Marketers still buy print, but their strategy is changing
March 13, 2012 — The value of print advertising has steadily decreased with the rise of digital media in the last five years. According to a report from eMarketer.com, online advertising is expected to generate $39.5 billion in sales this year — a 23.3 percent increase from 2011 — compared to a sum of $33.8 billion on print.
Still, print an important outlet for many marketers. Randal Rozin, global director-brand management and marketing communications for Dow Corning Corp. tells BtoB magazine, “There is no doubt that digital media investments outpace our investments in print media. However, we continue to leverage print media as a strategic part of our marketing communications mix as [they] provide us with a solid avenue to control the time, place and delivery of our messaging. The locations of our deployment of print media continue to evolve as well. We're leveraging print more in specialized b2b trade verticals in emerging and developing economies — more so than in more mature markets. The allocation of digital is definitely growing for us, yet print still has its role to play in our overall mix.”
Business executives say that periodical print advertising is still useful. For example, George Stenitzer, vp of marketing and corporate communications for Tellabs Inc., also tells BtoB magazine, “Tellabs' print vehicle is our quarterly magazine, Insight. To the media that distribute it in print, it's a 16-page ad that polybags with their magazines. About one-third of our Insight distribution is in print, and two-thirds is electronic. From our viewpoint, Insight is one engine of our content marketing strategy, with 15 pages of editorial plus a back-cover ad that points to a white paper on our website. Several of our media partners have shifted from print to electronic editions, so they carry the magazine on their website, with their iPad apps and in their newsletters. Beyond that, Tellabs' print ads are tactical, in support of a specific event or campaign. Most ads are electronic rather than print.”
There are some businesses that are continuing to thrive from print ad revenue such as agri-marketing. According to ABM’s Agri Council Intelligence Report, “New data from a proprietary study, the Meyocks' 2011 Agricultural Media Study, reveals that 84 percent of agriculture professionals read most or every issue of at least one primary farm publication. Meanwhile, print ad sales revenue for the agriculture segment continues to grow. According to ABM's latest Business Information Network (BIN) data, ad sales in the agriculture segment rose 20 percent year-over-year for October 2011 vs October 2010; ad sales rose 4 percent in November year-over-year. Year to date, print ad sales have risen in 2011 by 13 percent.”
Print advertising is not dead, but it is not as important as in previous years. The amount of revenue spent on print advertising by b-to-b media will likely continue to decline. According to another BtoB article, “22.4 percent of marketers plan to slash their print advertising this year; 13.4 percent will cut back on direct mail; and 12.1 percent will decrease event marketing spending. This year, online will see the most significant marketing investment, with 74.0 percent of marketers increasing their online spending. According to BtoB's survey, 70.3 percent of marketers are now using social media as part of their marketing strategy. The top applications for social media are brand-building (82.6 percent), lead generation (51.4 percent), thought leadership (47.4 percent) and customer feedback (39.5 percent).”
By Risa Dixon