To Print or Not To Print

According to Wikipedia, the first newspaper was published in 1690 by Benjamin Harris. That was nearly 330 years ago, a pretty long time for any institution!

So, what comes to mind when you think of print? Newspapers? Magazines? Pamphlets? Brochures and direct mail? Well, to some extent, these are all forms of print advertising.

Although still in use, print advertising has seen a dramatic decline in the past decade. Publications have literally disappeared and have been replaced by thousands of digital sources for news and information.

As the world grows more advanced digitally, the question is, are there any advantages for print advertising? Marketing Wit was able to come up with at least three points that will help determine if print is a good fit for your organization.

Advantages of Print Media

  • Are you targeting a specific geographical area? You can easily do this through your local newspaper.
  • Print media tends to have a loyal audience, allowing for the message to spread by word of mouth.
  • Does your company attend and/or sponsor trade shows and conferences? These are opportunities to make a human connection. According to Forbes, print will continue to be valuable where there is a physical customer presence.

Advantages Debunked

  • Today, digital geo-targeting can reach your audience members where they are on the web and where they are physically located. Today it is easy to deliver messages to Plano, Texas, mothers, 25 to 44. The cost is lower than a similar print campaign in the local paper, multiple messages can be used in the same placement and the results are measurable.
  • There may be some truth that some print has a more loyal audience, but it is probably baby boomers. So if you are looking for anyone outside of this target you can’t rely on print.
  • Check the trash cans at a trade show. They are loaded with literature that was handed out from company booths that couldn’t break free from a decades’ old practice. What you see in the trash cans at trade show exits is matched by what lands in the trash on the way back to the hotel. Some baby boomers may pack the pages and take them home but confidence that printed material is a valuable investment is low. How about putting this info in a booth visitor’s email inbox for review when they have the time and interest.

For these and other reasons, many companies are gravitating to digital communications. This allows for a geographically broader AND more targeted audience than print. Smartphones and tablets put everything at our fingertips, giving consumers and business decision makers the ability to see what they want “on demand.”

Print is a one-way street and doesn’t offer any interaction for the reader. Digital communications can lead to instant sales by providing customers and prospects the opportunity to click for more information, request a call or place an order. It can also be monitored, tracked, optimized and measured for return on investment.

When planning your next campaign, consider your market and industry. What audiences are you trying to reach? What content are you trying to deliver? What response are you working to generate? Unless baby boomers are your audience, look past print. Never say never but in this instance, it is a safe bet to say digital.

Jera is a senior media planner at MCC, where she assists with media planning and buying for MCC’s clients. She received a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice from Texas Southern University in Houston, TX. Prior to MCC, Jera was an account manager for Advantage Staffing. She was born and raised in Monroe, LA. Jera enjoys singing, dancing, spending time with family and friends, traveling, finding new places to eat and has a weakness for cheesy, romantic movies on the Hallmark channel.

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