Posters have a long pedigree. From the main information vehicles used at times of war and conflicts, to the sheet of paper, creatively designed and adorned with a sales message, the poster is still relevant today as it was in the day before the internet.

You can be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the poster has had its day because; surely no one takes notice of them anymore?

Marketing is more real-time, instant, in front of the eye quickly and fleeting… or is it? Do we make decisions so quickly or is there still room for Colour Graphics posters in your marketing campaign?

Big brands are still doing it

Big brands have not abandoned the poster with some of their marketing campaigns having huge results with the humble poster at its centre. Take a look at Volkswagen ‘CLVRLY CMPCT’ poster from 2010 or the Harvey Nichols ‘summer sale – try to contain your excitement poster’. They all used the poster, it vast space to create a campaign with impact.

There are many reasons why any business can – and should – be using posters but what benefits do they bring?

Why posters?

I. An affordable expense

Let’s be honest, for any business in any sector, the marketing budget can be tight unless, of course, you are a major brand with major backing. Squeezing as much as you can out of every pound you spend on marketing is important. Printing and distributing posters is no different.

On one hand, you will read articles that tell you how cheap they are. But before you run out and order a big bunch of them, consider the costs of designing them (the cost of paying someone versus your time creating your own) and the all-important factor that many people miss off from their ‘how much will it cost?’ Calculations – distribution.

Just like business cards, there is no point having a thousand printed if they are only going to sit in a drawer. The same is true of posters; they need designing and distributing.

However, if this sounds off-putting, then it is not meant to be. A dollop of realism is needed in any marketing campaign but the poster still has legs. Designed well and printed to a high quality, the small business can hang the posters themselves – just make sure you know of any by-laws in the area first.

II. Location, location, location!

The last point brings us neatly on to where the posters should be placed. They are a versatile marketing tool, and can appear just about anywhere, from the back wall of your outlet to the bus stop.

But, like every marketing ply takes a little thought and strategy. There is no point in placing posters where your customers won’t see them. Think of your customer demographic and where they are likely to ‘hang out’ so to speak.

III. Repetition

There is a phrase, ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ which, to a certain point is true. However, people need to ‘see’ your posters a few times before they see it. Sounds complicated? It needn’t be. You will see, for example, in the tube stations posters galore and often the same poster will be repeated several times in one area.

However, do this too much and leave them there too long and they become wallpaper, meaning everyone fails to notice them. With the affordability of posters, however, you can afford to change them fairly often.

IV. Call to action

The poster still needs to be active and this is where many a poster design lets them down. Only really big and well-known brands can get away with not having a call to action, so take care if you choose not to include one.

The beauty of a poster is that you need to bear in mind that people who are more likely to see and act on a poster are themselves active, as in ‘out and about’. They may be looking for something to do, places to go and so on, and your poster could have the perfect message for them. Too long the poster as an advertising medium has been a passive tool.

In summary

The poster is not old, dated or passed it. It can still be a vibrant marketing tool in the right hands, backed by the right strategy. Affordable and creative, many big brands are still using them, so why not you?