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3 min read

Why Relying on Digital Marketing Alone Isn't Enough

By Michelle Nieset

Here at HLM we take pride in helping our clients fill their open capacity through leveraging digital marketing tactics. However, coming from the voice of a digital marketer, I’m here to tell you why I believe digital marketing is becoming increasingly saturated. Now is the time for business owners to revisit traditional tactics to help differentiate themselves in a crowded market..  

The Digital Dilemma: Saturation and Rising Costs

Don’t get me wrong, digital marketing is very effective and often the key to staying present throughout the consumer's journey to purchase. With a variety of online advertising platforms and numerous ways to target the right people all while capturing real-time data, digital advertising has given us a lens into a world that didn’t exist before. 

Yet, these advantages come with challenges. The online advertising space has become inundated with competition, making it harder for brands to stand out. Consumers are bombarded with digital ads daily, often leading to ad fatigue and banner blindness, where some consciously or subconsciously can ignore online advertisements. 

Not to mention, the cost of digital advertising continues to grow. According to a recent article by Search Engine Land, Google search advertising spend in the U.S. rose by 17% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2024. Click growth continued to slow, hitting 4% YoY (compared to 8% in Q4 2023). Cost-per-click continues to increase – up 13% YoY (compared to a 9% year-on-year increase in Q4 2023). With high demand and diminishing click volume, digital advertising has become quite costly.

So how can brands defend themselves from becoming background noise to potential customers all while combating these rising costs? Here are some ideas to consider:

The Revival of Print Marketing

Remember the days of coupon collecting and getting excited to see more than just bills in your mailbox? Well I sure do and I tell you what, for the same reasons as back then, print marketing still presents a compelling marketing alternative for businesses. 

Despite the digital shift, print media retains its unique strengths – tangibility, credibility, and longevity. Print materials like postcards, magazines, direct mailers, and flyers provide a physical connection that digital mediums simply can’t. Here’s how incorporating print marketing can rejuvenate your overall brand strategy:

1. Tangible Connections
Print marketing creates a tangible experience. Holding a well-designed brochure or scanning a coupon code from a postcard engages multiple senses, making the brand experience more memorable. This medium allows for greater connection with the audience, translating to higher engagement and more brand recognition.

2. Credibility and Trust
Print media is often perceived as more credible and trustworthy than digital ads, which can be plagued by ad fraud and bot traffic. High-quality print materials convey professionalism and attention to detail, enhancing your brand’s reputation. For example, a beautifully designed postcard with an attractive promotion can leave a lasting impression on potential customers. If you’re like me, you probably have a drawer full of these, ready to use and get that discount!

3. Direct Mail Campaigns
Direct mail is a powerful tool in print marketing. Personalized mailers can be highly effective in reaching specific demographics. With advanced printing technologies, businesses can customize messages for different segments, increasing the relevance and impact of their campaigns. Direct mail also benefits from higher open and response rates compared to email marketing. In fact, statistics show that 70% of customers say direct mail is more personal than digital interactions.

4. Complementing Digital Efforts
Print marketing doesn’t have to stand alone – nor should it; it works best when integrated with digital strategies. For instance, at HLM our Print Marketing offering incorporates a Custom Landing Page with QR codes on all uniquely designed print materials to create a seamless, omnichannel experience. This multi-channel approach leverages the strengths of both mediums to maximize reach and effectiveness.

Other Traditional Mediums

Aside from print, it’s important for businesses to consider other offline marketing channels that help their marketing dollars go further and create a strong brand presence:

1. Outdoor Advertising
Yes, I said it! Believe it or not, billboards, transit ads, and posters offer high visibility and can capture the attention of a broad audience – even through subliminal interactions. Strategic placements in high-traffic areas provide an opportunity to boost brand awareness. Unlike digital ads that can be easily ignored, outdoor advertising provides exposure that’s hard to miss, ensuring your message reaches a diverse range of potential customers.

2. Networking and Events
Despite a shift in becoming a virtual world, face-to-face interactions remain invaluable in building relationships and trust. Putting faces to names, shaking hands with someone, and enjoying some small talk can leave a lasting impression. So I’d encourage business owners to consider attending an industry conference, trade show, or local event that gets you out there to network with potential clients and partners. You could even consider hosting a branded event or sponsoring community activities to help enhance brand visibility and foster a positive image.


Bottom Line: Digital Marketing is Better with Backup. In an era dominated by digital marketing, exploring traditional channels like print marketing can provide a refreshing and effective way to support your brand. As digital spaces become more congested and costs continue to rise, diversifying your marketing strategy with tangible, credible, and memorable experiences is just what you need to set your brand apart. 

At HLM, we are here to help you integrate your offline efforts with digital campaigns, creating a comprehensive and cohesive marketing approach that maximizes reach and impact. Give us a call at (888) 717-4249 to speak to someone within minutes, or book a call directly with a consultant on our contact page.


Author: Michelle Nieset

Chief Production Officer

As HLM’s Chief Production Officer, Michelle Nieset aims to build strong teams and foster a collaborative environment, ensuring our solutions exceed our customers’ expectations. With over 17 years of experience in digital marketing and leadership, she’s dedicated to helping our teams deliver top-notch results. When she’s not at work, Michelle loves spending time with her husband and two boys, enjoying the outdoors, hiking, and vacationing at the beach whenever she can.

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