In a recent post, “The Brochure Is Dead,” Inc. columnist Geoffrey James suggested that brochures are a “waste of paper, ink, time, and money”--that, basically, they’re not useful when compared to online options.

I disagree with this statement, and many Inc. readers did too. As one individual noted, there are many people who still prefer to make choices from brochures. Another suggested that there is actually a resurgence of print materials, driven by people who are sick of looking at screens. While some areas of print are indeed declining, I believe that brochures will always have a place in marketing one’s products. Here are a few of the advantages print brochures have over online information:

1. Brochures are dependable and always available. There are situations--pop-up meetings, for example, or when you’re without Internet access--when a good brochure can save the day. One of the biggest sales I ever made was initiated in an elevator with a brochure that I happened to have in my pocket. Lesson learned: good salespeople are always prepared when opportunity knocks, and companies should provide them with the tools necessary to close a deal.

2. Some customers want a hard copy. When Web-based information is all that’s available, customers who want a print version are forced to print one from the company’s website, and at their cost of ink and paper. And while beautifully designed websites look nice, they’re usually not printer friendly and result in poor-quality hard copies.

3. A good brochure makes your contact information readily available. That’s important because you want to make it as easy as possible for prospects to contact you. Some of your customers may not be Web savvy, and may not know how to find your contact information online. They will therefore rely on printed literature to make buying decisions and contact suppliers. Make it easy for the customer to buy is a sound business principle.

4. A well-designed brochure acts as a road map for presentations. A good print brochure walks a client through a proven presentation, point by point, providing vital support to the sales rep. Less experienced salespeople need all the help they can get, and a brochure can aid them in staying on track during presentations.

5. Print brochures are a company’s silent salesperson. They are there with a prospect after the salesperson leaves, a constant reminder of your product. While a good portion of brochures go into the trash, an attractive, helpful one in the hands of an interested prospect will more than pay for its cost.