An old friend said to me the other day: “Our subscribers haven’t forgotten about our (print) magazines, our advertisers have.” Traveling around the country and calling on many publishers, I have been privileged to pick a lot of executive brains on the benefits of offering multiple-channel media buying opportunities. Absolutely, we all recognize the wisdom of buying print, various forms of online and in-person when the budget permits. However, being somewhat old school, I really cringe a bit when the print product, for whatever reason, takes a back seat to other channels. To me, print should be the flagship of the brand. Being realistic, I recognize that there are some circumstances in which this does not make sense. Fair enough. But aside from those situations, I really believe print has unfairly taken the hit.
In lieu of this thought, I’d like to share with you a couple of aggregated data points from a study that we perform on media usage. The overall objective is to measure how various media channels are used by people in their work.
The study asks survey participants to report on key behaviors including regular use, actions taken as well as attitudinal questions about the various channels. Note: These data points are from a series of studies that we have done for various publications in the last year. The last one completed was about five weeks ago. Across all the studies there are approximately 2000 respondents.
Of nine channels included in the research, such as conferences/trade shows, social media, print publications, webinars, etc., search engines are the number one channel in terms of regular usage in work-related activities. In addition, 77% of respondents report using search regularly while 74% reported regular use of printed publications. While print publications are tied with e-newsletters, also at 74% regular usage, the next closest channel is at 55%.
Interest is extremely high in the measure of actions taken as a result of advertising in the various channels. And those of you with printed publications will be glad to know that, of the nine channels, printed publications are No.1. Almost 60% of regular publication users indicated actions taken as a result of advertising in magazine. No. 2 is e-newsletters at 50%.
Finally, we ask a series of attitudinal questions aimed at understanding how media users feel about the various channels. In my opinion, the most important question is this: “How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement – Provides trusted information related to my industry/profession.” 89% percent of all respondents agreed with this statement for print publications.
What I find interesting is that the data I have referenced are collected using an online research study. There is no method bias to print. If anything, one might suggest that because this data are collected online, there might be a bias towards the electronic channels included in the study.
I believe there still is a strong case for print as part of an integrated media buy. While print may be out of favor now, I strongly encourage publishers to stick to it, to surround their flagship with powerful electronic and in-person channels, but continue waving the banner for their printed publications. Things go around and come around; remember that print is still a strong and viable channel.