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The massive influence that social media has had—and will continue to have—means that in the marketing world, many people are mourning the death of print. But what they should be doing is combining print marketing with social media marketing, creating a synergistic effect that’s highly powerful.

Social media is unquestionably on top when it comes to customer engagement; there’s nothing that can compete with the real-time interactions that platforms such as Twitter and Facebook allow for. However, it’s the very ubiquity of digital marketing that makes print so useful, because as the world turns increasingly towards a digital life, print stands out for its ability to provide tangible, touchable advertising media. For local service-oriented businesses in particular, print is still very much a major part of advertising. And retailers still make heavy use of print, with catalogues, brochures, and other material still in evidence in mailboxes every week.

These days, however, a marketing strategy that includes only print elements is unlikely to be as effective as it once was. What’s needed is a new approach, one that combines the benefits of print with the immediacy and the engagement levels of social media. This approach has a number of significant benefits:

  • Social media can be time-consuming, and for sole traders and small businesses it can be difficult to maintain one or more social media accounts. It’s more feasible to keep your online presence small and focused if you have printed advertising material to back you up.
  • Integration allows you to target a wider range of people. For the most part, younger people are more likely to respond to digital marketing, while seniors are more likely to respond to print. There are definitely exceptions, of course, and the generational lines that exist here are increasingly blurred, but it’s still a good general rule, and if you’re trying to target a younger demographic, adding digital elements to your printed advertising is a good strategy.
  • Adding social media elements to a marketing strategy can help update your image. Print is highly useful, but in comparison to social media it’s sometimes viewed as old-fashioned. Integrating social media elements provides a simple way of modernizing your advertising and, by extension, your company brand.

Be wary, however, of focusing on digital marketing to the exclusion of print, especially if your advertising has always incorporated print in the past—there’s little to be gained by attracting a new demographic if you alienate your existing customer base in the process.