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The bulk of my work at Haley Marketing deals with print media. I know a little about web and email design and am learning more, but primarily I’m a print guy. And I always hear about how “print is dead.” The debate over the viability of print has been going on for a while now. There are a lot of good discussions and viewpoints on the topic. A strong case for the “It’s Dead” camp comes from Jeff Gomez and his “Print is Dead” blog.

I agree with his point that the publishing process is now digital and electronic media are becoming more and more prevalent in our society. The distribution channels to your desktop, phone and whatever-next-generation of hand-held gadgets will continue to grow, whereas the conduits for print will diminish. Despite the sellouts and reprints needed to meet the demand for newspapers covering Barack Obama’s election victory, the circulation of periodicals has been dropping. Many of these publishers now maintain significant web presences, which reach many more readers.

But print will remain relevant for some time to come. Why? For starters, you can’t turn a book off. It’s always there and ready to go. The technology that went into making that book gets more efficient, automated and sophisticated, but the end result is decidedly low-tech. And that is print’s advantage. Digital media requires a more voluntary user participation – you need to log onto it. Print media is harder to avoid. Consider direct mail and outdoor advertising. Can you really tune it all out? From bumper stickers to billboards, t-shirts to Times Square, print media is grabbing our attention everywhere we look. As long as ink is spread onto some surface to communicate a message, then print is alive. Case in point, here’s a little blog post about the advantages of print.

When it comes to your marketing, the debate over print versus digital media is, for today, irrelevant. They both work. They’re just different channels for reaching your clients. The question to answer is when and how to use them. Besides, even in another hundred years, people will probably still be handing out business cards – the smallest and simplest channel for speaking to your audience.

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