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Avoid These 6 FSI Mistakes and Earn Big This Memorial Day

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 @ 08:00 AM

When it comes to insider marketing, there is no more effective option than insert media. Think about it: getting your offer inside of an already-trusted and beloved newspaper means customers will automatically see your company and offer in the best possible light.

With Memorial Day weekend around the corner, it’s a good idea to step up your FSI game. With this in mind, here are 6 of the most common mistakes advertisers make with their insert campaigns. Avoid these at all costs to earn big this summer.

  1. Not Testing

Many marketers think that testing is not important, or they assume their budget isn’t big enough. But the truth is, you don’t need to distribute millions of pieces to determine if the channel will work for your company.

Test small.

You can minimize your risk by distributing enough to get an accurate gauge. For example, you can test four different programs with 25,000 in each. This is typically a better and more telling way to go than testing a single program with 100,000.

To determine which programs to test, keep a couple of things in mind:

  • Demographics of the program
  • The total universe of the program – if the test is successful, you want to know you can roll out effectively.

Be sure to vary your tests in terms of audience and category. It’s never a good idea to test a single category or a single audience. The more you vary your testing, the better your odds of finding success.

And one final note regarding testing (can you tell testing is important) – one successful test does not a successful campaign make. Don’t do a full roll out just because one test proved successful. Take a bit of time to make sure your positive results are in fact positive before committing to a big roll out.

If you start testing now, you should be able to confidently roll out your FSI campaign for Memorial Day Weekend, one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.

  1. Not Coding

Do you always code your inserts? If not, how do you gauge if the channel and/or campaign was successful? Each program should have its own unique code, as should each month within a particular program. Coding helps you keep track of your success so you can make every advertising dollar count.

  1. Not Standing Out from the Crowd

You can’t rest on the newspaper’s laurels, you’ve got to stand out on your own. It’s easy for your FSI to get lost in the package, so use the entire space to your advantage. The average maximum dimensions for an insert program are 5-1/2″ x 8 1/2″. Why risk getting lost in the package with a 3 ½” x 5” insert. As they say: Go big or go home.

  1. Not Communicating with Your Media Buyer

You’ve got to share detailed information with your media buyer about the efficacy of your campaigns. And the more details you offer, the better able they will be to return qualified program recommendations. A program may not have worked at $45/M but it may at $30/M. Your buyer won’t be able to adjust on your behalf if all you say is, “It didn’t work.” Be specific and share as much as you can.

  1. Not Optimizing for Mobile

If you are going to include a mobile link in your insert’s offer then you’ll need to make sure your website is optimized for mobile browsing. This should be a no-brainer at this point but we still see so many companies who have neglected to optimize for mobile.

  1. Not Considering Lead Times

Most insert media campaigns need to be created and handed over weeks in advance of distribution. Understand that collation, production and delivery all take time, so if you want to get your inserts in the Memorial Day weekend paper, better get started… NOW!

There is no denying FSIs are a great way to get your offer in front of the right crowd and boost your revenue. Just be sure to avoid these 6 mistakes so you can taste success this summer season.

Topics: print advertising, frequency of newspapers ads, free standing inserts, preprint

3 Tips on Getting Customer Reviews

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Mon, Apr 10, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

I almost don’t remember a time before Yelp. I don’t want to remember a time before Yelp. Yelp, and other consumer review sites, are what keep me from getting a hair-don’t. Review sites are what ensure I never pay $400 for a spark plug. And review sites are what save me time and again from the horror that is soggy Crab Rangoon.

I am certainly not the only one who owes their life, or at least their hard-earned dollars, to review sites. Most people, when they hear of a new (or perhaps merely ‘new to them’) local business, immediately begin an online search to see what kind of ratings these establishments have gotten.

If you are a local mom and pop shop or some kind of brick and mortar establishment, consumers are going to look for your star rating and review panel before handing over their hard-earned cash. Should your reviews be ho-hum, or worse, non-existent, the chances that those consumers will give your business a shot decrease significantly.

According to a Local Consumer Review Survey published in 2016 by BrightLocal, 91% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews for local businesses, a 20% increase from 2010.

Google, Bing and other platforms have made consumer reviews readily accessible to the masses. At this point in time, the link between local business searches and visibility of reviews is more than evident.

Here are 3 tips on getting more consumer reviews:

  1. You Need at Least 3 Stars

When consumers search for your business, what do they see? They see your company name, maybe some contact information and those stars. They instantly judge you and decide whether or not they will patronize your establishment by how many stars you have. You know this because you do it yourself. We all do it.

Who has time to research a company completely? Answer: no one. We all just want to be able to quickly decide on whether to try the Thai restaurant on Market Street or the one on Elm Road.

According to BrightLocal’s survey, 87% of consumers said they would use a local business if it maintained a 3-5-star rating. We can tell from this consumers do not expect you to be perfect, they also realize not everyone’s opinion may be reliable. They simply want to see some overall good ratings and consistency.

So, if you are below 3 stars work hard at getting that score up. You will no doubt likely see a spike in business when you do.

  1. Those 5 Reviews from 3 Years Ago Won’t Cut It

If you’re going to place a bet on who will win the Super Bowl, will you choose your team based on how they performed nine years ago, or how they performed this current season?

Prospective customers want to see relevant reviews, and that means recent reviews. Back to our survey, it showed that 73% of consumers won’t even pay attention to reviews older than three months. And most respondents said they only read reviews posted in the last month.

Be sure to always have a steady flow of reviews coming in. Here are some ways to get reviews:

  • If you have local clients that you invoice, consider adding something to the invoice that says, “Love your experience? Then please review us on Google+.”
  • Use a platform like com. GetFiveStars sends an email to your client list or subscriber list asking them to leave a review on Google, Facebook, or Yelp.
  • You can always just come out and ask your customers if they wouldn’t mind leaving a positive review. If you provide an excellent product or service and you ask for a positive review, most customers will oblige. In fact the survey found that 7 out of 10 consumers who are asked will leave feedback.

Business man pointing to transparent board with text Client Testimonials.jpeg

  1. Maintain an Updated Website

Let’s say you’ve gone to all the trouble of making sure you have at least 3 stars and a steady stream of fresh reviews. You’re not out of the woods yet. What is the next thing a consumer will do once they’ve perused your reviews?

They’ll click over to your website of course. Or at least, they’ll want to.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a local pizza joint, accountant, mattress store, or baby sitter, you definitely need to have a professional looking website that has some helpful content. The design should be clean and easy to navigate. Your reviews may be great but if your website leaves something to be desired, your visitors will leave and you won’t get their business.


Your mission is to now go forth and solicit as many positive reviews and stars as you can. Stay committed and don’t be shy about asking for positive reviews. Your bottom line will thank you.

Topics: print advertising, reviews, ratings

5 Reasons Your Print Campaigns are Failing Miserably

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Nov 22, 2016 @ 02:44 PM

Let’s start off by discussing a harsh reality: most print campaigns fail miserably; not because print is dead – it is very much alive – but because marketers often make the same old mistakes that lead to wasted spend and little to no ROI.

If your print campaigns are not bringing in customers, chances are you’re making one or more of the following mistakes.

Here are 5 reasons your print campaigns are failing miserably:

Reason 1: You're Not Targeting Your AudienceReason 1: You’re Not Targeting Your Audience

No matter how big, colorful, or clever your ads are, if you’re not targeting the right people, you won’t get a response. Why spend more to get your ad placed in the local news section, when your audience tosses that section aside and goes straight for the sports section? The more refined your strategy is, and by that I mean it focuses dollars on people who are actually qualified to purchase from you, the less you’ll have to spend and the more return you’ll see.

When targeting prospects, think beyond gender, age and geography and drill down into their interests, hobbies, education level and income.

Reason 2: You Crafted the Wrong Message for Your Audience

What’s the point of targeting the right people if you are going to deliver the wrong message? Once you know exactly who is your most likely prospect and why your offer solves their problem, be sure to craft a message that clearly articulates your value. When brainstorming the creative, always keep your customer persona in mind and craft a message that speaks to their needs and wants.

Reason 3: Your Ads Persuade No One

One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is to focus on creating ads that inform the reader. Why is this bad? Because informing is not the same thing as persuading. How do you persuade the reader? By sharing benefits not features. The features of your product or service are information; information no one cares about but you. Who cares if your widget is made from alloy? Your prospect just wants to know that your widgets will never rust.

So, telling them about the allow is information that will not get them to take action. But telling them your widgets can be left outside in the harshest weather for 20 years and will NEVER rust will persuade them to hand over their cash.

Reason 4: You Didn’t Include a Call-to-Action

And speaking of being persuasive, nothing is more persuasive than telling the reader exactly what to do. Don’t spend time targeting the right people and crafting the perfect message that clearly outlines benefits if you’re not going to ask for the sale. Tell the reader exactly what you want them to do: visit your website, bring in a coupon, call your sales rep, or like you on Facebook.

Reason 5: You Never Defined Realistic MetricsReason 5: You NEver Defined Realistic Metrics

While the end goal for any business is to earn revenue, there are steps that must be taken to get to your final destination such as brand recognition, improved consumer interaction, or an increased social following. Unless you select success metrics carefully before you launch, you may think your campaign failed miserably when it didn’t.

For instance, your print campaign may have driven a ton of new traffic to your website. The fact that not as many visitors converted may have more to do with not targeting the right people or promoting a landing page that has yet to be optimized. Be sure to fully recognize your campaign’s goals (HINT: your call-to-action should ask readers to do what your ultimate goal is) and carefully define your success metrics so you will realistically know whether your campaign failed or worked in a way you weren’t intending.

There’s no reason you shouldn’t hit a homerun every time one of your campaigns steps up to bat. Take a realistic look at your past few campaigns to see if you’ve been making these common mistakes. If so, make some adjustments and see if your ROI doesn’t increase exponentially.

Free Local Media Analysis - Request Now!

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Should You Be Investing in Interactive Print Campaigns?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 @ 12:30 PM

If you’re “of a certain age,” you may remember that old Reeses Peanut Butter Cup commercial where the guy with a chocolate bar runs into the girl with the peanut butter, and when they collide, magic happens. Magic in the form of a chocolatey-peanut-buttery delicious candy treat.

Of course the commercial is ridiculous because, were they really that shocked that chocolate and peanut butter would work so well together? I mean, was it such an outrageous concept?

But the same odd shock happens today with marketers who assume it’s print OR digital; like the two can’t beautifully marry into one delicious integrated campaign. But integration, particularly in the form of interactive print ads, is a growing trend among marketers who see the potential these ads offer.

What is interactive print?

Before we move onto the nuts and bolts of this marketing approach and whether or not your brand should invest in it, let’s talk about what interactive print actually is.

Though print advertising is a very tactile form of advertising (you’re holding that paper, turning the page and smelling the ink), it’s never been very interactive, in fact, most would say reading the newspaper is downright passive. But not long ago, some very clever print designers, along with some savvy marketers, started creating print ads that contained interactive elements.  For the first time, this allowed viewers to be active instead of passive when they saw the ad.

Typically, it is digital technology, like QR codes included in the ad, that provides the interactive element. With a smartphone QR scanner, a flat and lifeless magazine add can suddenly place the reader online, with numerous opportunities to engage with the brand. But it’s not just digital technology that can be leveraged; other technologies can be employed to foster an interactive experience.

To really understand how effective interactive print ads can be, have a look at some of the top interactive print campaigns from 2015. These ads tell the real story behind interactive print: If you can imagine it, other people can experience it.

The Case for Interactive Print CampaignsThe case for interactive print campaigns

Some trends come and go. The ones that go do so because they are little more than a gimmick; a flash in the pan. But you can hardly call interactive print marketing either. The truth is, with the increase of digital technology came a decrease in people’s attention spans. On top of that, while our ability to focus on just about anything has diminished, our appetite for real, relevant engagement has grown exponentially.

These shifts in consumer demand and behavior make the case for why interactive print would most likely be a sound investment for any brand. Consumers have little time or patience for popup ads or autoplay videos while surfing the web. At the same time, many are bored to tears when they receive an uninspired marketing mailout, which inevitably lands in the trashcan.

Interactive print combines the best of both digital and print worlds: the tactile-ness of print with the interactivity of digital media. On top of this, interactive marketing is compelling all brands, both national giants and small, local merchants, to push their creativity, and that’s never a bad thing, particularly from the audience’s perspective.

Print marketing will always be a highly effective method of getting your message in front of the right audience. But to hold their attention and get them to engage more with your brand, you’ve got to dedicate resources to creating innovative and inspiring ads.

Should you be investing in interactive print campaigns? Does chocolate taste great with peanut butter?

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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The Truth About Print (That Your Competition Doesn't Want You to Know)

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 10, 2016 @ 01:26 PM

If you ask marketers how their ad campaigns are going, many (if not most) answers will include words and phrases like clicks, banner impressions, and viral looping. While digital marketing offers real value, it doesn’t always offer lasting impressions with your target audience. Print, on the other hand, makes a campaign memorable to readers and sets your message apart.

How much time do you spend each day staring at one or more digital screens, multitasking and not really paying attention to the content in front of you? Even when binge-watching our favorite cable shows, most of us have our mobile devices nearby, texting with friends and surfing the net for information about stocks or the weather.

That’s why we love when we can unplug from the digital world and connect to a traditional newspaper or magazine. And that’s why print is so effective at reaching audiences: because when interacting with print, people are relaxed and fully engaged. Add to this the fact that print offers frequent exposure, repeat impressions, pass-along readership, and message permanence, and you can see why your competition hopes you won’t find out the truth about print’s absolute effectiveness.

Here are some other truths they hope you won’t find out:

Print Grabs and Holds AttentionPrint grabs and holds attention

Print is like that new, shiny toy that comes along after we’ve been bombarded with the same-old same-old from our computers and mobile devices. And you know, shiny toys have the ability to completely grab and hold a person’s attention. When we hold a newspaper or magazine in our hands, we tend to pay full attention to the content inside.

Print Solves the Problem of Customer Retention

Customer retention is a big problem for many brands today. But did you know that print publications were traditionally started by brands to retain and resell to their customers? While digital channels may allow you to quickly extend your reach, how many of these newly-acquired customers keep coming back to your blog or social media pages to engage with you???

Print is the New New

It’s funny how something old can become new again. Though print has been around for 100+ years, consumers, normally caught up in all-things-digital, find it new and novel. Presenting your message in this “novel” way feeds consumer demand for interaction with something unique and special. Print advertising will help your brand stand out and do something not every brand is doing.

Print Causes People to Stop and Think

The web is full of information and, throughout the day, most of us surf it in order to find answers, read product reviews, or locate a local merchant who has a service we need. But print is a channel that actually makes people stop and think. When we engage on such an intellectual level, we become much more receptive to the information in front of us, including the ads.

BlankChalkboard3_copy.jpgPrint Publications are Viewed as Credible

Print has always been seen as a credible and trustworthy channel by consumers. In fact, one study found that newspapers were still a highly trusted news source. And, surprisingly, it is not only the 40+ crowd who flocks to newspapers. The study found that 44% of young adults trust print media, roughly the same percentage as adults of all ages. By leveraging this trust, marketers can connect with consumers when they are in a highly receptive mood.

While there’s no denying digital marketing is effective, there is also something undeniably powerful about print. Print makes an impact, fully engages readers, and helps brands look special in the eyes of consumers. But let’s keep this secret between us.

Download this fact sheet and learn 10 reasons why newspapers are still an effective advertising channel.

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4 Effective Ways to Marry Your Print and Digital Ads

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Mar 08, 2016 @ 02:15 PM

In the last five years, the death of print media has been talked about almost as much as what the Kardashians are wearing. While we can’t speak to the effectiveness of tight pants and low-cut blouses, we can say with 100% certainty that print marketing is alive and well. In fact, consumers feel traditional channels such as newspapers and magazines are more trustworthy and credible than their digital counterparts.

That being said, most consumers use a combination of print and digital channels when searching for news or information about a product or service, and this can be advantageous to marketers who take an integrated approach to their campaigns. By combining your print and digital strategies, you boost the effectiveness of both channels.

Here are four easy ways you can marry your print and digital ads and ultimately boost your bottom line:

Use Your CTAs to Drive Traffic to Digital Assets

Gone are the days when print ads had to be passive (read boring) and designed with the limited idea of raising awareness of an offer or brand. Today’s print ads can send traffic directly to your digital assets, thereby creating further engagement with the consumer.

Be sure to use your calls to action smartly and send traffic to your online landing pages where prospects can get even more information about your offer or sign up to your newsletter (HINT: this is a great way to continue nurturing the relationship until they buy from you and become a customer for life). Also consider using special promotional codes to incentivize that traffic, while at the same time giving you a way to track the numbers and collect data.

Leverage Social NetworksLeverage Social Media Networks

When it comes to reaching the masses quickly, you really just can’t beat social media. If you’ve grown a nice following on channels like Facebook and Twitter, your pages can act like a launching pad for your printed marketing campaigns. Not only are print campaigns a great way to send traffic to your digital pages, but the opposite is also true. If you’ve got any kind of social media following, leverage that for your next print campaign.

Find the Balance Between Unique and Cohesive

The key to an integrated marketing approach is to make sure your brand remains cohesive, no matter which channel it is found on. It’s important that your messaging is similar across all mediums while at the same time adapting to the particular audience of each. Look at how national brands accomplish this.

A brand like Best Buy will make sure their ads are instantly recognizable with logo and color scheme, as well as overall brand message; yet one of their ads in a local newspaper may use language that will attract the baby boomer crowd while their ad on Instagram will speak to a younger generation.


Coordinate All DepartmentsCoordinate All Departments

Perhaps the biggest challenge of integrating digital and print media campaigns is the in-house coordination that is necessary. It’s important that your digital team and print teams talk to each other and share relevant data so the overall picture can be seen and strategy adjusted when necessary.

(Of course, when you use a media buying agency, they can coordinate for you and make your life a whole lot easier.)


Now is not the time to abandon traditional channels like newspaper and magazines and invest all of your time and money into digital. Instead, integrate your efforts to reach even more prospects and show them your brand is credible and here to stay.

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7 Ways to Get Your Print Ads to Convert

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Feb 09, 2016 @ 01:23 PM

How often do you spend money on print campaigns only to have them give you less than stellar results? You’re not alone, many marketers are investing more and more ad spend and simply not getting the results they desire. This causes some to throw in the towel and put all of their budget and effort into digital channels, and that’s a shame, because print is still one of the most effective channels to engage consumers and drive action.

The following are 7 ways you can get your print ads to convert so your overall campaigns deliver bigger and better results.

Grab Attention with a Benefits-Driven Headline

You only have seconds to get your reader’s attention. If they skim your headline and it doesn’t make them want to read your entire offer, you’ve lost them for good. Therefore, your headline must offer the reader your key benefits. In other words, “What’s in it for them?” Why should they care what you’re offering, and why should they even want to read the rest of your ad? Will they save a lot of money? Have whiter teeth in just 5 days? Have more energy and sleep better at night? Lead with your main benefits and make sure the headline text stands out from the rest of your ad by using big, bold type.


Don't make readers read your adsDon’t Make the Readers Read Your Ad

Today’s readers aren’t really readers, they’re skimmers. Their eyes easily glide over printed pages until something jumps out at them. Your headline has captured their attention – that’s great. Don’t lose their attention now by forcing them to read a chunky paragraph of tiny text. They’ll give up before they even begin.

Instead, make your ad skimmer-friendly by using bullet points to list out the rest of your offer’s benefits. Also, make sure you are not writing past an 8th grade level. Keep it simple and easy to digest.


Include a Clear Call-to-Action

One of the biggest mistakes we see our clients make is to not include a call-to-action (CTA) within every print ad. Your call-to-action is what is going to drive response. It’s not enough to list your offer’s benefits and then hope the reader will take action – you’ve got to tell them exactly what they need to do. Do you want them to call a specific 1-800 number for more information or visit your website? Maybe you want them to clip out a coupon and bring it into your store for 20% off. The most effective CTAs are the ones that include a sense of urgency, so make sure that coupon has an expiration date!


Give People Options

A Direct Marketing Association study found that ads that offered prospects an option of how to respond (say calling a phone number OR visiting a web address), got a higher response rate than those ads that only offered a single option. People like choices so give them some.


Track, Test and OptimizeTrack, Test, and Optimize

Print advertising is direct response advertising. You’re not trying to build brand awareness with the ad in your local newspaper, you’re trying to make more sales – period. When it comes to direct response ads, the biggest mistake you can make is to not track, test and optimize. You’ve got to track your ads to see if they’re effective at all, test different things (headlines, benefits, images) to see if you can do better, and optimize (AKA make any necessary changes) them for the biggest ROI.


BONUS TIP - Build a List and Nurture It

Numerous studies have shown that consumers don’t generally convert the first time they see an ad but will eventually after they have been exposed to an offer repeatedly. While running the same ad in your Sunday paper will eventually get a lot of people to convert – why leave any sales on the table?

Consider sending traffic to a landing page and give them something of value for free in exchange for their email address. It could be a free report, free recipes, anything that supports your brand and offer. Nurture these prospects with valuable information and routine offers via an email newsletter and you will increase the ROI from your initial print ad.


Maybe after reading this post you’ve realized you’re doing most everything on this list except using a CTA or putting your benefits front and center in your headlines. Making even the smallest adjustment to your print campaigns can make a huge difference in their performance.

 Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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Here’s Why Print Advertising Will Gain Even More Traction in 2016

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 @ 01:11 PM

As technology continues to evolve and impact the way we do business, many advertisers have turned their attention toward digital strategies and away from print, assuming that print is dead. But print is very much alive and, in fact, only continues to grow and change because of technological advancements. According to a survey by Pitney Bowes, 76% of small businesses say their ideal advertising strategy combines both print and digital channels.

There are many reasons why print will gain even more traction in the coming year. Here are just a few of them:

Variable Printing

While variable printing has been around for some time, it is only recently that printing advancements have lowered Variable Printingthe cost, allowing more advertisers to take advantage of it. We all know just how powerful relevant and personal messaging can be to a campaign, and variable printing offers the ability to change elements from printed piece to printed piece.

Think of the possibilities: running a mailer campaign where each postcard contains the recipient’s name (personalized touches make your audience members feel special and pay more attention to your message), or printing coupons that have individual serial numbers that can be easily tracked.


QR Codes and NFC

Most consumers are never without their smartphone, and this is highly advantageous to print marketers because of the interactivity possibilities. Gone are the days of including a URL in your printed media and hoping that readers actually took the time to type it into their browsers. Thanks to QR codes and NFC (near-field communication) technology, print media can be directly and immediately connected to your digital assets.

QR codes can now be customized using different colors and patterns so they will seamlessly fit into your brand’s image, and NFC uses a tiny microchip that sends signals to mobile devices without the need to scan.

Perhaps the greatest thing about these new technologies is they allow advertisers to do much more than connect printed campaigns to websites: they can play videos instantly, distribute files, and even activate augmented reality features. Talk about engaging!


mobilesocial-resized-600.jpgPrint + Social Media = TLA

There’s no question that social networking is an effective way for businesses to engage with customers. But what many advertisers have failed to recognize is that social media can be fully integrated with any print campaign. Look at business cards – these printed materials have been around forever but you’d be hard-pressed to find one without the person’s social media address printed on it.

The takeaway advertisers must remember this year and always is: print media can help draw attention to their social media pages, while social media pages can strengthen their print campaigns.


Less Competition Makes You Stand Out More

Who wants to spend time and energy competing with the entire world online for consumers’ attention? It is simply becoming harder and harder to stand out in such a crowded marketplace. Since most businesses have fully migrated their advertising efforts to digital channels, a void has been left and smart advertisers are ready and willing to jump in and get noticed.

Print is also much more tangible than digital, which means not only will you get noticed, but consumers will engage with your messaging more. Consider the difference between quickly checking an email versus getting a postcard in the mail; ignoring a banner add VS paying attention to an ad in your trusted, local newspaper.


When you consider these 4 advantages, there’s really no doubt that print will gain more traction in 2016 and prove itself, once again, to be a highly effective marketing channel.
Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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Six Reasons Print Ads Belong in Your Media Mix

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 @ 11:43 AM

Okay, sure, advertisers have been flocking to digital marketing solutions like email, social media and mobile apps for years now, but that doesn’t mean these channels bring the biggest return on investment (ROI). For many consumers, these marketing tactics come across as digital noise: their email inboxes are full of SPAM, their Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of blatant yet disguised brand messaging, and banner ads pop up in whatever corner of the Internet they surf.

Though traditional outlets like newspaper and magazine ads have not gotten the same love they used to, that doesn’t mean they are no longer effective. In fact, there is a tremendous opportunity for marketers who include print in their media mix because the print landscape is not cluttered like the digital landscape. Ads placed in newspapers and magazines tend to stand out to consumers.

Those marketers who don’t put all of their proverbial eggs in one basket and include print media in their marketing mix will be rewarded. A study by ATG found that nearly 80% of consumers use more than one channel when making a buying decision, and 25% used three or more channels for product research.

If you haven’t included print in your media mix, here are six reasons why you should:

It Cuts Through the ClutterPrint Advertising cuts through the media clutter

Think about how many emails you receive on a daily basis. How many of them do you actually open and read? Now think about how many pieces of snail mail you receive on a typical day. Only a handful of pieces, right? This is why many marketers are suddenly seeing the value of direct mail marketing. Your message has a chance to cut through the clutter and noise and make a real impact.

Print Makes an Emotional Connection

Print is a far more personal medium. Because it’s tactile and you can hold it in your hands and smell the ink on the pages, print is lauded for its ability to make an emotional connection with the reader. Digital advertising is impersonal. Though you can hold your mobile device, you can’t turn or dog-ear a page or clip a coupon the old-fashioned way like you can with a newspaper or magazine.

You Can Use Narrative to Build Brand Awareness

Print is the medium for storytelling, which means you can use it to weave a narrative throughout your advertising, allowing prospects to imagine themselves in a particular situation. This creates purchasing intent and that, simply, means more sales for you. Narrative is much more difficult to accomplish in a banner ad or HTML email.

Easily Integrated with Online tacticsPrint and digital advertising work well together

Many marketers assume you have to choose between print OR digital tactics, but this is not the case. Print media is a great vehicle to drive traffic to any of your digital assets, whether it’s a commerce site or one of your social media pages. You can even use a print ad to alert consumers to a deal you’re offering on a mobile app like Foursquare.

It Breathes New Life into Old Customer Relationships

Not only can print be used for the acquisition of new customers, it can also re-engage lapsed customers. Zappos has been really successful with this tactic. The company uses a magalog to re-energize it its relationship with customers who have been receiving emails for years but haven’t made a purchase.

It Gives Consumers the Power

Print ads in newspapers and magazines aren’t disruptive like SMS blasts and banner ads. With print, consumers choose when they read your ad. This puts them in a much more receptive mood. Today’s consumers are tired of being constantly bombarded with messaging. Put the power in their hands and let them choose when they hear from you and they’ll reward you.

With new advertising channels continually emerging, it’s time to think about whether or not you want – and can afford – to sink more advertising dollars into digital tactics that have not proven themselves yet. Traditional media like print has proven its effectiveness for decades. If you’re not using this channel, isn’t it time you considered adding it to your media mix?

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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Topics: print advertising

What Political Campaign Blunders Can Teach Us about Print Advertising

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 04, 2015 @ 08:54 AM

Well, another presidential election year is upon us and that means presidential candidate hopefuls are pulling out all the stops to raise billions of dollars for smear campaigns while shaking hands and kissing babies across this great land of ours. Though watching this political circus can be, at times, disheartening, it can also be quite enjoyable, like when politicians make some fairly incredible blunders that seem almost too good (or bad) to be possible. And, once a big blunder is made, it’s generally hard to recover from it, as history has shown us.

The good news for us is, some of the biggest political campaign blunders in history can teach us an awful lot about running a successful print ad campaign.

Dan Quayle and the Extra “E”What Political Campaign Blunders Can Teach Us about Print Advertising

This has got to be one of the biggest campaign blunders in all of political history. In1992, when running for re-election, Bush again tapped Dan Quayle to be vice president, even though there were rumors Bush was advised to replace him. Perhaps Bush should have listened because while visiting an elementary school in New Jersey for a photo op, Quayle watched as a young boy was asked to write the word “potato” up on the blackboard. After the student finished, Quayle hinted that he had forgotten one letter and urged the kid to add an “E” at the end of the word. Confused, the boy complied and added the “E” and Quayle said, “There you go!” The Bush team lost re-election.

Print Ad Campaign Lesson: Don’t Add What Doesn’t Belong

Never add too much to your print ad or it will become busy and overwhelm the reader who will quickly skip over it to the next. Keep your ad simple and clean and make sure to include enough white space. Also, stick to one font so your ad looks professional.

John Kerry’s Flip Flop

During a town hall meeting, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry came under attack for changing his mind on important issues. He decided to explain why he changed his mind on an important funding bill by announcing, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it.” Ummmmmmm. In the end, that single sentence is what kept many swing voters from voting for Kerry and why he became known as a big flip-flopper. Though he came darn close, Kerry was unable to unseat President George W. Bush.

Print Ad Campaign Lesson: Be Sure You’re Clear on Your Campaign’s Objective

You don’t want to find yourself three weeks into a campaign with thousands of dollars spent only to discover you’ve changed your mind about what the ad should say and do. Before even getting to the creative stages of developing an effective ad, decide the ad’s objective – promoting a sale, offering a coupon, announcing a new location, etc. Only when you know the ad’s objective should you begin thinking about creative.

What Political Campaign Blunders Can Teach Us about Print AdvertisingSarah Palin vs. Katie Couric

In 2008, presidential candidate John McCain announced he had selected Alaskan governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Palin was only the second woman ever to run for vice president (Geraldine Ferraro was first to run in 1984) and instantly charmed the media. McCain soon took a lead in the polls and all seemed like he might actually stand a chance at beating President Obama.

And then Palin agreed to a one-on-one interview with Katie Couric. It soon became very clear that Palin had not prepared enough, or at all, for this interview as her answers all came across as rote. She also couldn’t name one single newspaper or magazine that she read and instead said, “All of ‘em. Any of ‘em.”

Print Ad Campaign Lesson: Do Your Homework

Unless you do your homework and know exactly who your target audience is, what their pain points are, and how your offer can solve their problem, your campaigns will never be successful.

Howard Dean and the Scream

In 2004, governor of Vermont, Howard Dean, became an unexpected candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. He quickly rose in the polls with his promise of reclaiming the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” and to end the war in Iraq immediately. In no time Dean became the one to beat and there was talk that he might beat Bush.

And then “it” happened. During the Iowa caucuses, as Dean was addressing a large crowd at his headquarters, he was forced to shout over all of the noise. He very loudly and enthusiastically declared, “Not only are we going to New Hampshire…we’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we’re going to California and Texas and New York…. And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we’re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House!” Then he let out a sort of crazy scream. While he was most likely just excited and trying to be heard above the din, and he was the only one mic’d, he still came across as certifiably nuts. His campaign never recovered.

Print Ad Campaign Lesson: Remain Calm

Advertising is a marathon not a sprint and you’ll have to stay levelheaded and calm before you start to see results and a return on your investment. This is important to know going into your campaign. We have seen many advertisers panic and change courses before their ad even had a chance. You also need to remain calm when testing new channels that may not present themselves as valuable immediately.

Al Gore’s Claim He Invented the InternetWhat Political Campaign Blunders Can Teach Us about Print Advertising

Vice President Al Gore was in a head-to-head race against former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley when he sat down with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. When asked to list his qualifications for president, Gore boasted, “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” Well, now, let’s take a look at that statement…. Yes, Gore was indeed an early proponent of the Internet but the creator? No. This bold and inaccurate statement damaged his campaign and labeled Gore as a serial exaggerator.

Print Ad Campaign Lesson: Don’t Make Claims You Can’t Back Up

Never use your advertising to trick readers into thinking you’re offering something you’re not. Be transparent and honest, always, and never exaggerate. For instance, if you won an award a few years ago for exceptional customer service, you can say that, but don’t claim you’ve won this award for the past five years in a row.

Print advertising is not very different from political advertising when you think about it. You can either manage your ad campaign toward victory, or make a big blunder that you may not recover from.

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Image credit: "Al Gore at SapphireNow 2010" by Tom Raftery is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0"Sarah Palin" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Topics: print advertising