“Print is dead.” You've heard the quote before, but you might not know which famous movie character uttered it: Dr. Egon Spangler in 1984's blockbuster “Ghostbusters.” The scene, embedded here, portrays Spangler (played by the legendary Harold Ramis) mistaking secretary Janine's attraction to him for small talk. When she says she bets he reads a lot, he answers “print is dead,” a supposedly prophetic statement that would become the war cry for so many online advertisement programs nearly two decades later. The only problem, it seems, is that despite Dr. Spangler's incredible ability to develop technology that could track, catch and contain spirits, he was entirely wrong – to the nth degree. Print wasn't dead in 1984, and it's not dead now. In fact, the advancement of technology hasn't hindered print at all – conversely, it has made it an even more powerful marketing tool. There are three main reasons for this:
- Online media has made it possible for companies to launch more comprehensive campaigns, with one type of marketing playing off the other for the greater good of the company. A good example would be QR codes printed on postcards that, when scanned, take customers to high-conversion landing pages.
- The rush of many companies to put their marketing monies online has left savvy small business marketers with fewer competitors in the print world. While online ads have to compete with so many competitors and distractions, print marketing in the form of catalogs, postcards and posters, among others, stand a greater chance of commanding target customer attention.
- Last but not least, technology has made print marketing even friendlier to small businesses than ever before. Advances such as do-it-yourself campaign building and graphic design software, the ability to upload graphic files and get electronic proofs, cheaper yet higher-quality digital printing, and streamlined delivery makes it possible for even single entrepreneurs to compete against the “big boys.”
Is print dead? Not by a long shot, and anyone who thinks it is is either blind to modern marketing, ignorant or too darn stubborn to admit they were wrong. I say they should let us do what we do best and stick to what they do best – including movie scientists. After all, the quote in question came from a guy who admittedly collects “spores, molds and fungus.” Fascinating.