I need to admit bias at the outset. Our business started in 1988-9, with the advent of early “desktop publishing” that, at the time, reduced the cost of entry into the publishing business because, instead of paying for expensive typesetting equipment or paying large fees to third parties to contract the work, you could do it yourself for virtually nothing. (However, in the early days, you still needed to send colour images — then, yes, originally produced on something called film, to a service bureau which would charge $100 or more per image for the print-ready processing.)
These were the days, of course, when the Yellow Pages ruled in the directory world, and Google hadn’t even been invented.
The then-new technology allowed me to build a print-based trade publishing business from scratch, and with virtually no capital.
Now, let’s view John Sonnhalter’s blog posting, where he advocates that print still is truly relevant in the business-to-trade sector, as he observes that many trade contractors are still in the older demographic:
John, perhaps ironically but certainly appropriately, has produced his blog posting on YouTube.
From what I can see (and with those admittedly biased eyes), here are some observations about print media and marketing for the AEC community.
Print remains truly relevant for longer cycle, higher-end media publicity, based on longer shelf life.
That is, magazines remain truly effective even in the business-to-consumer marketplace because readers don’t expect breaking news and fast change in these publications; that have always been designed for depth rather than a fast shelf life. This explains, for example, why Ottawa Renovates magazine continues to be successful seven years after its launch (well into the electronic age.)
“Print” remains relevant if it is coupled with solid editorial and publisher/community relationships.
Undoubtedly, print media/directories have faltered because the relative advantage and speed of internet search and research is so much more effective. But content — the actual substance in the print media — remains invaluable on the Internet. So print remains relevant if there is worthy content either directly associated with the advertising (as in advertorial or ‘native’ online publicity) or the editorial is effectively embedded or packaged with the advertising/marketing messages (as in tablet-based e-publications and/or websites and eletters where the editorial and advertising are integrated effectively.)
The issue with print advertising, in my opinion, is you should check the numbers, your intended demographics and (most importantly) the publisher’s capacity to deliver the relevant value-added e-services to go along with the print message. Fortunately, in terms of value delivery, many print publishers have been able to evolve sufficiently to maintain and enhance their product’s value. I think we’ve been able to achieve these goals quite well.
You can ask me questions, or share your observations about print advertising’s effectiveness, either by commenting below or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.