Is Print Advertising Still Relevant Now that We Have Social Media Marketing?

Q:  Is print still relevant now that we have social media marketing? 

A:  Yes. Yes. Yes!  Today we’re answering the ever present question “Is print still relevant now that we have social media marketing?” because this question is sent to our sales team nearly weekly these days.  And for good reason.  Non-marketers like business owners, sales teams, and regular folk just trying to do their job are legitimately confused, unsure of where to spend their marketing dollars and mostly where to invest their marketing TIME to garner the biggest return.  We get it.

I ask you this….  In the beginning we all advertised in the newspaper.  So, historically speaking, in 1901 did radio advertising kill newspaper advertising?  In 1927 did TV advertising kill radio advertising?  In 1990 did internet advertising kill TV and radio advertising?   The answer is simply no because one media does not replace another – they work together.

Advertising Plan Advice

Let’s just pause and thing about this… Take online internet companies like,, – these are the companies we see advertising OFFLINE with TV ads and magazine ads to get people to GO ONLINE and sign up for their services.  Amazing right?  I digress.

But, before we can say anything about social media, let’s talk about internet as a whole.

Just because the internet exists, doesn’t mean that everything else is extinct.  It just works different now.  In the past offline ads drove people to directly call your company. Now offline advertising drives internet search so that a consumer (who is more educated than before) can research you and due their own due diligence before they ever decide to call you.  They don’t want to be influenced or sold by you, they want to decide for themselves.  That research generates a transaction – a click, a like, an email, phone call or in person visit to either your business, website or social medias.

Truly, your social media channels could be considered to be your receptionist or publicist, just like your website is.  Your website and your social media are your greeters.

Now, you can actually put those greeters to work for you to generate sales too.  Social media advertising is a passive type of advertising.  It works very similar to magazine advertising in that instead of waiting for the consumer to search for you (like you have to do for search), you can put your company’s message in front of your ideal consumer by plopping an ad right in their view.  In print it’s an ad place in a magazine that a reader sees on the page, on social media it’s an ad that shows in up in their regular feed.  Print ads bring your business to your potential customer when they are offline.  Social media advertising (and online banners ads too) bring your business to your potential customer when they are online.

They work together to reach the customer wherever they are so don’t make assumptions about how your customer spends their time consuming content by choosing only one.  

Experts will argue that you can get a much more targeted ad in social media because you can narrow down the demographic by location, age, and interests but I will argue that you can also narrow down your target demographic in print by choosing the right publication that reaches the specific demographic you are trying to influence. Your choice is very important.  If you are an Atlanta wedding DJ and you place an ad in an Atlanta newspaper, it’s not going to deliver the same results as if you placed in ad in an Atlanta wedding magazine whose only reader is a bride actively planning their wedding in Atlanta.

But if you think you still get better targeting with social media advertising, I’ll also say this:  People are smart and they are wising up to what’s an ad in their social media feed and what’s not.  They are trained to scan by your ad faster than you thought possible. Case in point – do you ever find yourself actually clicking on an online banner ad? Rarely, (if ever!) right?  Even though web banner ads have an excellent tracking ability, the percent of people who actually click on them is less than .17%.  That doesn’t mean they don’t work – it means that they actually work more like offline ads do.  They subconsciously make an impression on the reader to be recalled at a later time or inspire search for further evaluation.

In the case of niche magazines, people are actually BUYING these products.  They are not being fed the ads involuntarily in the magazine, but rather they are choosing to spend their money on that specific topic – be it fishing, weddings, sewing, parenting – they want information on this topic whether its in editorial or ad form. Whereas on social media, they have zero control on what gets fed in their new stream.

The moral of the story = BALANCE.

Marketing is more complex than it ever has been. No longer do we work in a society where there are three ways you can promote your company.   In addition to traditional advertising like TV, radio, billboards, newspapers and magazines we now have niche magazines, niche blogs, our very own social media platforms, social media influencers, organic search, paid search, remarketing, Facebook advertising, email blasts, trade shows, and direct mail.

Determine a budget and distribute those funds evenly across the board to very specific medias that are reaching your target demographic.  Period.  An unbalanced advertising plan will garner you the same results as an unbalanced diet.  Poor health.

Let’s Recap the talking points…

  • One media does not replace another – they work together so you should use multiple media platforms to make your advertising plan work
  • Offline advertising (tv, magazines, radio billboards, etc) drive internet search which then leads to a transaction
  • Niche magazine deliver an opt-in reader
  • Balanced advertising outreach is the only guaranteed outreach for success

Marketing Fail: What to NOT do at a Bridal Show

I’ve been holding onto this image for a while to share. Honestly, it’s a pretty hilarious #marketingfail in my opinion.  This is the booth directly across from one of our Occasions booths at a Georgia Bridal Show a few years ago.  Do you see this guy?  He sat like this for the majority of the show.  He looks pretty approachable and eager to earn your business, right?  Wrong.

bridal show employee

The solution is simple.  If you want to attract new clients and book business at bridal shows you have to get up and get engaged.  Period.  Push the table to the side, hold onto your marketing materials to hand to passer-byers, invite brides in and stand up!


Can a Business Rely on Word of Mouth Alone?

It depends.

While monitoring my web traffic to I noticed quite a bit of traffic coming from the search phrase “Can a business rely on word of mouth alone?”  While I’ve addressed similar topics before, I’ve never really answered this particular question so let’s take a look.

You asked…

“Can a business rely on word of mouth alone?”

It depends….on what you expect to get out of your business.

So I will ask you….

How much money do you want to make? 
This number will determine the volume of business your company needs to be doing to equal the amount of money you want to make.  But don’t forget about all of your expenses too.  When you calculate your cost of doing business with your salary desires… ask yourself. Do I personally know enough people to hire me and then trust their circle of friends to hire me to in order to reach that number?

How quick do you need to make that money?
Relying on word of mouth puts the growth of your business in someone else’s court. You have to wait for them to talk about your company and refer you to a friend.  You’re not marketing on your time.  Are you okay with waiting around for buzz to build?

What’s your wow factor?  
Let’s be honest. Not every app is Instagram, and not every undergarment is Spanx.  Stories of overnight world wide expansion due to social media sharing or celebrity shout outs simply do not happen to every business.   And that is OK!   There will always be companies that benefit tremendously from word of mouth buzz, but the thing to remember is that will not happen to every business… but it does not discredit the need and unique role of every other business.  There’s no shame in running a regular ole photography business or day spa in your local community that makes great money for you and your staff.  Those companies that do experience that overnight organic popularity do so because of their wow factor.  They were first, or they created a solution to a problem no one else had before and not every business does that.  If you’re waiting on Oprah to call to put your on her “O-list” to finally make it big… ask yourself.. why would she call me over my competitor? If you have a wow factor like no other.. then keep at it. If not, then stop waiting around for the recognition and start marketing.

How much competition do you have?
Tide, Coca-Cola, Walmart, Macy’s…. these are all brands that everyone knows and they continue to use traditional advertising to promote their companies.  Why? To remain at the forefront of the consumers mind.  There is SO MUCH competition for these companies and they want to be certain that when you are walking the malls and grocery store aisles… you remember their brand over all the other competitors on the same shelf.

Are you the only photographer or day spa in town?  It’s not likely.  So to keep your business top of mind… advertise.

What You Can Learn from These Thought Provoking Print Ads That Are Quick to Catch the Reader’s Attention

I came across this great blog post that compiled  27 Creative Print Ads You’ll Love, but I have to say… I’m sick of writers opening their articles about print media with the idea that print might be a lost art just because people use digital devices these days.  Sure, I have a cell phone, ipad, a laptop and desktop computer, but at this very moment I also have no less than 10 magazines in my house between my office, bedroom nightstand, living room coffee table and bathroom.  And, I’ll wager to bet so do most other people.

People.  It’s not about print not working anymore, it’s about making print work for you.  It takes creativity, great imagery and a clear message to make the impact you need offline that makes the reader remember you online.  

Following are four of my favorite ads from the article and lessons I think every small business owner can learn from them when creating your own advertising pieces.

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Lesson #1:  Put some heart into your ads.   Pedigree is not only support pet adoption here, but they’re reminding you.. “You know what, Dogs ARE great when they compare moments with a dog to moments without.”   The ASPCA does a great job doing this with their Sarah McLaughlin commercials too.


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Lesson #2:  Make the reader think.  This is a remarkable ad that triggers a wake up call for digital readers.  How many times do you like or share something on Facebook, but never do anything more for a cause?  This ad is thought provoking and reminds us that it takes more than like on facebook to make a difference.

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Lesson #3:  Shock is not such a bad thing.  This ad made me say.  “Um, wow, you’re right. That’s ridiculous.”  Clearly there is something wrong with this picture and it’s calling readers like you to get involved with this group.

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Lesson #4:  Humor Helps.  This ad just made me giggle.  How great would it be to eat a Kiwi or even strawberry without having the seeds get stuck in your teeth!

All of these things make these ads memorable and strengthen the relationship between the reader and brand.  Remember, the goal is for your audience to REMEMBER your brand when it comes time for purchasing or to take action. 

That’s the power of print.

Do me a favor, count for me how many magazines are in your house right now and comment with the number below.  Thanks!

Proof That Brides Aren’t just Planning Their Weddings Online

Ring the alarms, print media lives!  Once again, I was proven right this morning by a glorious facebook posting from one of the companies we recently featured in our Fall 2013 issue of Occasions: Weddings in Florida.  Natalie of Fink Ink Designs said “Today a bride told me she saw my name with a feature of watercolor stationers in a bridal magazine and went to my website and fell in love with my work”

TODAY’S LESSON:  “she saw my name …in a bridal magazine and went to my website” = PRINT TRIGGERS INTERNET SEARCH

See it, in all its glory below….

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See, more proof that your brides aren’t just planning their wedding online.  Thanks for sharing this Natalie!