The No-Print Pothole:  How Digital Only Leaves a Huge Gap 

Has print really had its day and can digital really replace it in the marketing mix?

Explore B2B’s Caroline McCormack asks just that in her article “Cross media marketing the cast for digital vs print.”

She begins her article carefully outlining the advantages of digital over print, at least from a marketer’s point of view: faster, easier, more immediate, able to engage with the online audience, etc. We’ve heard all of these reasons to love digital before.

Then she relates her experience at a luxury car dealership, where a salesman was speaking with two potential customers.

“Eavesdropping on the conversation, the couple were interested in a particular model, they’d practically made up their minds what they wanted and had requested a brochure of the model to take home so they could decide their final colour/selection choices,” McCormack writes.

The salesman told the couple that they don’t have printed brochures anymore, but they could visit their website to download the information they needed.

McCormack wasn’t the least bit surprised by the couple’s response: “Seriously you expect me to spend £40K+ on one of your cars and the car manufacturer can’t be bothered to provide a glossy brochure for me to take home?”

As McCormack notes, “If the couple had left with their brochure, a connection in the real world would have been made and at worst the salesman would have at least taken their details with a view to messaging them and further engaging until they did buy the car.”

Consumers, even digitally savvy ones, engage in real time in many channels and expect the brands with which they do business to meet them there when they arrive. If they want a print brochure, they will not be happy being told to download it themselves — using their own time, ink and paper for something they rightfully feel the company should provide.

By taking a common sense look at how your customer really engages with you on their journey to purchase, it becomes glaringly obvious that to neglect print will leave gaping holes in their experience. And you can’t patch those holes with any amount of digital intervention.