To Print or Get Online?

Advertise Online – it’s the future.

Without a doubt, there is an unbelievable opportunity to advertise online. Companies all over the world can reach people in their homes or on their phone, 24 hours a day – everyday. It’s incredible.

However, with the incredible opportunity comes incredible competition. Businesses have the ability to reach nearly every individual, but every business in the world shares this opportunity. The sheer volume of competition dilutes the opportunity.

Here is an example:

Business “A” sells Rain Boots online (both Men’s and Women’s)

  • Global population is over 7 Billion people (and growing) – but thankfully, through the use of powerful analytics, businesses can narrow down their target to specific users, which helps focus spending:
    • Narrow target to U.S.
    • Narrow further to 14 states
    • Narrow further to 20,000 specific users within those states – final “target market” (based on needs/spending habits
  • Amazingly, analytics narrowed the potential market from 7 billion+ to 20,000. This is great for Business “A”,      because it can now focus its online efforts directly at these 20,000 “likely” customers.
  •  When Business “A” begins creating its campaign, it realizes that the cost to advertise is very high. Business “A” also notices heavy competition from its direct competitors – Businesses B – Z. There are now 26 companies selling rain boots to the same specific groups. They must bid against each other to reach the consumers, and with every bid, their margins become tighter. It becomes a race to the bottom – how much will you spend to advertise, and how low will you go in price? (With major online marketplaces        training shoppers to find the best price, it is rare to get a premium price for a product that is sold online – this is great for shoppers, but hurts sellers)
  • In addition to direct competition, the 20,000 users in the target market are potential consumers for hundreds of other products besides rain boots. Each of those products has its own group of competitors, so now the competition is exponential. The opportunity for one is washed-out by the opportunity for all.

Internet advertising has drastically changed the way corporations do business and brings a lot of opportunity. The opportunity results in a lot of competition, and often a hefty price tag. It is important to take advantage of digital options, but as with any business – it is important to diversify sales/marketing tactics.

Printing- an important (and often overlooked) medium in the sales/marketing strategies for business.

Print-ads have been in existence for a very long time. In the advertising world, new, trending mediums steal the show, and print often carries the image of an out-of-date option. Despite new developments in the technology behind print and analytics related to print, the printing industry can’t seem to shake the image.

One immediate advantage to print is that unlike its digital counterparts, you cannot turn-off, fast-forward or skip a printed advertisement. Mail is a perfect example: You touch your mail, and you must – at a minimum – look to see what it is. If mail advertising is ineffective, businesses should change the message, not the medium.

In addition to the physical advantage of printed materials, there is also significantly less competition in the printed market than the digital arena. In the aforementioned example regarding Business A, the competition for a specific target market was exponential. You could have hundreds, if not thousands of businesses competing online – for one phone screen, email, web page, or social media spot. The average person does not receive nearly the same amount of impressions from catalogs, brochures, mailings or signage.

The cost of print also adds a degree of legitimacy to the material. It costs more to send a piece of mail or to create a custom brochure than it does to send an email blast or post on social media. Since printed material is more expensive, and the costs are tangible – it often translates into importance. With the same logic, a quality printed item will seem more legitimate than a bargain, low-quality alternative.

Digital mediums are often an important piece of the marketing equation, but alone may not be enough to successfully market a business or product. Printed materials can be equally important and arguably more effective. There are likely less competitors, too – bringing your cost down, and your reach up. So, with everyone pushing and shoving to get online, enjoy the space and attention you receive in the print world.