Is print advertising worth it?


Potburys advertising reviewIf you have a small business and a limited marketing budget, it can be tricky to determine where best to spend on marketing. Print advertising is one of the oldest forms of marketing and is often one of the first things business owners do to promote their business. But is print advertising worth it?

Yes, and no!

To add some context, let’s look at two scenarios that I was asked to advise on recently.

Example 1

A retailer of ergonomic office chairs was offered an opportunity to run a weekly advert on the front of their local newspaper. The cost was around £200 per week for a short series. The shop owner thought this was an excellent opportunity and was keen to take it up. He felt it was a relatively low cost for his brand to be featured in print and gain exposure to his local market.

I advised against it. People rarely respond to a one-off advert, and he’d need to run the ad for several weeks at least to generate any significant brand awareness. For the money, I suggested he’d be better off targeting his specific target market via Facebook advertising.

Example 2

A tile retailer was considering whether to renew their annual series of monthly adverts in a local lifestyle publication. The cost was around £400 per month. The owners were thinking of cancelling and putting the money towards social media and their website.

I advised them to renew. They already spend on social media and their website. Including other activities into the marketing mix increases their exposure to their target audience. Consumers often need to see a brand several times and in different places before they’ll take action.

So, as you can see, whether print advertising is worth it depends on the individual scenario. But overall, as a sole marketing activity, I’d suggest it’s not worth it, but as part of an integrated mix, it could be a helpful addition.

If you’re considering print advertising, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What is your objective – will advertising help you achieve it?
  • What is the print volume and distribution – will it give you the reach that you desire?
  • Who is the readership – will advertising here get you in front of your target audience?
  • What else could you do – what other marketing activities might generate a better return on investment?

Print advertising is no different to any other form of marketing. It might work, but it is dependent on your situation and your budget.