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When to Use (or Avoid) Print Advertising

To paraphrase Mark Twain: “The reports of (print advertising’s) death have been greatly exaggerated”.

It’s true that the effectiveness of print advertising has been greatly diminished by digital marketing platforms. Marketing agencies report that digital ads are seen by more people than print ads, by a huge margin. Digital ads are cheaper as well. But how do they stack up against print ads in terms of effectiveness?

In October 2016, Marketing Sherpa surveyed 1,200 consumers with the following query:

“In general which type of advertising channels do you trust more when you want to make a purchase decision? Please sort the options into ‘Ads I trust’ and ‘Ads I don’t trust that much’ categories.”

Here are the results of the “Ads I trust” category:

when to use print advertising

Print advertising generates an emotional response from a reader

As reported by Roger Dooley, Temple University researchers back up the claim that consumers trust print advertising more than any other format. Using fMRI brain scans to compare responses to both digital and paper ads produced the following results:

print more trustworthy than digital

Print ads are tangible. They stick around as long as the publication’s content is still relevant. Newspapers might be read over a period of days by multiple family members. Magazines have a much longer shelf life: they may remain in a doctor’s office rack for a year; in a home, they may last a month or two. Seasonal tourist magazines and antiquing road maps may be held for years.

Antique dealers can generate more consumer trust in their businesses and their products through print advertising than they can through digital advertising. But, the costs are steep. Print ads can be useful to Antique and Vintage dealers if they are used selectively.

Adnews reporter Lindsay Bennet quotes a Magazine Network study that demonstrates that ads placed in “lifestyle” magazines – those aimed at a particular readership niche – resonate well with consumers because the magazine’s “trust” factor rubs off on the advertiser:

“Through an analysis of more than 4000 readers, it found lifestyle magazine advertising has a significant impact on the consumer journey, increasing awareness by 31% and the consideration of a purchase by 33%.”

On the other hand, Jason DeMers at Forbes Magazine asserts that, overall, print advertising is in a steep decline and that print advertising agencies had best put together an exit plan.

In other words, print is working for some brands and not working for others. How can we be reasonably sure that it will work for you? The key is to match the publication with your particular promotion. Here are a few tips:

• If you want to publicize your shop and build traffic, buy an ad in Sunday Driver offers a fold-out map of a particular region, surrounded by dealer display ads and a directory. It’s published annually and given away to consumers for free.
• Keep continuous classified ads in your local Pennysaver, Thrifty Nickel, or similar publication for “estates wanted”, “always buying”, or some such twist. Remember, you will always need inventory, and you don’t have to buy everything that comes your way.
• National antiques publications, like Antique Trader Magazine and Maine Antique Digest. In order to afford display ads in these you will need to be having a major sale with lots of good collectibles. If not, placing a buying-selling classified or small display ad will boost your credibility and get you some sales.

• Don’t waste money on local newspaper advertising (unless you’re holding a going-out-of-business sale). This is a shotgun approach; your ad will only be read by a small percentage of the paper’s readership
• Of course, stay away from the Yellow Pages. It’s an absolute, total, waste of money.

In general, print publications are aimed at a general market in order to appeal to a wide variety of interests. In that way, they can sell lots of advertising. But antique specialists need to target antique and collectibles buyers. So, if you’re going to advertise in print only advertise in publications that target those buyers.

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