Thursday, April 8, 2010

Long Live Print

If you're like me, you've probably noticed that some magazines are getting thinner. They have fewer editorial stories and ads. Some companies are moving out of print to online. Online, with the ability to track impressions and clicks, seems to be the holy grail of advertising. You only pay for what you get. Google even allows you to pay only when someone clicks on your ad.

Actually, print is where words go to live. The Internet is wonderful when you already know what you're interested in. Print, however, is the perfect introduction to an informed debate and to the deep resources of the Web. The words and pictures in print or on the same magazine's web site become the basis for searching, linking, talking and ranting for those with the time or inclination to do so. The Web is the friend of print, not its killer.

With that said, I believe print is a viable advertising medium, especially when considering a business to business audience. So here goes, my top five reasons to continue using print.

1. Audience - There is a business magazine for every industry and job function. Publishers spend a ton of money developing and auditing a targeted circulation. They continue to be one of the best sources for reaching a targeted audience.

2. Editorial - Publishers still provide great editorial and have credibility with their audience. This editorial is where your targeted audience turns to for insights and knowledge. Much of this editorial can eventually be found online, but print is still the initial source for quality editorial.

3. Availability - Many companies limit their employees' use of the Internet. Your prospect may not be able to go to web sites where you are running your banner ads. However, they are free to read business magazines.

4. Brand Awareness - The print platform still builds brand awareness. Studies continue to show that ads in magazines actually boost search engine traffic. Seeing a print ad often prompts prospects to visit web sites, or do searches for products or services offered in an ad.

5. Mobility - People still like to take paper with them. Just look around the next time you're on an airplane or at the doctor's office. You'll see people reading magazines.

In 20 years, ink on paper will survive as trust is still king.

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To share common sense lessons learned with 40-plus years experience in marketing, sales and as a B2B publisher.