My case against printed adverts

Massimo GaetaniWhether we accept it or not we live in a world dominated by social media; it’s easy for anybody to publish content which can potentially reach every person in the world which in theory sounds just great. This factor is however a double- edged sword because everybody can do it and the level of competition is far higher today than it was just a few years ago.

I know I am not saying anything new when I state that potentially, any company and individual interested in offering a service or product to the market place, is in the media business as well. Everybody can write blogs, be active on a variety of social media platforms and create a brand for themselves.  For many this is becoming increasingly difficult because the only thing they want to do is provide their products or services but… here we go, there is no going back.

Those companies that were traditionally in the media business like newspapers, magazines, radio and TV find their market share taken away by new media and by an increasing number of business people who are investing their advertisement budgets in new technologies which offer more traceability and increased control on how they are targeting their adverts.

Because of the reasons described above I personally suggest to all of our practitioners to steer away from adverts in magazines and newspapers; this is my case against printed adverts for practitioners in complementary health.   It’s not about whether printed adverts work at all; it’s simply that the return on investment (ROI) they offer is way less than it used to be.  Many of these media companies still live in their ideal world and keep their prices as they were in 2007.  Here are a few examples of how the world has developed a total permeability to printed adverts:

  • We spend an increasing percentage of our pause time, e.g. lunch, travelling, waiting rooms and so on, reading updates on our phones; the probability of seeing one of these adverts is therefore diminished.
  • We are so bombarded by adverts in every media that our minds simply don’t see them.
  • It’s already difficult for an on-line advert to convince us to click through (think about it: when was the last time you clicked on an advert? What was it advertising?); it becomes virtually impossible for us to follow up on a printed advert (same exercise: when was the last time you saw an advert in a magazine or newspaper and decided to buy that product or service?).

The main reason I advise people against printed advertisements is ultimately budget and low ROI, particularly when advertising complementary health services such as massage or similar therapies.  If you offer massages at £50 per session and the typical advertisement in a local magazine will cost you £300 for a half page (+VAT = £360), you will need to have at least 8 people in that month that see the advert, are in the right mood and mind set to receive a massage and pick up the phone and ring you immediately;  if you are available to pick up the phone at that time and you can speak to these individuals and arrange an appointment that suits both them and you.  Even if 8 people are actually committed to arrange an appointment there are at least a couple of scenarios which can play against it:

  • they might decide to do it at a time you are not answering the phone or they want to meet you at a time that doesn’t suit you;
  • the massage concept stays in their mind but not the details of your advert; they search “massage” on-line and find one of your competitors and book with them;

In short I just find that the probability of these 8 people to successfully arrange a massage is incredibly low, hence I suggest against it.

Of course there might be good reasons, for certain companies, to advertise in magazines and newspapers: that should be when the value of just one purchase might pay for advert by itself.

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