Is Printed Advertising Dead?

By | February 7, 2015

Printed advertising has the potential to feel like it might just lose its popularity. As more and more people flock to using the internet it is reasonable for some people to ask “Is Printed Advertising Dead?”

is-print-deadPrinted advertising materials including flyers, brochures and pamphlets have been used for many years to get marketing messages out into the general population. People stand on street corners with political flyers, they hand out medical information at doctor’s surgeries and they place business information in letterboxes and under the windscreen wipers of your car. All of these methods utilise mainly paper items that have been printed up by a local printing business.

As the internet has become more popular, advertisers have started to use your favourite website to get the message out about their products. Go to any news site and you will see advertising banners promoting weight loss, hardware store special sales and any number of jewellery/television shows/fast food advertisements that flash and shout “look at me!” Advertisers are getting better and better to targeting these advertisements to the actual user too.

But there are a few reasons why printed advertising materials will prevail for a long time yet:

  1. People still like to read printed items. Book lovers may have a Kindle to read their favourite novel, but many still yearn for a printed book to hold in their hands. Advertising material is really no different. It’s quick and easy to read a flyer.
  2. Printed advertising material to a mailbox requires no effort on the part of the receiver.   In many cases they get it out of their mailbox and read it on the way into the kitchen. Advertising material on the internet requires the computer (or mobile device) to be turned on, connected to the internet and the message to be sought out; either by reading email, clicking on banner advertising on websites or going to a particular business site. These are all extra actions that may reduce the chances of your target audience seeing your message. Online sellers are always advised to get the sale with the least number of clicks required by the buyer. Getting your advertising message out is no different; the least number of actions required gives you the best chance of getting eyes on your message.
  3. When you use printed items you can deliver them into homes or deliver the flyers at the door of your business fairly effortlessly. Whether your audience needs the flyer or not, they will receive one and will often read it to see if they are interested in what it has to offer. With digital advertising, you have to seek out the places where your target audience hangs out. Forums, social media sites, email lists etc. This is an extra step to make sure your message reaches your audience. People using the internet are often in a hurry and don’t click on every advertising message just to see if they are interested. They decide quickly that they are or are not. If your advertising message isn’t enticing, they don’t click and you miss your opportunity to sell your product.

The one place where internet marketing is particularly effective and does have an advantage over printed advertising is the use of an email list. If you’ve spent some time collecting email addresses of people that are interested in your product you have a good chance of converting that list into sales. A good email list is heavily weighted in your favour and allows you to target your advertising message to that audience.

Unlike traditional letterbox drops and mail outs, you can also track how many of your emails are actually opened and read. This is a big plus and can help you tailor your message more appropriately in subsequent contact with the email subscribers.

So traditional printed advertising won’t be dying a quick death anytime soon. Of course online marketing such as email lists and ePamphlets is gaining in popularity but until businesses are confident that they are getting an appropriate return on their dollars they will most likely continue to pour money into the usual advertising avenues where they are comfortable operating.