In the late ‘90s, traditional marketing was changed almost overnight by the internet. Not only were there new avenues to reach customers, but the internet forced advertisers to change their message to fit the platform. Because of this, traditional marketing has taken a back seat to more modern and cost-effective ways of digital marketing.
What is Traditional Marketing?
Traditional marketing is often thought of as a combination of platform and messaging. Traditional platforms are broadcast media (TV, radio, and billboards) and print media (newspapers, magazines, direct mail, and catalogs). Traditional messaging focuses on getting consumers to buy a product or service. It’s pretty simple, “Here’s our product and here’s how to get it.”
Traditional platforms have taken a major hit since 1990. Radio, network television, and other types of broadcast media have seen a drop in listeners and viewers. But, it’s printed newspapers that have really felt the pinch of the digital age. Consolidation and complete shutdowns of hometown papers had a wide-spread effect on the industry. Their circulation is less than half of what it used to be in the United States. Plus they have shifted most of their focus to the internet. However, with all these changes, physical newspapers remain as viable as ever.
What’s really changed for traditional marketing is the message. Today’s messaging tells a story that engages with consumers and motivates them to purchase a product or service. The message is about the experience. Research has shown that this type of messaging has higher rates of customer retention and promotes brand loyalty.
How Print Marketing Works, Today
The news about print isn’t actually as bleak as it seems. Print marketing strategy has evolved to provide customized messages for a more personal touch. It’s taking a cue from digital marketing and it’s working.
One of the problems with print in the past was the cost. A brochure cost more than a website. The printing industry recognized this and cut costs through major advances in technology. And now they can offer retailers more personalization and engaging messages that feel authentic. Best of all, direct mail and sales leave-behinds have a higher pass-along rate and longer shelf-life than digital.
For newspapers and trade publications, they took a major hit over the past decade, yet still have large circulation numbers. What’s changed is that they have a more loyal audience. These readers are more engaged than ever. And, the interesting thing about print is that it forces a person to read it because they have invested their time and money to read it.
Think of it like vinyl records and how they almost died like the dinosaurs in the ‘90s. There are audiophiles who want analog sound and hated digitized music on CDs. They kept records alive and record sales have increased over 1,300% over the past ten years. The same can be said for newspapers. There is a large segment of the population that like the format and physical touch of a paper. But the newspaper industry continues to lose subscribers and it’s anyone’s guess when it hits the bottom, so it’s a buyer’s market.
Print Marketing Strategy
So, the answer is no, print marketing is not dead. If fact, it is still relevant and viable. Whether it’s newspapers or brochures, it should be part of your marketing mix. The only real change is the message. Traditional marketing messages don’t engage with millennials, who are the largest generation in the United States. Successful print marketing strategy has to feel authentic through a visually attractive piece with engaging content. This means professional ads with personalized messaging, so it pays to do some research to know what grabs their attention.