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  • Angie Segraves

Is There Still Value in Print Advertising?

We’re well into the 21st century at this point, leading many to believe it’s time to ditch traditional print advertising. In this technology-fueled era, it appears as though most consumers turn to their phones, tablets, and assorted devices to research and make purchases. Common sense, therefore, dictates that the place to invest in advertising is in the virtual spheres of email, social media, and websites. However, before jumping onto the purely digital promotional wagon, there are a few things to consider.

The first is your audience. While it is true that roughly 65% of consumers turn first to search engines when looking for a business, product or service, and that number is growing all the time, not everyone feels comfortable with the medium. There is a whole generation who prefers to interact with traditional sources of information, especially when making a big purchase, like a car. If you want to reach an older demographic, using print advertising could bring more traffic to your dealership than an email blast or Facebook promotion.

Those of a certain age are not the only ones who trust ads they can hold in their hands more than those they can swipe at. According to a Neilson Global Trust in Advertising report from 2015 millennials still show high confidence in print advertising, even as they simultaneously interact with the digital kind. Overall, the report found that around the world, faith in print remains high as 60% of respondents said they trust newspapers and 58% magazines.

A Local Search Association survey of Americans echoes this, showing that the print version of the Yellow Pages was cited among the top five sources people accessed to find services. Clearly, consumer use and confidence in print advertisements are still high, making it a good option especially if used in targeted campaigns, such as advertising in trade magazines or local papers.

Another reason to think twice before tossing your print advertising channels is to realize that print advertising often functions differently than digital advertising. Print ads help you establish your brand and visibility in ways online marketing doesn’t. Readers interact with print advertisements differently: it’s a much more personal encounter, as print ads are tangibly felt and often looked at longer than digital ones. They also hang around longer in people’s homes. While a pop-up ad is easily ignored, you may pin a dealership print ad to your cork board, stick a business card in your wallet or keep a magazine with an ad inside in your bathroom for months. This again further concretizes brand awareness.

To be sure, this is not an all or nothing proposition. The two forms of promotion can–and should–be used in tandem, with one heightening your brand recognition and the other directing people directly to you. Adding QR codes can draw the younger crowd to your online presence; including a phone number can bring the other half.

Bottom line? Diversify. Just as a shrewd investor won’t put all their eggs in any one financial basket, neither should your dealership rely solely on page views or circulars. A dynamic, varied approach should reap the greatest rewards.

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