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Contemporary advertising in print and online

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Falling print advertising revenues over the last few years have often borne some of the blame for print media’s woes. Not only has online media begun to dominate the scene in a huge way, but online advertising is also much cheaper. Although this has meant a shift in the way marketers develop campaigns, some believe there is still much to be gained through print advertising.

There is truly a season for all things, and in Mary Ann Henker’s opinion, some business companies make an ideal fit for print advertising. President of The Henker Group, a marketing and PR firm based in Easton, Md., Henker noted that many visual industries and professions look best in print. “It’s the best way to project what you’re selling,” she said. “In a high-gloss magazine you will be able to express the quality of your product or service better simply because of the quality of the paper or publication.” Because of this, Henker is a proponent for both mediums.

Online advertising is great for a more progressive company that’s service-based and interactive, she noted. But she doesn’t subscribe to the notion that online is any better than print. “Yes, online advertising can be a great option. But there are times when print advertising can be very appetizing,” she said. “No one marketing tool is the way to go.”

The options available to marketing execs and advertisers have opened many creative doors. These evolving technologies have made Jonathan Ozer’s life that much more interesting and hectic, he noted. The creative director at Chicago-based marketing firm Energy BBDO, he remembers when digital media didn’t exist. “Now everything I get, regardless of the product or budget, we always consider some sort of online marketing,” he said. “Every week there is some new technological breakthrough that helps you tell a really good story about the product.” However, every audience isn’t necessarily spending their time on the Web. And an ad in a copy of People magazine is going to be seen by a lot of eyes, he noted. Meanwhile, advertising doesn’t have to be one or the other. It can be a combination of many mediums, such as what we see with some augmented reality magazine campaigns.

Despite all this, Mica Cardillo, director of marketing for Trilobyte Games, is of the popular belief that print advertising is on a rapid decline. As big advertisers abandon print media for digital, he noted that print publications are left with extra space that can sometimes be purchased on the cheap by companies looking to expand their print campaigns. “In some cases, that may be a good strategy. However, these companies should recognize those opportunities are going to shrink in the long term. Print media, in many cases, is not part of a long-term business strategy,” he said in an e-mail interview.

But like Henker, he does believe that no one marketing strategy is the way to go. “There is no magical advertising formula that will work for every business. Always put a portion of your budget toward testing. Keep experimenting. Keep iterating. That cycle should never end when it comes to optimizing your advertising investments,” he said.

Meanwhile, Henker and Ozer both agreed that print advertising still has some time left regardless of a technologically dominant culture. Using paper calendars as an example, Henker noted that many people still use them over digital calendars. The same holds true for print. “They’re still writing in their appointments, they’re so hard in their traditions, they’re so ingrained,” she said. “Print advertising as a byproduct of print publishing isn’t going away anytime soon.”

— Katrina M. Mendolera

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