Insight July 9, 2019

The Critics Had It Wrong: Print Advertising Isn’t Dead


Once upon a time, print advertising was the only option for businesses looking to sell their services. Now, B2B marketers can build multi-channel strategies that employ any number of mediums, from billboards and radio spots to augmented reality and voice assistants. With so many options, it can be easy to overlook print advertising – but it’s more important than ever.

Over the past few years there has been plenty of grumbling about how print is dead. It makes sense. Newspaper and magazine circulation is shrinking. People are spending more of their time online. But before you dismiss print advertising as an outmoded medium, there are a few things you might want to consider.

Print advertising inspires trust.

Placing an advertisement or writing an article for a trade publication takes time. You need to write, edit, design and submit your ad in advance of publication. And once it runs, there is no do-over. Unlike a digital ad or sponsored post online, printed content is permanent and cannot be altered.

Perhaps that’s why a study by MarketingSherpa found that the most trusted advertising channel when consumers are making a purchasing decision is print, specifically newspapers and magazines (82 percent). Once consumers “get it in writing” they are more inclined to believe that your product or service is legitimate.

Print advertising build connections.

If you want to make an impression, print advertising is the way to go. Neuroscience research shows brand recall is 70 percent higher when reading print compared to digital.

Just holding your advertisement in their hands can help build a meaningful connection in the reader’s brain. When people engage with a physical piece of content it engages their “haptic memory” or touch memory.

For pieces that you produce, such as direct mailers or brochures, it’s important to note that the feel of your collateral can affect how your prospects feel about your brand. You want to take into account the quality and texture of the paper and find one that conveys the feeling that you want prospects to have when they receive it.

Print advertising targets a specific audience.

When you place an ad in a newspaper, a magazine or an industry-specific trade publication, you’re speaking to a very specific audience. Imagine you wanted to place an ad for industrial tents, such as the ones used at oil refineries. Would you rather purchase ad space in Garden & Gun or BIC Magazine?

While you may be able to reach more people with a digital campaign, your print advertising placements are sent directly to your target audience’s home. Plus, you can tie in your print ads strategically with your print campaign by directing prospects to a lead generation page on your website.

Four Quick Tips for Successful Print Advertisements

Grab them with the headline. Even if you have the best product or service in your industry, it’s a challenge to grab your prospect’s attention. You only have a few seconds, so make your headlines count. You want a strong, creative hook that commands attention and provokes interest. Leave the details for the small print.

Keep things short and sweet. After your first draft, take the copy and cut it in half. You want to get down to the essential message about what your product or service can do for your customer in a way that is quick and easy to digest. If your ad is too busy or copy-heavy you run the risk that the reader will skim, rather than read.

Focus on the visuals. Your design should work with the copy to convey your message. The imagery should be simple and bold – and don’t be afraid to include some white space.

Give your CTA some TLC. With any piece of print advertising content, the ultimate goal is to get your prospects to take the desired next step. Visit your website. Clip a coupon. Call a sales rep. Whatever your call-to-action is, make sure that it’s optimized to help you get those leads!

Add life to your marketing. Connect with customers. We can put print to work for your business.