Print is Dead – Really?

By July 28, 2015 No Comments

Is print dead? This is a question that has been buzzing around the marketing world since the rapid surge and now acceptance of the Internet and social media. While many outdoor businesses, like the rest of the world, have completely migrated their advertising efforts to the web because of its cost effectiveness, exposure potential and convenience, print still maintains its stance as a powerful and necessary component of an ad campaign.

Digital prognosticators will say that most print media will be gone in the next decade. Anyone who makes those types of comments does not understand history. Just type into Google “The Death of TV” and you’ll see hundreds of articles predicting the end of television. One could make the argument that right now is the golden age of television, with amazing shows like Boardwalk EmpireWalking Dead and Homeland leading the way.

Despite important changes in media consumption in recent years, consumers continue to have most trust in advertising in magazines and newspapers. It seems the power of the printed word still rings true and has great value when evaluating advertising. When asked how much trust they attach to advertising in the various media, consumers gave magazines and newspapers a score of 63%, TV 41% and Internet 25%. What’s interesting is that so-called traditional media such as direct mail and catalogues also outscore social media and the Internet respectively. (VTT, 2015)

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. Although it is likely that most emphasis, in terms of advertising, will be executed online, there still exist those who revel in the glory of the printed page and it’s important to reach them. Finding the right balance between various media will ensure a steady revenue flow, an increase in sales and new customers.

The fact is, print still excites people. And since the outdoor verticals are directed and filled with passionate enthusiasts, this is even more important.

A journalist said the other day it’s harder and harder to get people to agree to an interview for an online story. But mention that it will be a printed feature and executives rearrange their schedules. The printed word is still perceived as more credible to many people than anything on the web. It goes to the old adage, “If someone invested enough to print and mail it, it must be important.

Let’s take a closer look at print media and some advantages it has over its digital counterparts.

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 to make people weary of clicking. There is no imminent danger in a print ad. This is especially true of outdoor industry print publications because readers have known and trusted the authors since they were kids.

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. If you want a shooter, there are several key magazines to be in. The same for the hunting, camping and hiking markets.

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.

Online marketing is definitely here to stay. And, perhaps, it should be the central focus for your channel strategy. So say “yes” to social media, online content, apps, and the rest of it. But don’t forget that print can still play an important role in your overall content marketing mix. Give us a call and we can see how this might work best for you.