Remember the original 1984 film Ghostbusters? The late Harold Ramis, playing the character Egon (the brains behind the group of ephemeral-capturing knuckleheads) coined that line as no one else could. Today, “Print is Dead” was perhaps the most relevant quote of the film as we take stock of the printed word. Newspaper circulation of today can certainly provide validity to the “Print is Dead” statement.

Digital content has crushed the daily newspaper business. According to Business Insider, more than 166 newspapers have folded since 2008, that’s only the past ten years. As far back as 1940, the US newspaper circulation was slightly more than 41 million daily, and 32 million on Sunday copies purchased. Today’s estimated circulation is 31 million daily, and 34 million on Sunday. At first glimpse it sounds fine, but remember, the population today is approximately 325.7 million, while in 1940 it was 132.1 million people. We have 60% more people today than nearly 8 decades ago. Approximately One in Three people purchased a daily paper prior to WWII, but today that ratio is somewhere in the 0ne in Ten range.

Print is Dead, or So Said Egon

That’s Not All

Less papers being sold also means that less people work at the newspaper companies across the nation. Thousands and thousands of journalists, classifieds sales people, administrative staff, and press people have all been scrubbed from the employment rolls. The trickle-down effect of job loss tumbles all the way down to the paper boy. Even the phone books, which were once large enough to substitute for a child seat at dinner are a sliver of their formal selves. They’ve moved online.

Pick an industry, any industry, and try to determine how the effects of automation have impacted products, services, jobs and revenue flow. None have avoided the advance of technology, yet there are those who insist that advertising is only effective if it is in print.

Remember Fuller Brush, or Rainbow Vacuums, Cutco Knives, and an entire cadre of household products being sold door to door? Where have all those jobs gone? Even telemarketers have been replaced by the even more annoying “automated” voice response calls to smartphones, house phones, any phones. Even Network Marketing firms like Avon, Amway, Mary Kay, and hundreds of other MLM’s use digital marketing and online advertising such as Facebook and Google Ads. Sure, home parties may still happen, but our busy lives make the face-to-face transactions less likely.

I am not suggesting you revert to any of these outdated forms of marketing, advertising, and sales. Time has clearly put all of these methods out to the proverbial pasture. Those who rely completely on offline ads will suffer from lagging revenues.

Are your precious marketing and advertising dollars being spent effectively in the local paper? Is the daily or weekly local news delivering the results of 10, 20, or 30 to 1 or higher in revenues generated? You can’t tell, can you?

Are you still hoping to spend a leisurely afternoon at the shopping mall browsing through every section of the department stores? Who has the time?

Want to have to go door to door to deliver the monthly Avon Booklets? Hardly.

If you market your business through print ads in flyers, shopper magazines, regional periodicals, are you getting your money’s worth? How about that blue envelope with all the coupons your store’s ads get lost in? Again, it’s difficult to tell with a set of analysis tools (automated).

The Solution(s)

The customer or client of today is vastly different from those just five or ten years ago. Each year, consumers get more and more attuned to all-things digital.

Behavioral marketing and communications methodologies are not new, but sort of new to marketing tactics and a more in-depth understanding of one’s target audience. Want to learn more? Here’s a link from Neil Patel, one of today’s hottest and smartest marketers. Take his three-minute quiz to find out what kind of behavioral consumer you might be.

Websites that are tuned to rank well in search, have well-done search optimization keywords, use resonating content and videos, audios, and are reinforced with a current blog can make significant difference in online sales and lead generation.

What’s known as Meta tags and Alt text for images, audio files, videos and any other type of graphic embedded into the site is also extremely beneficial to ranking on Google and other search engines. Remember, though, consumers are more easily understood by their behaviors, not just the pages they visited.

As for your site, keeping it up to date is critical in today’s consumer-research-prior-to-making – purchasing-decisions society. According to AdWeek, 81% of today’s consumers perform research prior to making any decisions of whom to do business with. Considering the consumer base in the US is getting younger every week, that says a litany of things. So, make sure you have landing pages, a place to build your email database, and leverage all the opportunities you can to attract and capture potential customers/clients.

Guerrilla Marketing is alive and well. What Jay Conrad Levinson wrote in his 1984 blockbuster book (21 million copies sold), free and very low-cost marketing tactics still reign supreme. When money is scarce and time is available, marketing like flyers, posters, yard signs, otherwise known as Bandit Signs (ever notice those signs roadside that shout “Real Estate Investor Seeking Apprentice”? Marketers use those because they are cheap to produce and cost nothing to stick in the ground. They are “stealing attention” from passing consumers where signs shouldn’t be.

Other forms of Guerrilla Marketing are free social media posts, use of contests, quizzes (people don’t care for the word survey) and freebies offered. I could go on forever but you get the idea.

Speaking of Social Media, you can spend an awful lot of time on the most popular platforms, but don’t expect to be bowled over with new clients. It can and often does happen, but the odds are stacked against you. Facebook and Google, as well as other social media platforms have found the formula for cranking out millions and millions of dollars in ad revenues because of the desire for clients and customers. Most of the folks spending the big bucks don’t have very good results mainly because they don’t fully understand the proper methodologies of ad creation, timing, cost per ad and many other facets of this art form. I’m not saying don’t invest in social advertising, what I am saying is hire a professional that will guarantee a return on your investment.

People think that Direct Mail is as dead as print in general, but they would be wrong. It’s so alive that Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Bing, and just about every other mega-tach giant uses direct mail. Today we refer to it as direct response marketing, but DM is booming despite the cost of a stamp. Don’t misunderstand, it is not an automatic win. Direct Mail is as much art as it is science. Behavioral science, psychology, emotional triggering, analytical testing, creative writing, imagery, and a bit of luck thrown in for good measure can generate $100 to $1 ROI if done well.

Like all marketing, measuring results lets you know how your investments are going, thus the need for analytics. If you spend $1000 on direct mail and yield $1000, consider it a win, because more than likely you have found new customers. If the same amount returns $15,000 you did most things very well. Refining the winning direct mail piece should generate even more, but you won’t know until you test, test, test.

Egon (Harold Ramis) might have been premature in his Print is Dead claim way back when, but as you can see, good marketing involves a lot of print as well as digital marketing and advertising. It takes an awareness, skill, and know how to master marketing in todays world. Besides, if it was easy, everyone would be rich and living on a yacht.

If you feel the need to discuss your marketing and advertising to get better results, connect with us.