access to the printers needed to produce cutouts, flipcharts, and the like. Also, almost all wide-format printing is used for display purposes, meaning that it is able to catch the eye of passing consumers in public places in a way that digital marketing has yet to match.

If a company is active on Twitter, you can use some of the positive interactions on it in print ads. A good example is to print up posters of large-scale Tweet testimonials from consumers. Hanging these posters in offices and perhaps even as banners can marry digital and paper outreach.

Another way to combine the forces of digital and physical is to display a Web page in your place of business. If a client has a well-designed homepage that they’re proud of, you can bring its elements into the work space by printing it on a custom wall mural to hang in the lobby. Also suggest to clients that they can display their mission statement, social media handles, or employee bios straight from their webpage. You will not only foster a cohesive brand image online and off, but your clients get more bang for their buck when it comes to Web design.

Small-Format Print

Because small-format printing is more practicable for people to do for themselves, the strength of printers lies in their quality and their ingenuity. Present to printing customers the ideas of combining digital and paper marketing to show them that your services are still pertinent.

People still pick up promotional brochures, pamphlets, and bookmarks, but it’s important to include all social media handles and your website URL on them to unify a digital presence with a physical one. While one of the benefits of digital marketing is that it saves costs on paper, its prevalence also means that being able to hold an actual product in your hand is becoming somewhat rare. Use this to your advantage by encouraging colorful, artistic, high quality designs on your small-format products that people won’t want to throw away. Even smaller printed marketing has more visibility than a Web page if it is well made, particularly packaging.

More importantly, printing QR codes onto such materials is an easy way to bridge paper marketing to a website. Business cards, too, can carry a QR code to a website, essentially handing out the website to potential customers. The magic of QR codes is that they are a paper endeavor that provides the interactivity that draws so many people to digital marketing campaigns. Use this to your advantage as a printer to encourage the sale of small-format products.

While weathering the change into the digital realm could require expanding your printing business’ offerings, optimizing your current ones will be the most cost-effective. Competing with digital marketing directly is difficult and futile. But print is still vital in marketing and the printers who use digital marketing as an asset will stand the test of time. Evolve your products with the digital landscape to turn your competitor into your ally.

Chris Garrett is a marketing specialist and designer. He believes that adaptability is the most important quality any business or industry can possess. Contact him at