In an ever-changing world of technology, Internet and social media, many business owners struggle with the validity of print vs online marketing. In my past life I worked as a multimedia rep for a local newspaper. Over the years, I was constantly hearing business owners tell me print is dying. My response to this was always the same: “Print isn’t dying. When used correctly it can actually boost your marketing campaign and give you the result you’re trying to achieve, whether it is leads, sales or brand awareness.”
What I mean by “using your print campaign correctly” is to deliver a cross-channel campaign utilizing print, online and social media to increase your ROI.
Let’s face it, technology has changed the way we receive our news and information. There are just too many options out there for people to find what they’re looking for. You can’t reach everyone you’re looking to target with just a print ad or online banner, and your chances of doing so in social media may be limited depending on the number of followers you have.
Print media, especially if it’s a targeted demographic you’re going for, is very powerful. Most articles online (and even some websites) get read only once and will probably never be read again. A nice targeted publication, however, will tend to stay around – people don’t throw it in the trash, but keep it as a resource if it has good, informative material.
Now let’s be honest. How many of you have your sports, health, cooking or even fashion magazines stacked up in a pile somewhere? I know I do. For some reason, I like to keep them around either for a reference or because I found an article to be interesting. So here’s the deal, I open up my favorite magazine and flip through the articles, I see an ad for these pretty awesome shoes, but I think to myself, “no, I really don’t need them. My husband will kill me if I buy another pair of shoes.” Then, later I go onto the manufacturer’s website to check out the shoes and still decide not to buy them. Then later, I log online to check my emails and what do I see? A display ad targeted to me for those awesome pair of shoes and if I “like” them on facebook, I’ll get an extra 25% off. Score! I do and now I’m buying these shoes I never intended to and of course now I get all the latest updates and SALES from my favorite shoe store.
Do you think the cross-channel campaign worked on me?
For sure, both online and print advertising have strengths and limitations. Online offers click ability, immediate updating, targeted placement strategies, lower pricing and detailed tracking. Print offers tangibility, strong branding, memorability and readers who tend to be more highly engaged. Plus with a print ad, you have the ability to convey more of your message than with a banner.
So where does social media fit in the mix? Social media is brilliant, but it is not a one stop shop that will fix your business overnight at little or no cost. It takes time, a proper strategy and real investment. Too many companies add social media on the end of a campaign with the mentality of “let’s throw up a Facebook page or Twitter account” and think there is some sort of magic bullet that will make their marketing go “viral.” The key word is “integration.” In other words, aligning your social media marketing with your other marketing initiatives.
There is no doubt that the media landscape is moving towards a digital future at a fast rate, but that doesn’t mean it is there yet. The simple fact is that some decision makers in large organizations start their day with a copy of the newspaper and not by firing up Twitter or reading blogs.
Traditional media plays a huge role in most people’s daily lives, and ignoring it completely is not the smartest thing to be doing. The smart companies are mixing old and new media to target a wide range of consumers and using social media to enhance their other channels.
What’s crystal clear is the fact that technology plays an increasing role in the lives of readers and consumers, who appreciate choice – print, digital, mobile, iPad. A strong advertising campaign will integrate as many of these venues as possible, including print.