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Online and offline marketing: two sides of the same coin

Marketing comes in many different forms. Online and print marketing are particularly interesting because they appeal to different generations. Young and modern people use the Internet every day. Older people prefer to read a newspaper.

In online marketing, advertising is specifically placed where the majority of people spend several hours a day, on the Internet. Platforms such as social media channels, shopping platforms, search engines or online blogs and magazines are part of the professional or private everyday life. This type of marketing has many advantages and possibilities.

One possibility of implementation is the activation of online ads, a widespread advertising system would be, for example, Google AdWords. Companies can use this system to place advertisements relating to their own services, products or job offers. Advertisements of this kind are only displayed if search terms are searched for. If the potential customer, for example, searches the Internet for a current blockbuster, the current film program of the local cinema usually also appears. This advertising principle can also be implemented on a smaller budget.

In addition to advertisements, social media contributions are a good way of advertising. Investments into sponsored articles can be profitable, in the best case the article goes viral and becomes stronger in people’s minds. (cf. Kastenholz 2014) In order for companies to take centre stage, it is important that the contributions differentiate themselves from other competitors. Under no circumstances should your own website be neglected. The website is the main focus for the presentation of the company. Here a larger investment is worthwhile. With a good website in terms of design, findability and timeliness, the entire company automatically appears more professional.

A disadvantage of online marketing is differentiation. Advertisement recipients are confronted with this on a daily basis, sometimes even on a massive scale. Recipients are sometimes so hardened or annoyed that advertising is no longer noticed at all. User sometimes activate so-called ad blockers, which block complete advertisements, such as commercials before the start of a YouTube video. Online advertising is also difficult to control. Advertising systems such as Google AdWords are practical in the concrete definition of the target group, but there is no contact with the advertisement unless a keyword was explicitly searched for (cf. ENWITO GmbH 2016).

According to Prof. Dr. Franz-Rudolf Esch, print marketing means “all advertising messages that appear in printed form in corresponding media.” (cf. Esch, 2019) The transmission is visual. The rapid growth of online marketing has pushed print advertising into the background at younger companies. However, this medium is still relevant in general and in certain age groups. Just because companies reach potentially more customers through the Internet does not mean they can win them over. Print marketing also offers very good opportunities here. Printed advertising is more memorable than digital advertising. As a rule, people at least take a quick look at a printed flyer that they have just received. By contrast, advertising emails in spam folders are not even opened or online ads are overlooked. The visual and sensual perception is an advantage here. In the best case, printed advertising is taken along and stored by a potential customer.


The print medium is much more long-lived than a single advertisement on the Internet. One possibility here would be to design a good business card. This is a good opportunity to establish yourself in people’s minds. Through advertising gifts and giveaways, the sense of touch is addressed. Advertising in the form of calendars or pens could have a long-lasting effect if they are used in everyday life. The sense of smell can also be used. Perfumed paper could be used in the production of business cards. Smells that are positive may automatically be associated positively with the company.  This can be remembered for longer than a normal print ad. Print marketing also includes advertising sent or delivered to potential customers. This type of advertising is not particularly successful because only very few households show a reaction.

However, print advertising also has many disadvantages. Compared to online marketing, the printed form is more cost-intensive. In addition, mistakes in online contributions and advertisements can be corrected afterwards, while a printing error is permanent and very costly to fix. In order to identify the target group, companies only have to specify the target group for online contributions, but this is not so easy with print marketing. A targeted distribution of flyers to hotspots of the target group does not guarantee that it will be reached. The same goes for mass mailings. The addressees are usually chosen randomly and the effort of distribution is very high. This makes it difficult to measure how many people actually react to the advertisement. The two forms of marketing have many advantages and disadvantages depending on the intentions of the company.

Another possibility would be to combine the two forms. This allows mutual complementation to expand the range of the target group. This is possible by referencing the other medium. (cf. Kastenholz 2014) QR codes are a useful example. They are used to attract customers from the print medium to online portals. Other print products such as catalogues could be ordered on the online portals. Your own Internet presence should be directly linked to tangible media. Customer reviews published on the Internet could be printed on flyers or the companies could refer to an online lottery or discount promotions. The problem here is to find the perfect balance.

Works cited

Esch. Printwerbung, Springer Gabler | Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ca. 2019, https://wirtschaftslexikon.gabler.de/definition/printwerbung-43447

ENWITO GmbH. Onlinemarketing oder Printwerbung, ENWITO GmbH, November 2016, https://www.mi-marketing.de/onlinemarketing-oder-printwerbung/

Kastenholz. Online-Marketing vs. Printwerbung, Software & Support Media GmbH, ca. 2014, https://entwickler.de/online/webmagazin/online-marketing-vs-printwerbung-540.html

Zervant. 5 effektive Print-Marketing-Strategien für dein Unternehmen, Zervant, 2018, https://www.zervant.com/de/blog/5-effektiveprint-marketing-strategien-fuer-dein-unternehmen/