By Amy Hansen, MPA Media Marketing Services Coordinator

In today’s new media landscape and challenging economic times, companies are undoubtedly feeling pressure to justify how their media budget is allocated. With marketing budgets shrinking and new media platforms emerging every day, the decision to continue to invest in traditional media such as print is being challenged to prove its value and impact on sales. The time has come to evaluate your media mix to make certain you are successfully reaching your target audience, building brand awareness and effectively communicating the value of your products. Print advertising can help you do just that.

In recent times, some marketers have dismissed print as an “outdated” medium no longer relevant to today’s marketing efforts, but market research suggests that print is not dead. In fact, data from Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI) shows magazine readership has actually risen 4.3 percent over the past five years. This same data also tells us that four out of five adults are currently reading magazines. These statistics tell us print is very much “alive and well” and reinforces the idea that print media is still a very viable advertising medium.

Another recent study by Yankelovich proved print ads are “much more likely” to make a positive impact on people than ads in digital media. Why? Readers of print media are more immersed in the content and tend to be more receptive to the publication’s print ads. In today’s world of email overload, a well-designed print ad can easily stand out, grab attention and cut through the overwhelming amount of online clutter we are exposed to on a daily basis.

Even online advertisers are starting to recognize the value and impact print can bring to their marketing initiatives. They are finding print is especially powerful when it is effectively combined with other media elements as part of an integrated marketing program. Online advertisers are catching on to print media’s ability to target a specific audience where they “live.” While online advertising can effectively reach large numbers of people, the audience reached is much less targeted then it is with print advertising.

In addition to targeting a specific audience, print advertising also has the power to boost web traffic and spur online purchasing as shown in studies by Marketing Evolution, JupiterResearch and the Online Publishers Association. Print is the number one driver of purchase intent with more than half of all readers acting on magazine ads, according to a study by Affinity Research. In fact, a study from BIGresearch in 2008 shows that magazines lead newer media channels in influencing customers to start an online search. A study by McPfeters & Company, Conde Nast and CBS Vision also revealed that print builds more brand awareness than other mediums. In the study, magazine ad recall was three times that of online banner ads, yet again reinforcing the power of print and the tremendous value it brings as part of your marketing approach.

I’m not advocating you abandon any of your online tactics, but rather combine multiple media platforms to reach more of your target audience and achieve greater marketing impact. The growing use of new media channels, combined with the power of print can move you closer to achieving sales and branding goals. Print can drive your customers and prospects to your website where you can convert clicks into sales. It can raise your brand awareness and push people to your Facebook and Twitter pages where you can connect deeper with your customers and communicate your brand and product values. The key to any successful marketing campaign is the ability to engage your target audience with compelling content that prompts them to take action. Print advertising, when used as part of an integrated, multichannel marketing strategy, can do just that by reaching your customers and prospects where they are to build your brand and drive your sales.

http://www.mpamedia.com/marketingmatters/archives/2010/sep2010_2.php