Illustration by Ece Ciftci

Remember remember, the smell of printed paper

We do not know if you care much about sports, but this article will actually begin with a basketball metaphor. Have you ever heard of the San Antonio Spurs? They are an NBA team and actually the most successful sports franchise in America with five championships, .713 (1) winning percentage and 20 consecutive winning seasons (2) over the last two decades (Coyle, 2018). The reasons behind their winning culture has been the subject of, and was given as prime examples for, many studies on leadership and teamwork.

Daniel Coyle’s New York Times Bestseller The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups focuses on the motivational abilities of Gregg Popovich, who has been the head coach of the Spurs since 1996, while other works feature the player hiring strategies of the team as a success model for employers. Still, the most important aspect of their winning habit is doing the fundamentals right and making the best use of the material –or personnel– at hand. As flashy as the NBA is with mottos such as “where amazing happens”, a team that has succeeded in being competitive within it over many years has been able to do so with the basics. Now let’s talk marketing.

Everybody knows and assertively points out towards how our ways of consumption has changed with the digital age, which is most certainly true. As we migrate from tweet to Instagram story, we tend to opt for a more digitised approach when it comes to marketing. However, every successful business might not necessarily have to go right down to the newest or the shiniest method of advertising.

A recent survey published at Statista (U.S. Radio Industry, 2018) has shown that an average person in the US spends 112 minutes listening to the radio, and watches 5 hours of television every day. Please hold on for a moment and let these huge numbers sink in. The number of hours people watch TV in Turkey per day is 3,5 (Televizyon İzleme Eğilimleri, 2018) (3), which accounts for a similar phenomenon. As these media have evolved over the years with platforms such as streaming services and podcasts, they have also created spaces where everybody can make their voices heard, without knocking over their more conventional counterparts.

Print ads, flyers, brochures and mailed letters are still commonly used and valued by the audience as tangible assets. The first thing about printed materials is –and this is something sad to point out at an online blog post– that they are easier to understand. A study, conducted in 2014 at Norway’s Stavanger University by a team led by Anne Mangen found out that readers absorb less on e-readers than on traditional books (Flood, 2014). These printed materials also help reach a wider audience at once. Remember the examples of how word-of-mouth still works in this day and age, and achieve the goal of being the lovemark every entrepreneur aspires.

In addition to the mass reach of traditional ways, notions such as post-truth and info pollution have been more present in our lives with the digital media. Even though the numbers have descended over the years, traditional media still maintains its somewhat credible state and you might come to benefit from this third-party credibility (Alpine, 2018).

The third thing that needs to be kept in mind while talking about traditional media is that when used effectively, it also nurtures your online presence. Many media outlets have websites where they publish content instantaneously and even though print is still the predominant form of consumption for newspapers, the global shift towards digitalisation within the industry is indisputable (Newspapers Fact Sheet, 2018). The amount of minutes spent daily on reading the newspaper has declined from 17 to 12 between 2015 and 2018 (U.S. Newspaper Industry, 2018). This means that traditional media is being consumed in digital platforms. Being featured in one of these websites serves your Google ranking, which means that it will improve your chance of being noticed.

All in all, this article is not to conclude with leaving every digital opportunity behind and establishing a life based solely on analog approaches. The key is to combine traditional and digital media and use each one whenever they are necessary. Take a deeper look into the message you would like to convey and find the medium that serves the purpose. Be the San Antonio Spurs of self-promotion and make the best of what you have. Remember, 3 Tweets Outside Ebbing, Missouri (4) would probably not have been as effective.


(1) In the US, the statistics are expressed in three digits and read as whole numbers. Referring to them as “percentage” is technically wrong, but is still widely used.
(2) A season in which a team recorded more wins than losses.
(3) The research was published only in Turkish.
(4) A reference to the 2017 film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Dir: Martin McDonagh).