Faced with an onslaught of online advertising opportunities, magazine ads have waned in popularity over the past several years.
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Yet for the right businesses, magazine advertising can play a pivotal role in a comprehensive, multichannel marketing campaign.
The key to effective magazine ads is to recognize that print advertising is no longer the silver bullet it once was. In the past, business owners concentrated their marketing dollars on ad placements, essentially pinning all of their hopes on print advertising. But these days, the companies who realize a return on magazine ads are the ones who use print advertising to either initiate or continue conversations with consumers who are as likely to surf the Internet as they are to pick up the latest issue when it hits newsstands.
As an advertiser, you'll need to strike a balance between giving your magazine ads a fair shot and knowing when to take a different approach. Trial-and-error is the name of the game, but to stay on course you'll need to consider a few pieces of advice regarding magazine advertising in the current marketing climate.
- Perform independent evaluations. Magazine sales reps are very adept at passing themselves off as marketing consultants. When an ad bombs, sales reps will likely recommend buying a bigger ad, more placements, or both. Don't be intimidated! Instead, conduct an independent analysis of the reasons for the ad's failure and make your own decisions about future ad placements.
- Avoid cheaper, obscure placements. We're all for managing the cost of magazine advertising. But to minimize costs, business owners sometimes opt to buy a bargain basement ad that is buried deep in the back pages of the magazine. Then, when the ad fails to generate an adequate level of responses, the business owners write off print ads altogether. Giving your ad a fair shot means investing in a decent placement, preferably a quarter or 1/3 page ad embedded in high value content.
- Plan on three or four consistent placements. The outcome of a single placement isn't enough to perform a fair evaluation of the ad performance. Plan to place the same ad three or four times to ensure that it's seen by most of the publication's regular readership.
- Consider the publication itself. In some case, non-performance can be attributed to the publication itself. Before you completely pull the plug on print ads, consider whether you may have misjudged the publication's demographics and readership profile.