"OK, so 'digital-or-print' is the new 'paper-or-plastic,'" says Doug Stern in an article at MarketingProfs. "[So, when is it] more appropriate to stick a stamp on [a marketing message] … than hit the Send button?" Before you make your decision, he recommends asking questions like these:

What does this customer prefer? Don't guess; go ahead and ask what her preference might be. "Remember," he says, "that the answer really doesn't matter as much as the question. Asking is the point."

How much is it worth to stand out? Because so much business communication happens online, a print alternative might attract more attention. If speed matters, send an e-card; otherwise, the real thing might face less competition for a recipient's attention.

Is it really either/or? There might be times when a strategy can benefit from a combination of print and digital components.

Is anybody there? As hard as it is for some of us to believe, a significant number of customers don't use the Internet at all. For instance, Stern cites a study that found merchandisers still get a reasonable ROI from print catalogs.

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