What’s In Your Print Quiver?

The always illuminating D. Eadward Tree remembers “the good old days, say, about 2015, when ad agencies had separate media-buying teams for print and digital,” he writes in Publishing Executive.

This specialization, he notes, usually broke down along these lines: The old “codgers” sold print, and the youngsters hawked digital.

“But the world is no longer so simple,” Tree continues. “From what I see, based especially on advertisers’ requests for proposals and colleagues requesting help from this old print dinosaur, the trend is definitely toward integrated, multi-media ad buys. Increasingly, sales reps who were hired for their digital chops are being asked to submit proposals that include a print element.”

(This resonates perfectly with what we are seeing in the industry, as ad execs embrace the fact that digital is no longer the King of Spades and a solid approach to marketing and advertising means a multi-channel strategy that includes the power of print.)

So what’s a digital ad salesperson to do? First, Tree recommends starting with a solid understanding of what the publication truly offers … beyond standard “normal pages” or ROP.

“For example, what kind of inserts has your magazine previously sold or proposed? Are any special sections planned? Does the magazine have different versions or are you able to create a custom version for an advertiser? What are your options for controlled circulation? Are there print options beyond the magazine itself, such as live-event programs?”

To make this possible, Tree exhorts publishers to provide the sales team with the right resources to understand modern print, “whether in-house experts, someone at the printer, a list of capabilities with pricing guidelines, or a look book of examples.”

Makes perfect sense. We can’t expect our sales teams — especially if they come from a digital background — to understand the realities of modern print. That goes for the “old codgers,” too, as Tree calls them. Print marketing today is a far different beast than it was when the old guard entered the business.

Tree offers a fantastic list of eight key concepts of print today to get your resource library started. He provides an excellent explanation of some of the nuanced options available beyond standard ad placements, including:

  • Data-driven print
  • Printed samples
  • Versions
  • Controlled circulation
  • Public-place copies
  • Sponsored cover wraps
  • Advertorial or native ads

Tree’s explanations are a great primer and a good refresher for all of us in the industry. There is no “one size fits all” in this industry; there really never has been. And with the modernization of printing and the new approach to print’s relevance, the potential for a multi-channel strategy is exciting.

If you sell ads, or if you work with someone who does, take the time to read Tree’s full article. It’s a great time to be working in this industry… if you are armed with the facts.