These days there are a great number of choices for marketing. Printed materials including brochures, flyers, direct mail postcards and large format options like posters and banners are used by companies to promote their products. On the other hand, electronic options like websites, direct marketing through email and social networking reach a wide audience. Printed materials have many advantages, but they have some disadvantages, too. That’s why when many companies put together a strategic marketing plan, they include print materials as well as electronic media.

Branding Advantage

One advantage of print materials is that they give the company an opportunity to saturate the market with the brand message. Businesses can use the design department of a commercial print company or an advertising or art studio to create logos and illustrations to identify the firm. They can also use proprietary font styles and colors to further identify the company. When consumers see this consistent branding message on posters, flyers, packaging and postcards, the brand message of the company is reinforced.

Accessing the Consumer Advantage

Another advantage of print materials is that they connect with the consumer without having to wait for the consumer to initiate action. Websites, email and social networking can be effective, but the customer needs to log onto the website, open the email and participate in social networking. Also, some people block pop-up advertising on their computers and some do not have Internet access. Consumers walking or driving by a large format banner or poster will receive the message without having to do a thing. Direct mail postcards and brochures delivered right to the home of a targeted demographic can feature high-quality graphics that entice the recipient to read the marketing message.

Staying Power Advantage

Printed materials have staying power in the home or office. An informational brochure or catalog can be on hand for reference, even when online options are not available. Some people prefer to “dog ear” or bookmark printed material or take notes right on the printed page.

Updating Disadvantage

Updating printed material generally takes more time than updating other media. Changing a brochure to include new information can take time for layout, design and printing, while updating a website or email message may be as quick and easy as the click of a mouse. Also, updating a website is generally less expensive than changing, printing and mailing out a new brochure.

Length Disadvantage

For printed materials, longer documents may cost more than shorter documents. When using email and websites, length is generally not an issue. It is also easier to store electronic documents because they take up less space than printed materials.