Is the party finally over for print advertising?

Recently Yahoo! ran a three-page advertisement in the August print edition of Wired Magazine. As I flipped through the magazine, three questions came to mind:

  1. Doesn’t advertising in a magazine contradict what Yahoo! stands for?
  2. Will this ad gain Yahoo! market share?
  3. How much did this cost?

An online search engine using offline advertising to promote the brand and ultimately adoption seems to be a flawed strategy. To start with, you are clearly not where your customers are…online. Someone forgot to tell Yahoo! it’s about value not hype.
Expectations have changed. Engagement trumps disruption. In today’s business environment this rings even more true. Not one CEO in a room will say yes when asked, “do you take cold calls from sales reps?”
People will be interested in your product or service when the conversation is about them. Online tactics offer a mechanism for understanding what people care about in a way that advertising, direct mail or telemarketing never can. Its hard to post a comment on a magazine ad. Print advertising offers no value with respect to customer engagement.
But beware of the obvious trap– taking offline tactics and slapping them up online will not work. Direct mail can’t masquerade as email marketing and a corporate brochure does not make a good website.
Think about the marketing tactics you are using today to drive leads to your business. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do they reflect where my ideal customer is going to look for a solution to a business problem and am I engaged in that conversation?
  2. Do these tactics support my value proposition or merely spew facts randomly at the market place?
  3. Are my tactics “about me” or do they engage potential customers in a conversation about a business problem I can help solve?

If Yahoo! had asked themselves these questions, maybe their tactics would be different. But then again, maybe the ad perfectly reflects Yahoo!: Flash versus useful content. Too bad they don’t realize their market share reflects who is paying attention.
If no one is paying attention to your marketing tactics, maybe it’s time to put your ear to the ground and find out what your ideal customer cares about. I can guarantee it’s not a three page magazine spread.

Marketing CoPilot