Before the rise of the internet, print advertising was king. The first versions of adverts ran in the late 1400s in England usually through fliers or handbills. As technology progressed through the 1700s, adverts began running in newspapers. During this time, Benjamin Franklin began publishing his ‘General Magazine’ which encouraged businesses to advertise products and services in his publication.
Advertisements eventually evolved, bringing with them art, eye-catching copy, humor, sexuality, characters, and other emotion-provoking characteristics. These print ads were run on newspapers, fliers, billboards, posters on public transport, in the phone book, and more. In 1941, the first television advertisement was aired. Although television drew a large audience, print advertising remained popular.
However, when the internet became available to the public in the 90s, discussion about the eventual “death of print advertising” began to come forward. This discussion has only become more prevalent as smartphones have become all but a requirement to exist in today’s society.
As a business owner, it is important to understand if print advertising is worth investing your valuable marketing budget into. It may seem like the most cost-effective way to handle this would be to focus on online and digital advertising, as that is how most people are consuming media. However, it is not that simple. There are ways in which print advertising can still be a great tool for marketing your business.
Print advertising makes sense where there are physical, in-person customers. For example, in places with heavy traffic where consumers are likely to be influenced and in a position to make a purchase or sign up for something, such as the mall, along roadsides, and in public transportation.
Print advertising is also a great tool for luxury advertising. Luxury fragrances, designers, and automobile manufacturers continue to create high-end print ads for fashion magazines and other esteemed publications. With the mass consumption of digital media and the rise of targeted ads based on your browsing habits, print advertising can feel more authentic to your audience. It allows users to stumble across your brand rather than being targeted by an ad that seems like it may have read their minds.
Local markets are also a great place to utilize print advertising. Spaces that are for sale or rent locally could benefit from local print fliers or Yellow Pages ads. Local theater plays, concerts, new store openings, handyman or yard services, art markets, church functions, etc. are all things that could benefit from a local print ad campaign. Community members are likely to choose local goods and services or grab a flier or business when they are out and about. People are likely to support their fellow community members and print advertisements can feel more personalized and tangible in these environments.