Can a Print Publication Be Equally Effective Online? Testing the Effect of Medium Type on Marketing Communications
Faced with budgetary pressures, many marketing communication managers are canceling the print distribution of their flagship magazine in favor of an online version. However, if the online publication is less effective in achieving the organization's goals, this move may be ill advised. In a field experiment, subscribers of a promotional magazine received either a print version of the magazine or an e-mail invitation that linked to the online version. The print version had a higher open rate than did the online version. In addition, print readers had higher recall memory and engaged in more browsing. Ironically, although younger readers indicated a preference for receiving an online version, the effect of medium on memory performance was strongest among the younger readers. Therefore, ceasing a print publication in favor of an online-only publication might hurt the effectiveness of an organization's marketing communications, and managers should not make the decision based on cost alone.