The following is an excerpt from Market Me: How Marketing Is Changing and Why You Should Too, available now with an exclusive 25% discount at marketmebook.com.
You’ve likely heard the warning bells by now – print marketing seems to be dying a slow and painful death. Newspapers, magazines, and phonebooks seem more likely each year to be found in a museum than on a desk as computers and mobile devices take over as the most effective tool for reaching consumers. Yet, some companies still cling to print advertising with varying degrees of success. So is print advertising truly a thing of the past?
It’s no secret that print advertising is exponentially more expensive than most forms of online marketing, for businessmen and women on both sides of the table. For publishers, the cost comparison of a print publication vs. an e-magazine or online news feed doesn’t even come close, and advertisers can save thousands by advertising on websites and mobile apps, while also gaining a more extensive reach.
Print marketing also has a lower conversion rate, especially when cost per conversion is taken into account. While some prime online ad placements can reach costs similar to magazine or newspaper placements, for those in most industries print is less targeted, and it is usually more difficult to track results and adjust accordingly. You also pay for print advertising regardless of your results; even if a person never looks at your ad, you’ve already paid for that placement. With online marketing, on the other hand, you usually pay for conversion – and if not, there are at least ways to track how many people are actually looking at your advertisements in most cases.
For these reasons and more, many are quick to suggest that print marketing has not only lost its stronghold, but is fading away altogether. In marketing, however, there is rarely death – only change. I don’t believe print is dead, or that it ever will be. However, to be successful in print marketing, you must recognize how it has changed and how you need to adapt as a result, for example, a legal practice like jacolawyers.com, with an understanding of online marketing, used local SEO to grow their law firm.
There are a few reasons why print will continue to thrive, even if it remains more expensive than other marketing channels. One of the more obvious is that for whatever reason, a majority of people still prefer reading print material as opposed to reading off of a screen. This means that lawyer firms are looking to make their websites more accessible to potential clients and are always looking for tips (from somewhere like this http://www.alwayson-network.com/legal-services-web-design-marketing/) to do so. A large portion of the population will always prefer a book in their hand, a card on their desk, or a flyer posted on a wall as opposed to an email or pop-up on their screen. This is partly due to the fact that people are bombarded by non-print ads all day. Some of the more recent studies on average daily screen time suggest that most Americans spend as much as 8 hours a day looking at a screen – be it a computer, tablet, mobile phone, or television. When a person spends up to a third of their day looking at a screen, print materials stand out.
The preference for print is actually so prominent that many people retain more information when they read from a page rather than a screen. Our tech-heavy society trains people to scan a screen for the most relevant information, not to read every word on the page (this is part of the reason search engines prefer keywords to be used early on in content). While this is starting to translate to other marketing mediums (have you tried reading a textbook lately? It gets more difficult the more time you spend looking at a screen), it still holds that many people are more inclined to read printed words than words on a screen…
… Another reason print marketing isn’t going anywhere is because it is so expensive. You read that right – the same reason that has been proposed for why print is dying is actually a reason it will remain alive and well. As print becomes so expensive, less business are going to be able to afford to use it. With so many more cost-effective options available, print ads will become unrealistic for a lot of smaller businesses. As the pool of print advertisers thins, it will become easier to stand out using print marketing – those who can afford to market using print media, and who can afford to do it well, won’t have as much competition for their readers’ attention. Again, print isn’t dying, it is changing – and businesses are going to have to change as well…
… One last aspect of print marketing I want to focus on draws from the quote at the beginning of this chapter. Print may not be the most effective marketing channel for gaining new clients and customers, especially if you are seeking to connect with the masses rather than a few specific people. However, print marketing is still an exceptional client retention tool. It’s easier to miss a short email reminder than it is to miss that postcard reminder from your dentist, and the same applied to businesses in all kinds of industries. I worked briefly at a company that followed up every meeting with a handwritten note, in addition to any email follow-up or phone call that was made. While this might not be feasible for larger businesses, print marketing of any kind can have the same effect. Even if you can’t afford to use print to connect with new clients or customers, you should be using it to reconnect with those you have worked with in the past.
So print definitely is not dead, nor is it dying, but it is changing significantly. People are becoming used to more targeted marketing, and print ads should reflect that preference. Personalization is huge, and will begin to stand out even more as smaller businesses realize just how much more costly print marketing can be.
Every business still needs print, in varying degrees, depending on their specific budget. At the very least, companies should be focusing on making their print advertisements better for retaining clients and following up with solid leads, using this more expensive marketing medium to focus on the select few people that are most likely to give them their business. If you can afford to use print marketing for the masses, still make an effort to utilize variable printing and target your best prospects before focusing on pursuing huge lists of leads.
Stop viewing print as a medium competing with online marketing for your money, and instead see print as a powerful companion to online marketing. Integrate your social media profiles and your website into your print marketing strategies, so that every ad you produce, online or offline, directs people to further contact.
Lastly, like any other modern marketing strategy, analysis is key to print marketing. It is far more difficult to track conversions from print marketing, which is another reason why integration is so key. You can’t tell how many people look at your print ads, but you can track how many visit a link via a QR code or come to your website without a search engine referral. Analyzing the effectiveness of print marketing campaigns will help you adapt and make print more cost-effective.
Print isn’t dead – but emulating Don Draper won’t cut it as print continues to change. As Bill Clinton once said “The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.” Can you change fast enough to keep your print campaigns alive?
About the Author
Nic Mayne is the founder and principal of Mayne Marketing, a full-service agency specializing in small to mid-size business marketing, and law firm marketing. Mayne Marketing currently serves clients in Canada, the USA, SE Asia, and Europe. Born and raised in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, he now resides in Santa Clarita, California, where he is finishing a degree in Politics while also working with clients around the globe. You can find him online at www.maynemarketing.com, or @maynemarketing on Twitter.
Buy Market Me now and learn more from legal marketing experts including Mayne Marketing’s Nic Mayne, Cindy Greenway of LawMarketing.com, RJon Robins of How to Manage a Small Law Firm, and more. With actionable strategies for your SEO, Social Media, PPC, and Link-Building plans and so much more, Market Me provides attorneys, partners, marketing staff, and rainmakers the tools they need to lead business growth. Learn more at www.marketmebook.com or visit www.lulu.com/spotlight/marketme to buy right now.