Next Communications Explores New Research on the Health of Print Advertising

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Next Communications explores new research showing that traditional media still represents the largest share of budgets in most cases, suggesting that new media are mostly being integrated into the mix rather than totally displacing traditional approaches.

Next Communications, Inc., Minneapolis, MN ( is helping answer questions on the health and usage of print advertising. Do B2B marketers believe that print advertising and offline printed materials have become a thing of the past? Has the economic downturn been a catalyst for the mentality: "There's no budget for print, so online must be the way to go"? Have marketers been misled by the hype of social media? Are marketers trying to replace print publications that reach hundreds of thousands of specifiers in their target markets with a few hundred Twitter followers? Or with unsolicited eNewsletters that are opened by a small fraction of recipients? Have marketers poured all their efforts into a website that doesn't get page rank or convert new traffic? Is growth paralyzed by dilution of marketing efforts and confusion over how online and offline tactics should work together?

A recent study shows that 42% of industrial marketers say they are not generating enough high-quality leads for their sales teams.1 Marketers must carefully consider that a prolonged sales slump going forward might be attributed less to the recovering economy and more to the cumulative effects of reduced brand presence in the media most read and trusted by specifiers in key markets-- industry trade publications. The same resources, incidentally, that drive a major share of online search and web traffic to those who have maintained their offline brand presence.

Make no mistake, online marketing is easily the most vital resource for in-depth information delivery and your website is the preferred destination to drive prospects. However, questions remain: How do marketers convince potential customers to visit their site--and can they even find it online? Why should they consider your brand over the others in a Google search? The simple fact is this--there is legitimacy and trust in print advertising that online alone will never duplicate. And an active presence in print vastly increases the effectiveness of your online program. Let's look at a few independent findings that validate this:

1.    Two-thirds of online search users are driven to perform searches as a result of an offline channel. 2
2.    Prints ads drive 30% of all online searches. 2
3.    Telmetrics found that site referrals from print represented 44% of leads on average. 3
4.    Across an aggregate of 20 studies, magazines produced a positive result in more stages of the purchase funnel, and in more ad campaigns, than online. 4 Check out these findings:

  •     Total Brand Awareness: 78% vs. 56% for online
  •     Brand Familiarity: 93% vs. 67% for online
  •     Purchase Intent: 80% vs. 26% for online

5.    Traditional media still represent the largest share of budgets in most cases, suggesting that new media are mostly being integrated into the mix rather than totally displacing traditional approaches.5

One answer proposed by Minneapolis-based Next Communications ( is called Orbital Branding™. Orbital Branding is an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) strategy that surrounds prospects and customers 360 degrees with brand presence. Orbital Branding integrates online, offline and content tactics that economically leverages a brand's messages across multiple channels--positioning your brand for engagement wherever your prospects are likely to turn. Think of integrated marketing as a three-legged stool. If a marketer is missing any leg, they're on shaky ground. Today, customers and prospects validate their choices through brand recognition in print advertising, brand accessibility though online response vehicles including website and pay-per-click, and brand authority created through tactical publicity and valuable content that drives trust and search engine results, reaching across online and offline channels. The best marketers know prospects' perceptions are heavily influenced by the brand synergy created by all of these channels.

The time to act is now. Key indicators show that manufacturing is recovering. The economic pause has allowed companies to reevaluate, and they are now looking for new products and technologies to drive greater efficiency in their operations. The opportunity to increase market share and find new customers has never been better.

1-2009 GlobalSpec Marketing Trends Survey
2-iProspect "Offline Influence on Online Search Behavior"
3-Telmetrics Inc.
4-Magazine Publishers of America study conducted by Marketing Evolution
5-MarketingProfs Research Insights, MarketingProfs, LLC "B2B Marketing in 2009: Trends in Strategies and Spending"

©2009 Next Communications, Inc.


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Dennis Gallaher
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