Does Print Still Work in Advertising?

Back In The Day: Ask any major company back in the golden age of  print media if print advertising was effective, and your question would likely be answered with a strange look. Now that alternative forms of  electronic advertising have come to the forefront, the question is appropriate. The answer however, isn’t black and white. 

 Decline

There’s little question that the number of readers of print media has declined recently, due to advancement in technology. Most paid circulation publications have had negative subscriber growth over the past several years. With the overwhelming amount of free content available for people on the Internet, readers of editorial based print publications have chosen to seek out other ways of finding information. While the decline of newspaper print media does spell out that industry’s ultimate death, it does not indicate a death blow to print free circulation advertising, and for our weekly papers the decline of newspaper advertising leaves us as the only classified publication in each of our prospective markets.  In general, it certainly means that print advertisements may seem to have less of an impact as they did prior to the popularity of the Internet, but the facts are, it is not dead.

 Even if print advertising now has a strong counter part in the Internet, it does not mean that print is dead.  

Available Information

Traditional news related print media has been blunted some what phased out in favor of alternative media sources, such as TV and the Internet. According to the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism in 2014, newspapers ranked far below electronic based news medias for the first time in history. It was the first time that people went to the Internet to find news more than reading newspapers. Unfortunately, that data has negative implications for print advertising generally as to many people relate print advertising to newspapers only. Fact is, today newspapers only amount to a small percentage in the United States of the printed shoppers, magazines, etc.

 Newspaper print advertising is dying, but print advertising overall is not.

 Targeting

Print advertising still works for most of all the businesses in your circulation reach. Young consumers who grew up without exposure to print media are obviously less likely to read print ads than the older generation who grew up with print media. However, they do see the ads in print and those ads make a long term memory with them when they get ready to shop locally. Specifically targeted niche print publications like our weeklies or specialty magazines reach readers looking for specific information. Your weeklies reach readers looking for local bargains, while Travel Host magazines reach the travel and entertainment interested consumers. Both are print and both reach out to inform a specified reader. The reader chooses which print publication they need, want, or are interested in.

Cost

Print advertising isn’t dead and is still effective, depending on each niche publication, it is also still the most cost effective and gives its advertisers the best ROI. Advertisers that left print entirely and depended solely on web advertising over the last 2-3 years have now had to add print advertising back into their media mix for 2025-2016 and beyond just to try and get back their customers. What everyone is learning, is web advertising might seem cool, but with out print to support it, it simply does not make their cash registers ring. 

Impact on the Consumer

The one advantage that print advertising has over other avenues of advertising is that print advertisements simply make more of an impact on the reader. Take the Internet for example. Because readers of Internet content see so much information in a short amount of time, they become used to seeing the ads. People effectively become ad blind and often disregard the advertisements. That’s not the case with print advertising. Researches at Penn State University conducted a test in a couple of years back to gauge whether online advertisements or print advertisements were more memorable. The researchers concluded that print ads stuck with readers far more than online ads.

Segment Your Way to Success

Segmentation is a precondition for marketing success and print media targets a specific audience. There is virtually no wastage of resources as a fashion magazine highlights apparel, footwear, accessories and make up while a health magazine spreads the word about health foods, organic foods and vegan choices. Our papers reach bargain hunters.

 Segmentation cannot get more specific than it gets with print advertising. Reaching out to a specific audience who religiously read and use a particular shopper or magazine is the best way to cater to a niche market segment.

Positioning Strategies

The biggest plus with shopper and magazine advertising is that an advertiser can request special ad positioning. This means that a retailer or service provider can ask that his ad is placed in a specific page or section of a niche advertising publication.

 A positioning strategy such as this will bring greater visibility to an advertiser’s brand or special services simply because the ad is in line with the central theme of the publication. A highly effective commercial specific ad positioning ensures that potential buyers will notice it.

 Very High On The Credibility Scale

Over time shoppers and magazines create a large pool of loyal readers who attach a lot of importance to the quality of content that appears in their favorite publications. I have known people who swear by the research base of articles printed by the Reader’s Digest and others who say the columnists in Cosmopolitan know what they are talking about. Or, every week they pick up their local shopper to fine the ‘Real Local Bargains’ before anyone else gets to them.

So if your potential advertisers have told you they have written off print advertising from their media mix marketing campaigns… show them how they need to think again. Print advertising is in fact still a lethal weapon in 2015-2020 that could just help them make a bigger, better and more lasting impact on the buying minds of their targeted potential customers.

 Print advertising is not dead, it just might save your potential advertisers business for them!

Last year the sports world lost a major icon. New York Yankee baseball catcher and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra died at age 90.

 Playing catcher in grade school Yogi was my hero. He was a great catcher, batter, and team player. My coaches always asked me to pattern the way I played to Yogi’s style, and I tried.

 On the baseball diamond, Berra was regarded as one of the greatest catchers of all time. Over his 19+ year baseball career, Berra hit:  285/348/482, with 358 home runs. He made 15 straight All Star games and won three MVP awards during his 19 seasons with the Yankees.

 Yogi appeared in 14 World Series as a player, winning 10 of them. Both of those figures are a major league record. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1972. The Yankees also retired his No. 8 that same year. Berra went on to be the Manager of the Yankees and then the Mets baseball teams.

 Yogi, after his baseball career, was known world wide for his sometimes confusing quotes called ‘Yogi-isms’.

 One of Yogi’s most famous quotes was, “It ain’t over ’till it’s over.” And, rest assured…Print Is Not Over!

 Print is not dead. Print is very much alive in niche publications of all kinds all over the world. 

 When someone makes the uneducated blanket statement that print is dead, what they really are thinking of is newspapers are dead. They are putting newspapers and other print publications in the same grave. I agree that newspapers as we know them are dead. After all their entire news approach can out on the internet in seconds rather than it’s next printed edition. Newspapers delivered eyeballs to newspaper advertisers because it was the only arena that had seemingly quick news cycles. Now, in this digital age, printed newspapers can not compete with instantaneous news. So, their is no need now for advertisers to support the printed newspaper. Thus, printed newspapers are dead…not other printed niche publications.

 Look, I loved newspapers. My first job was with the Dallas Morning News in the 70s. But, times have changed and the printed newspaper is just as dead as the Tyrannosaurus Rex! 

But, other print publications, and especially niche publications will be with us for years to come…you can take that to the bank.

 Print Is Not Dead.

 

Feature Image Source: athlonsports.com

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Mike Story

Publisher's Consultant at TravelHost
I have over 40 years experience as a publication owner and publisher of magazine and newsprint publications in the United States. I have been fortunate enough to have been a Owner of a nationally known multi-magazine company as well as a Group Publisher advising several national titles. I am married, have three daughters and son-in-laws, and eight grand children. So, between my family and advising publishers, my personal time is taken up with a occasional tennis game or a fishing trip.