While this may seem like the death of print, it’s far from it. Print can’t offer the same volume as digital, but it has taken on the new role of being the outlet focused on personalized messages to a targeted audience. The decline of print circulations also means that the remaining readership is more dedicated, which is a desirable quality from a marketing perspective.
Print advertising isn’t dead, it’s just underutilized and undervalued. Here’s why it works.
Print advertising is an efficient way of establishing a brand and communicating with broad reach to find the target audience. Digital marketing should be highly relevant to the audience, but with print, you only need enough topics to appeal to a variety of readers to keep them interested and to maintain the continuity of content. People multitask with digital content, and it’s easy to ignore, but people give print virtually undivided attention. It provokes the reader to engage.
Digital marketing is also scalable, meaning that a new online business owner can start a campaign with little money. Potential customers are less likely to take digital advertisements seriously as a result. Print advertisements, however, are trusted because they have been around for a long time. Print marketing is typically reserved for established corporations as part of a big marketing campaign as well, so the brand is granted automatic credibility in the eyes of the consumer.
Engagement, recall and retention are vital to marketing. With the fleeting nature of some digital ads, the message doesn’t stay in the reader’s mind long enough to leave an impression.
Magazine articles don’t appeal to everyone, so in a digital setting, the reader moves on. With a printed magazine, however, the reader will continue to page through to find something of interest, which exposes them to many ads. Print isn’t as easily abandoned as digital.
Unlike the direct response of digital marketing, print also impacts the audience far beyond the initial reader. Permanence is the goal, and because hard-copy print is a physical product, it leaves subliminal impressions on its reader, and on the audience it’s passed to, for a much broader overall reach and for a longer period of time.
Also, in a home or office setting, a printed advertisement may catch the eye of anyone passing through. This can mean a lot of exposure for that particular ad, as well as a lasting impression, especially if it’s continuously viewed by the same people. That message has the opportunity for better impact and engagement, unlike a quick glance at an ad on a website.
Engagement is one of the more important goals of successful marketing campaigns, and print advertisements achieve this with little effort. By simply flipping through the pages of a magazine or seeing ads on an open page, readers are engaging with the ads more than seeing a banner or pop-up ad on a website.
Permanence and engagement, which are inherent strengths of the physical nature of print ads, ultimately lead to recall and retention, which are also important goals in successful marketing. The message from the ad stays in the mind of the viewer to be recalled the next time they need a product or service, like a commercial jingle or slogan, giving that business an edge over competitors.
Digital advertising offers flexibility, with multiple platforms and options, but there are many limitations. Digital ads can only appear in specific locations and sizes, which can limit your creativity and message.
Print ads have limitless options for creativity and innovation, however. The messages can be customized and personalized however you wish, and they can be the size necessary to be effective. Print advertising still offers a lot of beauty as well, whether it’s the art or the message, that captivates the reader in a way that a small digital ad can’t match. This is what keeps magazine subscribers coming back, and it’s where a print ad can excel.
No one stands out in a digital landscape, but with the versatility of print ads, it’s much easier to create a compelling and effective advertising campaign.
Print advertising used to run in full-page spreads, but that’s no longer relevant in the marketing landscape. These ads are expensive and used for mass appeal, whereas the modern-day print ad is part of the larger marketing campaign. All print ads, from merchandise to catalogues to flyers and pamphlets, should be personalized to the segmented audience groups, instead of individual customers.
The principles of digital marketing, minimum investment for massive reach, used to be the principles of print advertising. Now, print marketing is about forming relationships and speaking effectively to marketing segments about their problems and personalities. Print marketing campaigns are integrated with digital marketing to gain accessibility and reach to target the right audiences in a way that feels personal.
Print also isn’t as effective as digital for time-sensitive messages, however, which is best left to digital. A considerable amount of time passes between publication and reaching the readers, along with additional time passing as the piece makes its way to other people.
This time period alters the ROI as well. The results will show its effectiveness over time, but it’s not instantaneous like digital ads. Print ads have broad reach, a lasting impression and a strong connection for readers, so the metrics need to account for that.
Still, the true value of print ads isn’t as direct, but rather a brand awareness, credibility and perception that are powerful but difficult to measure.
THE GEARY COMPANY