The Power of Print

Ink and paper may be one of the oldest advertising mediums but that doesn’t mean it is out of date, argues Ashgrove Marketing’s Terry van Rhyn

I am often involved in discussions with clients about the advertising channel options they should consider for a campaign, or simply ongoing brand awareness. In most cases, I would recommend a well-balanced approach between digital, TV, direct mail, radio and print vehicles, depending, of course, on budget and desired result.

It has made me recently reflect that, even though social media platforms often dominate our decisions about the use of advertising channels, it is crucial to recognise that print advertising is still holding its ground as a valuable and effective marketing tool.

Whilst not discounting all the incredible value of employing digital channels or TV as part of our marketing tool kit, I do feel sometimes that we are not treating print with the respect is deserves.

Quite simply, print offers a tangible presence that digital platforms simply cannot replicate. Whether it’s flipping through a magazine or opening a well-designed brochure, the physical nature of print captures attention and allows for a deeper connection with the content.

A well-researched and selected choice of publication also allows a print ad to engage with the demographic profile (or tribe) of its readership. It is therefore no surprise to find that research shows these readers often perceive print advertisements as more reliable and trustworthy than the fleeting and sometimes dubious information found on social media platforms.

It is also true that people have a different relationship with a printed magazine in that readers are in control of when and how or what they choose to read.

Imagine that your favourite sailing, business or fashion magazine has arrived. If you are like me, I would make myself a cup of coffee, sit down in my favourite chair, put on some chill music in the background and then experience the utter joy of becoming updated on the latest sailing news.

As a reader, I trust this publication because of the editorial insights by experts in their fields. And guess what? Even the advertising has a rub because it’s aimed at people like me with similar interests and a curiosity about the subject.

There is no doubt in my mind that print advertising allows businesses to reach highly targeted audiences through specialist publications, because these magazines, trade journals, or business magazines (like Portfolio) cater to specific interests, hobbies, and industries.

By placing advertisements in these publications, businesses can directly reach their desired audiences, ensuring their message reaches individuals who are most likely to be attracted to their products or services. And the selective nature of the medium means that readers will see it when they are in a receptive state. Win, win!

Furthermore, print ads possess a unique visual impact that can leave a lasting impression. A well-designed and creatively appealing print ad has the potential to stand out and be memorable. This increased memorability promotes brand recall, ensuring that potential customers are more likely to consider the advertised brand when making purchasing decisions.

Of course, other advertising mediums have their place but, rather than viewing print advertising and social media as competing entities, it is essential we accept that they are complementary.

Print advertising, in particular, can play an important supplementary role in a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes social media, outdoor, TV, radio, etc. By embracing all communication mediums strategically, businesses can maximize their reach and impact, leveraging the unique advantages of each platform to engage a broader audience.

Unlike in the 80s and 90s, when the agencies I worked for believed that TV commercials were marketing silver bullets for delivering results for clients, there is no one “fits all sizes” answer to today’s marketing communications.

In fact, all these amazing communication channels and advertising tools we have to play with makes it far more interesting to be in the industry now than it was back then.

So it’s important we don’t overlook any opportunities to engage with potential clients and consumers, whether that’s through traditional or 21st century means.

And with that, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to catch up with all the latest sailing news!