Is Print Media Dead?


The question “is print media dead” is much harder to answer than you expect. The reasons are complex and the answer is changing. Today, it would depend on what part of “print” you’re asking about. Print marketing includes newspapers, direct mail, magazines, coupon publications, and others. If any of them are “dying”, it does not mean mean they have lost utility or effectiveness.

Newspaper Advertising

The century-plus old technology has faced small year-over-year declines, but overall, has fallen for a decade. This is only true of their print editions. Most newspapers in America have made transitions to digital editions to various degrees. Their digital efforts have seen robust growth in most cases. Because of this adaptation of new media, the budgeting and targeting of an ad campaign is vital for positive ROI in newspapers.

Your Marketing Consultant should know the publication and work closely with the media representative to ensure a customized campaign for you. Very little in advertising is one-size-fits-all. The demographics should be understood and costs thoroughly explained so that expectations can be appropriately set.

As will be mentioned in each print advertising category below, the benefit of a media mix should not be ignored when considering “dying” print. How can newspaper work in tandem with radio or television? How can online ads on the high school sports webpage help support your community relations or targeting of active families? Work with your Marketing Consultant to explore these opportunities.

Direct Mail Advertising

Your customers want to build relationships and so do you. Direct mail is routinely rated one of the least intrusive forms of advertising. According to a recent study on direct mail by Millward Brown, “physical media left a ‘deeper footprint’ in the brain”. In other words, people remember more about something they can touch as opposed to something they can not.

But what about results? Doesn’t everyone throw out “junk mail”?

Target Marketing magazine conducted a study on ROI and the media producing the best results for customer acquisition, customer contact, and retention for B2C marketers was direct mail. It is easy to track and that makes it easy to understand and source it’s performance.

Magazine Advertising

Beautiful, glossy pages filled with beautiful people and products. Although not as hard hit as newspapers, magazines have seen challenges erupt over the last decade. But there are many success stories and evidence of a rebound in the industry. Just last week, Newsweek announced it would restart its printed publication. Publications are seeing a growth in readership and revenues are on the rise.

As long as magazines are used effectively and for the right goals, they can be a powerful element in your media mix.  Some data suggests that you only get half a second to make an impression before someone decides if they will read your magazine ad or not.

Focus on what you want people to notice. This could be a call to action, a logo, or a photo. If appropriate, include contact information and a reason for people to use it. Like all ads, your space is limited so use it wisely and beautifully.

Coupon Advertising

We may be climbing out of the recession, but people still love a discount! Find the publication or mail package that is most likely to reach your target market. Just because you publish a coupon doesn’t mean it will get used. Targeting is critical and must be combined with a worthy offer.

Again, time and space are limited. You have less than a second to make an impression and only so many inches to use. Keep your disclaimers short, your dollars or percentages big, and your contrast strong.

There are many options such as Welcome Wagon, which targets new home owners, or PennySaver which stretches “from sea to shining sea”.

How To Advertise in Print Media

Is print media dead? No. It is changing and rebuilding but it remains extremely successful for advertisers. Contact an Arkside Marketing Consultant today and explore your best options.

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