Why You Still Should Advertise With Traditional Media

The media and advertising worlds are evolving almost daily. Don't ignore legacy media outlets, however. Here are some reasons you still should advertise in traditional media.

Why You Still Should Advertise With Traditional Media

Advertising in traditional media may not be the cool thing to do, according to some. But even with reduced circulation in print publications, consider those along with radio and television to get your news to the public. (Photo: Alan Clemons)

Wondering whether you should advertise in traditional media sources such as newspapers, magazines and television?

My question is, why wouldn't you?

Traditional media is newspapers, magazines, television and radio. They're also known as Old Media or legacy media. Those have taken a hit in the last two decades with the growth of the internet. Craigslist helped get the snowball rolling to crunch newspaper classified ads. Company websites helped owners control the message and hurt advertising in print and television. Videos impacted television and radio. Don't forget what the Buggles sang: video killed the radio star.

Notice, though, that nothing is dead. Some newspapers have fewer print editions or are all digital. Some magazines have come and gone, as have some newspapers. Those things have happened ever since Johannes Gutenberg created the printing press in 1440. In almost 600 years, things change.

When the recession hit in 2008, more changes ensued with New Media. The explosive growth of social media — Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, others — and messenging systems all contributed to the evolution of Old Media.

No big news with any of that, right? If you're not involved in some way with New Media you're missing out. But that's another story for another day.

Old Media isn't dead. People still read newspapers, magazines and billboards. Do you believe television or radio doesn't have impact? Consider the number of television channels available now via cable systems. Consider that "radio" can be heard in the good ol' format or online.

Some background: I began working at my hometown weekly newspaper in 1984 as a senior in high school, and then worked with newspapers until 2009. Also freelanced for a handful of magazines and websites. I've seen all kind of changes, good and bad, but one thing has been constant: print has not died.

That means advertising hasn't died. What's obviously changed is a decline in circulation of these print publications, which means fewer eyes looking at the product. No secret there, either. People still are spending money in newspapers, though: according to journalism.org in 2018 estimated advertising revenue  was $14.3 billion for publicly traded companies. That's down 13 percent from 2017. And total estimated circulation revenue was $11.0 billion, a decline from $11.2 billion in 2017.

Don't Give Up

All that sounds like gloom and doom, but here's one thing I notice in newspapers and magazines that I read: strong, smartly designed advertising stands out.

Let's say your local paper has struggled and is pushing toward more digital emphasis, with only three or four print editions each week. Those are opportunities for your store or company to stand out with hardcore, traditional readers who likely are older. Depending on where you live, those readers also likely are involved in hunting, shooting and outdoors pursuits. The same, in many ways, applies to television and radio.

Older adults listen to the radio, watch television and read print products. Younger people watch videos on their phones, get their news from their phones and may occasionally read print products. Those are realistic facts and not "fake news" or some old guy ranting at the world.

So why ignore traditional media just because "everyone" says it's dying and you should go all-in with websites and videos? Why give up those readers, viewers and listeners even if the numbers are smaller than five or 10 or 20 years ago? Some impact is better than none, right?

Money may be tight for advertising, which is understandable. The cliche that to make money you need to spend some money holds true, though. If potential new customers don't know about your shop, product, open house, dealer demo days or other news, you're missing opportunities to expand and grow.

We'll continue to take a look at advertising and some examples of mixing Old Media and New Media. Stay tuned.


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