In markets like ours, there is a lot of focus on print media. Even people not in the print business see it as something they must have or read most every day. The reality is the local Billings newspaper has less readership today than it had yesterday. Based on Audit Bureau of Circulation stats I have seen, only slightly over 27,000 people or about 15% of Yellowstone County’s population actually get the paper.
Forbes.com printed a great article on the advantages and disadvantages of print as an advertising medium. Here are some of their points.
Print Advantages in Billings Marketing
Tangibility – A print piece is a physical thing. Magazines and newspapers can stay in houses or offices for months or years, while Internet ads can disappear into cyber space instantaneously.
Credibility – There is something about print that gives a sense of legitimacy. The saturation of popups and banner ads on the web can be overwhelming and the fear of spam and viruses is enough make people weary of clicking. There is no imminent danger in a print ad.
Branding – Print ads are excellent for solidifying your brand identity. Your ads should have a consistent aesthetic in terms of fonts, colors and types of images to establish brand recognition.
Target Marketing – Placing ads in publications such as specialty magazines can effectively reach niche audiences that may be more difficult to target online.
More Engaging – Consumers are more engaged when reading printed material, unlike websites, which are often skimmed in as little as a 15 second visit. A study shows that people read digital screen text 20% – 30% slower than printed paper. (Alshaali & Varshney, 2005)
Less Print Ads – With more and more businesses relying solely on the Internet for their advertising needs, the decline of print publication can actually be used as a marketing advantage. The publications are less crowded, allowing more room for your ad to shine, and possibly even cheaper prices for that ad space.
QR Codes – Placing QR codes on printed pieces is an excellent way to bridge the gap between print and web. When scanned with a smartphone, the QR code will take you to a homepage or a special offer page that lives on the web.
It is interesting to note Forbes.com attempts to defend print are more about what it is not (we don’t have viruses, people read us differently, we don’t have as many ads) versus what it is (a tangible product you can hold, and a declining way of advertising a business.)
Print has a place in Billings marketing.
As Forbes.com said,
The best way to market your business is to utilize as many channels as possible to reach every corner of your target demographic; this should not exclude print.
Print should no longer be considered a must have in terms of your Billings marketing campaigns. The decline in readership and movement to other sources for information is rapidly driving the print business away.
How much you use and how you use it is part of a well planning Billings marketing strategy. Getting professional help to develop and execute that strategy will prevent you from overspending on print, web, or any other form of media.
Look for someone who is focused on your top line when you look for a Billings marketing company.