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Five Questions to Ask Before You Hit Send

by Doug Stern  |  
March 31, 2009

OK, so, "digital or print" is the new "paper or plastic." Are there still times, however, when it's more appropriate to stick a stamp on it rather than hit the Send button?


It's hardly news that a growing number of businesses have turned to online tools for all kinds of B2B and B2C marketing communication. I recently heard an estimate that about 70 percent of all business communication is done online. (I'd be shocked if it weren't a lot higher.)

Some businesses opting for digital instead of print do it because they've gone green. Others want to harness the Internet's speed, reach, and other capabilities. The rest like the convenience of online or have some other strategic purpose that points them that way.

Take a deep breath. I'm not going to try to put the genie back in the bottle. No one expects a renaissance for door-to-door sales.

Still, it might pay to slow down and make sure that you've picked the better route... or, combination of tools. So, here's a list of filters to consider.

I'll start with the one I judge to be a deal-breaker.

How important is this relationship?

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Doug Stern ( is a freelance business writer and marketing strategist based in Louisville, KY. Contact him at 502-599-6624 or

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  • by Elaine Fogel Tue Mar 31, 2009 via web

    Thanks for referring to my article, Doug! I agree with you wholeheartedly. One thing I'll add is about the analogy of print/electronic to "paper vs. plastic." Plastic takes something like 400 years to break down in a landfill. Paper is recycled and, with the use of environment-friendly inks and reforestation, keeps many people working in the pulp and paper industry, forestry, printing, etc.

    It would also be interesting to learn how many poeple print off longer electronic articles and resources to read on paper. As my research shows, we process and retain information easier on paper.

  • by Spryka Tue Mar 31, 2009 via web

    Thank you for writing such a thorough and rich article. I learned something new and hope to give this technique a test drive soon. Really fantastic article.

  • by Brenna Sowder Wed Apr 1, 2009 via web

    Great points to consider, which all get to the core of giving your customers what they want. So true that standing out from the crowd may actually involve NOT going digital and making "meaningful" printed connections. Likely the same company would benefit from doing both in different instances. Considering the differences between the method of communication should not get lost in the digital hype -- this article asks us to take that minute and consider the implications. Thank you for this great insight!

  • by Tom Donofrio Wed Apr 1, 2009 via web

    I sell printing,direct mail and multi touch marketing using both the internet and print. This is a great article to show clients and prospective clients that going strictly digital may not be the best option. Print is still a very viable option and when used in conjunction the internet can net you tremendous results. Thank you.

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