Is Print Dead?

Is Print Dead, Print Media, Print AdvertisingI recently blogged that print media is alive and well, but there are still some skeptics out there who don’t fully understand why that’s the case.

First, let me deal with the obvious issue – print IS declining. There is no question that it has peaked and it’s decreasing quickly, but it’s far from dead as I explain below.

Second, death is over stating the demise of print and traditional media.

Print advertising makes a comeback in the digital age

I know it may seem counter-intuitive, but the latest research reveals that print (and direct mail) are far from dead! In fact, even though we live in a highly, and ever-increasingly digital world, we are still human and as such still rely on print to make purchasing decisions.

We can all acknowledge that we struggle to sift through all our emails, websites, blogs, social media and other online channels. The number of online messages and ads has increased explosively to record levels, overwhelming most consumers. That means advertisers have an increasingly smaller segment of a highly fragmented online presence that gets costlier by the day.

That’s why there has been a “return to print” as well as (physical) direct mail. Sure we all enjoy the practicality of online access, but we also still love the feel of a magazine between our fingers as we flip the pages revealing colourful images, interesting fonts and great content.

As consumers, we’ve come to appreciate the need for advertising – especially in niche market publications like this one. That’s why it still continues to perform exceptionally well for small businesses with tiny marketing budgets who need to reach their target audience economically, without the costly, scattergun approach associated with daily or community newspapers.

In this day and age, print media, especially NICHE and LOCAL PUBLICATIONS still reign supreme – especially when they’re integrated with an online presence, the topic of an future blog post.

Need more proof?

I thought so. Here it is.


While it is true that the Internet has become easier to use and more accessible to marketers and advertisers, never underestimate the power of a well printed – and well placed – brochure, postcard, or flyer.  In fact, with many companies focusing their marketing online, print advertising has the advantage of remaining the “tried and true” method.

Including traditional print marketing as part of advertising allows for a cross section of advertising on a variety of levels.  For example, direct mail is an ideal, cost-effective way to target specific neighborhoods quickly and easily.  Flyers and postcards can be used to announce new services, special offers, or grand openings.  Postcard printing is easy and affordable and will ensure your name reaches your local area quickly and efficiently.

Full color brochures are an ideal follow-up for networking events, sales meetings, and cold calls.  Catalog printing with direct mail efforts can double the impact of an online strategy.  Brochures and advertising flyers can be mailed directly to prospective or existing clients to further illustrate products and services and drive sales.

Any business owner who thinks print is dead better think again.  Retailers are seeing traditional print channels, such as catalogs or magazines, inspire mobile purchases (not the other way around!)

We’ve all had moments like this; you know, the one when a new catalog, with a brilliant yellow dress on the cover, comes in the mail, shouting for our attention.  Who can resist picking it up and thumbing the pages, seduced by a selection of classics that seem to jump off the page in every color of the rainbow?  Catalogues still lure buyers.

Results of a study released by Google and Ipsos reveal that nearly half (48 percent) of smartphone users are performing mobile queries based on ads they see in magazines. By comparison, only 35 percent of smartphone users are inspired to search by posters and billboards, while 57 percent do so from in-store promotions and 58 percent from TV.

Do these searches result in sales?  Apparently they do.  It appears that once they’re inspired by a catalog photo or magazine ad, more and more shoppers are turning to their mobile devices for their final purchases.  Among smartphone users surveyed, the Google/Ipsos study found that 35 percent have already made a purchase on their smartphone, and more than two-thirds (68 percent) of those m-shoppers have made a mobile purchase in the last month.

Just don’t forget: Much of the time, the initial inspiration for that mobile transaction comes from good old traditional print marketing, not the latest social media platform or a new app.

The revenue for advertising provides another perspective on traditional print media.  The advertising revenue for 2004 to 2007 accounted for about 70% of newspaper publishers’ total content publishing revenue.  Over that same period, advertising revenue accounted for about 45% of periodical publishers’ total content publishing revenue and probably close to zero of book publishers’ revenue.   Newspapers are heavily reliant on print advertising.

A great way to create print that will reach your targeted demographic is to pay attention to what your customers want.  Keeping track of what they are searching for online and what they “like” on Facebook is useful to reach the intended audience with traditional print so you can tailor your print campaign to meet their interests that are more easily tracked electronically.

Thousands of businesses advertise their products and services in newspapers every day.  Readership levels vary between various print media platforms, but a strategically placed advertisement aimed at the right demographics can still be highly effective.  Big businesses as well as small companies rely on newspapers and magazines to advertise their products and services and for recruitment purposes.

Traditional Media has become an overlooked avenue for business owners and has become a hidden gem.  If you are in fact wanting to grow your business or looking to change your current advertising strategy, consider some of the things you simply cannot accomplish through Social Media alone:

  1. Credibility: Traditional Media is considered credible because it has always been so reliable. Few pick up a newspaper and question whether or not they are reading the truth. The radio and news also offers factual information that people can trust. The Internet on the other hand is filled with unchecked facts and opinion. You can find a great article online, but at times it is hard to know whether or not it came from a credible source.
  2. Larger Audience: By using Social Media exclusively and ignoring Traditional Media altogether you are instantly killing your market reach.  These days it is hard to remember that Social Media and Internet marketing is a fairly new concept.  Most of those who did not grow up with this technology likely still prefer traditional media.  Some figures indicate that as many as 35 percent of people in the US get their news offline. This makes advertising on TV and in the newspaper still extremely important and a valuable tool to use in your marketing efforts.

Despite the cost, there are some serious benefits to having your business appear in a magazine or newspaper.  First, it still conveys a certain level of professionalism, something that isn’t always evident online where everyone can pay $10-25 to get their ad on a decent website.  If you want to be respected, print is still one of the higher quality mediums, simply because of the price.  This is one reason you might want to consider it . . . people will look at your business differently than they will online.

Print marketing tends to target a very specific audience, which means your ad will reach plenty of people who are more likely to be interested in your products and services.  When it comes to magazines, you are placing your promotional materials in front of people interested enough in that specific topic to purchase a magazine about it.

According to the Readership Institute at Northwestern University, advertising is one of the top five drivers of newspaper consumption.  On the magazine front, almost two-thirds of readers say they enjoy reading magazine ads, while more than half read their favorite print magazines specifically to gain information about new brands. Consumers enjoy and trust print advertising.  At a time when consumers are fast-forwarding or bypassing advertising altogether, print media is considered a destination for advertising.

Print media provides advertisers with opportunities to reach targeted audiences in a local market.  When you advertise your small business in local print media, you can focus your ad to fit your desired demographic.  For instance, if you want to reach the Asian market, advertising in an Asian publication can generally achieve better results than advertising on other platforms because the readers are a high concentration of your target market.

Print media such as newspapers and magazines allow for unlimited exposure.  Unlike television or radio where advertising time is scheduled, prospects have potential exposure to print ads at virtually any time.  A newspaper or magazine left on a coffee table can be viewed repeatedly and at the reader’s discretion.  The reader also has the opportunity to study the ad at his leisure and isn’t limited to 30 or 60 seconds.

Print ads are non-intrusive compared to other forms of media.  Radio and television ads often interrupt programming which can sometimes be an annoyance.  With print media, the prospect has greater control as to when he/she views the ads, which eliminates interruptions.

Certain forms of print media allow for a high level of target marketing.  Magazines, for example, tend to be highly specialized, so ads can be developed to appeal to a specific readership. For example, companies that manufacture upscale clothing for men can target their ads to publications that appeal to professional males. A manufacturer of fishing gear can place ads in hunting and fishing publications.

Print media sources tend to have longstanding, loyal readership.  People may read their hometown newspaper daily and may also subscribe to specific magazines for long periods of time.  This frequent readership helps reinforce the advertiser’s message or even develops an ongoing campaign that may cover multiple issues.  Advertising in publications that have been around for many years can also lend credibility to the advertiser.

Both print and broadcast media cover huge audiences at the same time.  The subsequent effect on advertising is that it raises the rate at which the products or services being publicized sell.  A well-executed advertisement prompts you to try out the goods by purchasing them. This, in turn, increases sales and increased sales translates into profits for the advertiser.

Advertising popularizes brands.  The media popularizes the brand by constant replay and in print media, through repetitive publication.  Thus the target customers remember the brand and buy the product.  For instance, the recognition of labels like Coca-Cola’s is attributed to successful advertising.

Print Is Dead, Print Advertising, Print Media DyingStay tuned for an upcoming blog post on how to leverage your print advertising with effective online strategies…

Whether the form of media is print or broadcast, the target audience is large. Where the advertisement persuades and convinces the public about the goods offered or services rendered, more people will be inclined to purchase or go for the said services.  The products already in the market get exhausted and the services crowded.  There arises a subsequent demand for more products and services.

1 Response to “Is Print Dead?”

  • A recent interview with one of Melbourne’s newspapers indicated that there was not a reduction in demand for the printed article. Their primary challenge was that the publication was heavily subsidised by advertising and that advertisers are increasingly going online believing that this will either sell more product or reduce costs compared to print advertising.

    I work in the area of Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development and we find that we need both electronic and printed catalogues. The electronic catalogue is easier to search when you know what you want. But if you don’t know what search terms to use then you can’t find it and it is also harder to browse and read online compared to a print copy. The print catalogue allows you to browse and view rapidly but isn’t as current since you can’t update it as easily.

    So the process is browse the print media to learn the descriptors and search terms to use, then search the online version to find the items includign new ones introduced after the catalogue was printed.

    Ray Keefe
    Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd
    Casey Business of the Year 2010
    Industrial Electronics Future Award Winner 2011
    Award Winning Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development

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