3 Reasons to Include Print Advertising in Your Media Mix

  • Categories:

    Media Strategy

  • Date:

    July 22, 2019

3 Reasons to Include Print Advertising in Your Media Mix

Media Strategy

As an advertiser, how do you navigate your media mix in a complex, ever-changing media world? At Wray Ward, we start by tapping into our industry’s most up-to-the-minute knowledge base and current data. This helps us identify the pros and cons of each media type for a specific client or campaign.

Do you evaluate print advertising as part of an overarching media strategy for your brand? This month, our team had the opportunity to meet with Linda Thomas Brooks, president and CEO of the Association of Magazine Media (MPA), to discuss trends in magazine publishing and implications for advertisers.

Here are three key takeaways.

1. If your advertising goals include brand affinity and purchase intent, print outscores digital and TV.

    A print campaign can communicate the message and connect with audiences in a way that is relevant and motivating. According to a recent study by Kantar Millward Brown Digital, print simply works harder at achieving these specific brand KPIs.

    With that said, a successful media strategy looks at the whole ecosystem. That means other brand KPIs are best achieved through other channels.

    For example, digital marketing may be more targeted than print. It allows more frequency and, via specific tracking, can provide more measurable results. Digital builds brand affinity in an entirely different way.

    We used to call TV a mass medium, but that label doesn’t fit as well these days. However, TV still delivers a powerful message in a way that can’t be replicated by other media types. TV and video’s combined elements of sight and sound move an audience in a special way. Remember, much of media planning depends on your call to action and messaging. You also need to understand your customer’s journey and consider how each tactic can play a role in that journey. In doing so, you may decide that compared to print, digital won’t build as much brand affinity during the awareness or introductory stage, but it will work when your customer is ready to buy.

    2. Magazines are extremely important to influencers and influentials.

      To be clear, this is not paid influencer marketing, but rather the influencers people (including our clients’ home category prospects) turn to for advice. This includes three critical categories for home marketers — home furnishings, interior decorating and home remodeling.

      These are the people potential customers see as their expert friend network, and a 2018 study by MRI-Simmons shows they’re using magazines as their key source of information. Using magazines is another way to cultivate lucrative word-of-mouth or referral marketing. In turn, influentials who see our ad in print will become educated on our products and have knowledge of our communications and key messages.

      The opportunity is clear, but it’s up to advertisers to ensure magazines work really hard for their brand. This goes back to the messaging, the visual and/or the creative nuances of the ad. and to making sure you’re positioning your brand in a way that’s appealing to the regular reader and the influential — keeping in mind the latter is a key part of your audience. That may mean leaning more aspirational or educational or, as we did with Palmetto Bluff, making part of their campaign a little more mysterious.

      3. Much advertising outreach for home marketers focuses on social media, where print social brands deliver results.

        Social media represents a space where brands can communicate with an extremely targeted audience, providing a specific message with frequency. And, according to 2019 Q1 data from the MPA, print-associated, home and garden social brands outperform non-print social brands on engagement — especially on Facebook (compared to Instagram and Twitter, where the playing field is far more even).

        Frankly, this is a bit surprising. After all, when it comes to social media, we typically think of non-magazine brands such as Apartment Therapy, Design Milk and Houzz, all of which have robust social communications with an engaged audience.

        But magazine brands are garnering more attention and response. And as a marketer, especially if you need to pull off a vibrant campaign with considerable messaging frequency, all on limited dollars, those dollars are best spent by augmenting a print campaign with a magazine brand’s social media.

        Why can social media for print-associated brands work so hard for advertisers?

        For starters, research shows that on social media, print magazine brands are respected, well known and trusted for their advice. They have name recognition: someone from Houzz may not be as familiar as someone from Elle Decor. (A certain consumer may not read Elle Decor, but they probably know what it is and assume it’s a trusted source.) So, brands that attach themselves to these print pubs are positioning themselves as a go-to resource for the home consumer. And on social media, print magazines are activity hubs: people are commenting, sharing, asking questions and looking for advice from the social influencers they view as experts.

        Getting the most out of print

        Publishers that have figured out how to reinvent themselves in a digital world aren’t just breathing — they’re thriving.

        Want to make the most of advertising with print magazines? Include print as part of a carefully constructed media mix, and always nail down your customer journey and campaign goals before determining the mix. Do that, and you’ll be well on your way to capturing an audience that already knows and trusts your print partners.

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