Try to forget for a moment whatever preconceived ideas you might have about print and electronic communications. If you were developing a newsletter, you would want to use the most effective means, right? So let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each channel:

Print Newsletter


  • Ability to reach everyone in your database
  • Easier to rent print lists for expanded circulation
  • High resolution reproduction that delights the eye
  • Portability—easier to take to a coffee break, read on an airplane, etc.
  • People tire of reading computer screens all day
  • Less competition—fewer print newsletters being produced
  • Research shows that people enjoy receiving relevant print publications


  • Relatively expensive
  • Slower production and distribution process
  • More difficult to present timely news
  • Limited tracking ability for generating marketing metrics

Electronic Newsletter


  • Inexpensive
  • Virtually instant distribution
  • Easier to present timely news
  • Trendy
  • More interactive capabilities—instantly link readers to deeper, related information or direct contact with you
  • Superior tracking ability for better marketing metrics


  • Permission based
  • Email address availability tends to be spotty even in customer databases
  • Limited list rental options for expanded circulation
  • Easily ignored, deleted or canceled
  • Lots of competition

And the Winner Is…

There is no winner. They are different channels with different sets of pluses and minuses. The answer is a milk toasty “it depends.”

What is clear is that different channels work best in combination with one another. Our most successful newsletter clients use a blend of print and electronic media to communicate their message.

They produce quarterly print versions, usually in 8-page formats, then provide short, one- or two-topic HTML editions on a bi-weekly schedule. This approach not only allows the companies to communicate important information on a timely basis, but also demonstrates that they are multichannel players who understand today’s media environment.

— by Larry Bauer