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Nostalgia is a powerful motivator in the current market. However, it’s not baby boomers or Gen Xers; it’s millennials. The millennial generation was the first to grow up in an always-online, always-connected world, which taught them that being online all the time could be dangerous. Pop-up ads were not only ubiquitous and distracting — they could lead to a computer getting a virus.
Print media, on the other hand, is not as cheap as online advertising. A company can’t steal your personal information or shut down your computer just by having someone read a piece of print advertising. Instead, it takes time, money, expertise, and effort to actual create a print ad campaign.
As such, millennials love print advertising as it makes them nostalgic for a simpler time, when pop-up ads were not shoved in their face day in and day out, and they weren’t bombarded by ads on the sides of websites. Consider that half of millennials ignore online advertising, and it’s possible to install add-ons to completely block ads. Meanwhile, 82 percent of millennials read direct mail advertising and 70 percent used grocery retail inserts and coupons within the past month. More than half were looking forward to receiving a print catalogue. Direct mail advertising also has 5.1 percent response rate with house lists, or existing customers, and 2.9 percent response rate with a prospect list, or potential customers. All of digital advertising combined only has a 2 percent response rate.
It’s Not Distracting
Part of this comes from print ads not being distracting. It’s not a pop-up stopping them from browsing the internet; it’s not ads along the side of a site, flashing colors and drawing the eye away. It takes them out of the moment.
Flipping through a magazine, on the other hand, means the ads are static. Unlike a pop-up ad, static ads do not flash bright colors rapidly. It’s not distracting. It may interrupt an article, but they are still more likely to focus on a page than they are to try to hurriedly hit the skip button while waiting for a YouTube video. A bus-stop ad is something a person will stare at and read, but the same can’t be said of those being forced to contend with a pop-up blocking out an entire website.
Print ads are also tactile, something that digital ads lack. A postcard can be turned over and examined as someone is sorting their mail. It’s something they have to touch and do something with, rather than just ignoring an online advertisement.
In 2007, mail catalogues peaked at 19.6 billion, and they were a force to contend with in both the retail and wholesale marketing spheres. But, in 2016, only 9.6 billion catalogs were delivered. This may sound like a dying industry, but consider the numbers from before: Print advertising has a better response rate than online advertising. This means that there is less competition for getting eyes on an ad.
These are the strengths of a print ad. Not only will you have less competition to contend with, there’s the tactile aspect. Paper is friendly and warm rather than giving a cold feeling like a digital ad. All of this combined means print ads are more memorable than a throwaway online ad. Print ads can be simple and easy to remember, and are cost-effective enough that you can run multiple campaigns for the same message but in different ways.
Take advantage of the fact that you can create targeted, personalized direct mail to a specific area or demographic to test results. Research the competition, such as other magazines in the target area. If possible and relevant to your business, consider a product catalogue or a seasonal catalogue. Finally, if possible, send a free sample along with the print ad. It’s something online advertising simply can’t do with physical products and will give you an edge up on competitors who are focused on online advertising.
Devin prides himself on being a jack of all trades; his career trajectory is more a zigzag than an obvious trend, just the way he likes it. He pops up across the Pacific Northwest, though never in one place for long. You can follow him more reliably on Twitter.
New Orleans, LA