Challenge: How to determine your print advertising approach.
All too often, companies focus on tangible programs that drive sales activities. Google pay-per-click advertising has dramatically shifted the balance of marketing spend because it is highly effective in driving early stage prospects to vendor websites and is highly correlated with future revenue. However, the marketer must remember that the buying process is just that – a process. There are many touch points in the sales process and print advertising still has its place.
Generally speaking, prospects now read less print than in years past. This has been reflected in the dramatic drop in number of print publications and the reduction in size of the remaining publications. Typically, I have found that the print readership is older than average – and potentially more valuable as they may be more senior in the organization. Therefore print advertising (including magazines, newspapers, billboards, etc.) must be considered as part of the overall marketing budget.
My general rule in approaching print advertising is to survey existing customers to learn more about the publications they read. If there is a clear direction in the publication, my preference is to establish regular insertions with simple messaging to reinforce the other online programs. Remember that your ad will likely be read within four to five seconds. What do you want someone to walk away with in this very short time?
Focus on color, graphics and the headline. These should reinforce your core messaging and therefore be another important step in the sales process. While hard to track, if you look at the number of prospects going directly to your website or using your company name as a key word, this is a measure of the impact of your advertising and PR programs (cannot forget partner sales activities as well). These are often your best prospects – so building your brand with consistent messaging and color will make all other elements of your programs more effective. Since funds are often limited, select one or two of the top publications and concentrate your advertising for maximum impact.
Lesson: Don’t underestimate the importance of your print advertising programs – maintain a regular flow of advertising within the same publications to make your impressions last.