Just over the last few years, countless reasons have been given to explain why print advertising is no longer a sensible marketing investment. First, there was social media marketing. Then there were all of the “bright and shiny objects” that fall under the social media umbrella. Foursquare, the platform that allows you to “check in” to locations, was far more important than print advertising. Then it was Quora, the question and answer platform. Pinterest, Instagram, and now content marketing have all been presented as better investments of time and money than print advertising.
We can’t say that all companies should be investing in print marketing today, just as we can’t say that all companies should be investing in social media marketing today. We are working with one client whose industry is steadily moving away from strong print publications and more towards white papers, webinars, and more. As a rule, however, especially in the Business-to-Business world, we still believe that industry publications are important. Here are a few things to consider.
Professionals ask to receive these publications
Apart from associations, where members often receive a magazine as part of the membership package, we still see a high rate of requests for business publications in the B2B world. Having reviewed many Reader Study reports over the years that also include information about how readers perceive of the publication, we also find that many people still sit down to read their publications from front cover to back cover. There are many reasons professionals request magazines, but the predominant one is that they want to stay informed about their industry. Magazines, unlike most other sources, offer a regular, credible resource for learning about new products, industry trends, and current events that are impacting (or that may impact) the industry.
You can spy on the competition
Even if your competitors do not advertise much, it is possible that they may submit a case study or a press release to key publications. These kinds of pieces offer great coverage for them, but it also can tell you what your competitors are doing.
Although not all publications are audited, certainly, many key industry publications are. This takes the guesswork out of your company’s media buy. An audit from an auditing company like BPA or AAM (formerly ABC) will not just tell you how many people receive the magazine, but you will also learn the geographic distribution of the audience, what job positions are reached by the publication, and more. This can tell you whether the publication is a good fit for you and can also help you hone your message so that it has the most impact for that specific audience.
People trust magazines
Last, but certainly not least, magazines remain credible. On September 23, 2013, Nielsen released a report on marketing trends, including what forms of media were seen as the most credible. The report notes, “Sixty percent of global respondents trusted ads in magazines, an increase of four percentage points from 2007.” Think about that. In the face of social media, content marketing, and all of the hype about how print is dying or dead, people actually have increased their trust in print magazines over the last six years.
As we said at the beginning of this post, print advertising may not be a good match for your company. However, if you are not sure whether print advertising is a good match, our advice is not to dismiss it out of hand just because so many people say print advertising is now “out of fashion.” As with all marketing tactics, do a little research and see what is happening in your industry. You may find that adding print advertising to your 2014 marketing campaign turns out to be a great strategic move!
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hectoralejandro/3967217852/ via Creative Commons