The Role of Print in a Tradigital World

Posted on April 12th, 2019 by True Media


Advertisers have more choices than ever on how to allocate their client’s ad spending budgets. While print advertising has been perceived by many as a dying industry, this form of advertising is still very much effective for certain demographics and situations. Advertisers are using print in new ways as an ally to other mediums in an effort to create fuller campaigns that blend the strengths of print with the accessibility of digital. We asked a couple of our media experts to weigh in on the dynamic role of print in today’s advertising landscape and how they think print will continue to be developed and blended into advertising strategies to create more effective campaigns.


Ted Blumberg
Associate Media Director, Digital

Those lamenting the death of print should be prepared to see print survive and even selectively thrive for some time. While the print industry has experienced huge losses over the past 20+ years, print is expected to surpass radio and out-of-home media spend for at least the next several years. Many digital enthusiasts are too quick to dismiss the strong role print continues to play in our world. Though Millennials are expected to surpass Baby Boomers in number this year, some 72 million Boomers who were raised on a steady diet of newspapers and magazines remain. The majority of these individuals are proficient in our digital world through many still like their print. In professional communication, many trade pubs and journals continue to be published on paper. Despite being supplemented by digital editions, many of their older-skewing adult readers still appreciate ink on the written page. And it’s not all about the older audience, as college campuses and high schools continue to publish print newspapers for their primary consumers—teens and young adults.

Is print what it used to be? No. Will it ever be again? No. But while it may be ailing in its old age, it’s not giving up the fight to stay alive and meaningful to multiple generations who still embrace it.



Elizabeth Van Kort
Associate Media Director, Digital

First of all, I should acknowledge the elephant in the room – my background is in digital media. However, as a person who “grew up” in the digital side of the agency world, I have a deep respect for all types of media. Thus, I believe the best strategy to media planning and buying is a “tradigital” approach.

Tradigital is the current state of the industry, whether or not your current agency structure embraces it. It is more than just a buzzword, it reflects the complex and exciting landscape where traditional isn’t going away but is rather morphing with digital into exciting new ways for us to connect our customers with their customers. Tradigital is user-centric at its root – focusing on the individual consumer and how they consume media – rather than bucketing media into historical and overly-simplified silos of merely traditional and digital. A tradigital approach understands not only that traditional and digital media are ever-evolving, but also that most media types are overlapping. Consumers are flipping through a magazine and discovering an exciting new product, then searching for more information about the product on their phone and simultaneously asking Alexa where they can buy it – and no worries, they’ll be retargeted with a Free Shipping offer in their Facebook news feed within the next five minutes!

For an agency, this is such an exciting time to be focused on the consumer and how we introduce our clients to them at the right time, in the right place, and with the right message. It means that planning for all media components needs to be seamless and a deep understanding of user behavior is non-negotiable. Print isn’t going away, TV isn’t going away, radio isn’t going away. However, the ways in which consumers interact with each of these mediums are changing and they are becoming connected at a level they never have been before. Agencies must have internal teams that understand this, and equally great media suppliers that are ever growing their advertising offerings. Agencies should always be looking for opportunities to be “first in market” with new opportunities – and no one should wait for an opportunity to magically present itself. Truly innovative agencies will work with media partners to create opportunities that don’t even exist.

All that being said, as traditional media continues to go through its metamorphosis, I hope we can all remember why it was there in the first place – because of its value. The tangible nature of traditional media has immense value and a physical impact when implemented correctly. This needs to, of course, be complemented by the data-driven solutions on the digital side. But at the end of the day, it is about the user, and all the media types that the user goes to and relies upon – and how we can interact with that user via media channels. Are they consuming video? Great, let’s find out what cable, broadcast, CTV, online and social channels they consume. Are they listening to audio? Perfect, we are ready to find which radio stations, online audio platforms, in-home devices, and wearables they listen to most.

You get the idea. The mission should be to connect our clients’ customers to their customers. And how can we do that? By focusing on the customer themselves – and how they interact with the vast array of ever-changing media types.