We've been doing a series on the benefits of traditional media on the blog. You can catch up on earlier posts here and here. Why are we writing this? Because we are Luddites stuck in the dark ages, denying the existence of the internet? Not at all. It is because we are huge believers in media mix. No marketer should put all their eggs in one media channel basket. And with all the benefits that come through digital advertising - like trackability and measuring ROI - it also has its limitations and isn't the most trusted advertising medium. Yes, traditional channels still have value to reach your audience and enhance a digital advertising campaign. They all work together.
On to today's topic: Print. For years, everyone's been talking about the impending death of this media channel. As a former print ad rep during the very lean years of '08 and '09, I saw the media channel's strength diminish. There is no denying print media - both newspapers and magazines - are not as prevalent as they used to be. Almost weekly, we hear about another magazine going to online-only or layoffs at another newspaper due to tumbling ad revenue. Amidst all of this, how can this stalwart of Traditional Media still be a good media idea? Why should it be considered when developing a media plan?
Here are a few reasons:
- Qualified Audience - While it is true that circulation is down, it is also true that the audience is much more valuable now. Readers who are paying to subscribe to a newspaper or magazine are a qualified audience because they can afford to subscribe. If you're a brand that wants to reach prospects with disposable income, print may be for you.
- Cut-through creative - In our digital world where consumers increasingly have their noses in a screen, print can be a nice break. And this space allows for simple, impactful creative that can cut through the clutter. Take this recent campaign by McDonald's. The agency turned to print to get the message out in an impactful way. Interestingly the "Search" campaign references the ubiquitious search bar we often see on our screens.
- Innovative new units - Because print has to battle so hard now for media dollars in the competitive advertising world, these publishers seem more apt to innovate compared to other channels. Whether it be through creative new ad shapes, bellyband units or native advertising - if it can be printed and makes sense for the client they are usually willing. Another innovative application we have seen that can bring print to life or tie it to mobile is augmented reality. By placing a trigger image in an ad or FSI, an consumer can play a video or view 3D-like product demo via certain mobile apps like LayAR and iCodAR.
- Best way to reach certain audiences - There are many target audiences that still consume a lot of print media. For instance, we work with a B2B brand whose prospects are engineers and contractors. This is an audience that is out on jobsites and prefers the tactile experience of print mainly for its accessibility - on the dashboard of the truck or on the shelf. Also, print is a better option for many B2B brands as publishers in niche categories have very limited digital capabilities. Their websites look something like this:
- Lends credibility For certain brands - like those in fashion, home and beauty - seeing a product in print legitimizes a brand. Beyond that it ellicits more demand: seeing a furniture item in a full page ad in People in their hands helps a buyer visualize it in their home in a much more real way than a banner ad ever will.
- Wide Reach You may not believe it, but the data bears this out. Across most audiences, especially younger ones, print still has a strong presence. 95% of those 25 and under have read a magazine in the last 6 months. Millennials actually prefer print coupons over digital. And print's audience only grows over time (see below):
You can see more stats specific to magazine at magazine.org in their 2016/17 Factbook (yes, it's a magazine industry site, but most of the studies are independent).
That's our perspective on print advertising - and that concludes this series on the benefits of traditional advertising. Again, we are not old stodgy media types living in denial of our digital world. We're just saying there is still a place for traditional media depending on the goals of your advertising campaign. A good media agency is "media agnostic" - advising their clients on which media channels to use to best reach their prospects. A fully integrated media approach is still the best policy.
McCulloch+Company is an advertising media services company that integrates the innovation of digital media with the strengths of traditional paths. Founded in 1994 and located in historic Roswell, Georgia, McCulloch+Company is regarded as one of the Southeast's preeminent media agencies. The agency is skilled at managing B2B and B2C clients in a multitude of industry categories.