The future of marketing... is print advertising dead?
Written by Michelle Williams
Last updated: 01/08/2017
For many years marketers have claimed with the introduction of every new technology and digital trend, that traditional marketing techniques, such as print advertising are nearing a sale-by date. Even today we hear lavish claims stating ‘print is dead’, but what facts are there to support this statement?
Michelle Williams, website and digital marketing manager at Yachting Pages Media Group, investigates these claims; is the age of digital and mobile first really set to kill print?
Global advertising spend
According to a report by MAGNA, IPG Mediabrands' research arm, global advertising spend grew by 5.7% in 2016 to $493 billion, proving that companies are still heavily investing in advertising to grow their business.
The biggest contributors to growth were the US, China, Australia and the UK. Digital advertising, which is categorised as display, video, search and social, grew by a massive 17%, entirely driven by mobile advertising. Traditional media (including TV and radio, print and out-of-home) remained consistent. Print alone contributed $69 billion to the annual advertising spend in 2016, which was a decline of 9%, with similar predictions for the year ahead.
But are these reductions in print advertising spend surprising? Once upon a time the only option for advertising was print, so understandably it completely monopolised the market. Radio and TV then took a share, and now, in 2017 you have an array of choices to promote your brand. Search ads, remarketing, display, video advertising, social media, direct marketing, events, content, print advertising, TV and radio, SEO, billboards, mobile push notifications, email campaigns, press releases and many more all take a piece of the marketing pie.
What’s important to note is that the amounts brands spend to market their businesses are increasing year on year, it’s just that the choices of how and where to spend this money, are also increasing.
A winning marketing combination
A savvy marketer will know that only a mixture of marketing techniques and disciplines will result in brand success in order to meet the needs of your target market and generate qualified leads.
The power of combining print and digital should not be underestimated. So whereas marketing managers 15 years ago had three channels to focus on to spend their budget, they’re now distributing it amongst several. Whilst budgets are increasing in line with business growth, the amount spent on each channel doesn’t necessarily reflect this.
That said the type of industry you’re in will also play a part in your marketing decisions, as well as your target demographic, locations, seasonality, etc… In the superyacht industry targeting senior crew out at sea, working long hours in a fast-paced environment is very different from targeting millennials at home used to immediate gratification and instant communication for example. Therefore the marketing techniques you employ will be completely different.
Marisol Barrios from Forbes Communications Council was recently quoted saying, “Print advertising is still necessary if done strategically. Based on your customer demographics, some need the ‘touch and feel’ of engagement.”
Kim Evenson also on the Council added, “For the same reason video hasn't fully replaced the emotional power of the immersive TV experience, print brings a less noisy setting that can't be fully duplicated online.”
Print advertising: Record revenue
It’s a well-known fact that print advertising across tabloid and broadsheet newspapers has decreased in recent years. These same publications have typically made up their deficit on digital editions. However, there are always businesses that buck the trend; for example the UK-based Sunday Times Style magazine announced record revenue in 2016 and Vogue published its biggest edition in its 100-year history with 275 pages of advertising in March 2016.
Here at Yachting Pages Media Group, print advertising still accounts for the majority of revenue. In fact our latest directory edition of the Mediterranean, Europe, Africa and Middle East was 16 pages larger than the previous!
We offer print and online advertising, marketing services, hand deliveries to superyachts and mobile app advertising. However, despite huge growth in our digital products, we still publish four printed titles that generate the highest proportion of revenue for the business. Whilst I predict that this ratio will change in the future, it’s not set to happen just yet.
We’re a media group, we’re geared up to adapt to market changes and we recognise that a marketing mix is where success lies. Steve Crowe, MD of Yachting Pages also firmly believes that captains and crew are still using Yachting Pages print because it’s one of the fastest ways of finding services in the superyacht industry, and to be fair, feedback and testimonials from crew back this theory up.
Conclusion – The future of print advertising
So to conclude, although it’s clear that across many sectors print advertising is declining, it’s not the case for all businesses and industries. Some companies still rely heavily on print advertising to generate leads and exposure.
Trends and waves change rapidly, if print is old hat now, I guarantee you it’ll come back in fashion, maybe in combination with augmented reality. How many of us get excited about receiving a personalised letter? Do you get the same feeling when an email notification pops up? When used intelligently, print marketing can really work. Food for thought!
Whilst I agree print in general will continue to decline over time with advances in technology and increases in marketing channels, it’s still a viable option for many businesses and I wouldn’t write it off. So to anyone who boldly claims “print is dead’, I’d question their marketing expertise and motives.
For other marketing insights and tips, visit our Marine Marketing Guides, or to enquire about marketing options with Yachting Pages, get in touch.