Sure, printed ads are not allowing you to track your sales efforts as online ones, but they have other benefits you can’t see at first sight, see below.

An additional source to reach your customers

This might be obvious to most of the persons reading this article but if you want to sell a product you need to be visible. Especially when you export your goods as you are not on your domestic market, where people generally know you. You need your foreign audience to know that you exist, to know your product/service and your brand message.
How much it takes to do so? The number varies according to the situation: your product, its price and so on.

Dr. Jeffrey Lant developed the marketing principle “rule of seven”: your customers must have been in contact with your brands at least 7 times in the last 18 months so that it sticks in their mind. We will probably never know if 7 is the magic number in that formula, but I am sure you understood the concept.

Therefore, adding another source of contact (printed magazines) is always good for your brand.

Take your time to think about it: have you ever been so much in contact with an ad that you remember the brand, motto or product even if you never planned to buy it in the past 12 months?

Now, will you remember it when you’ll need to purchase the same kind of product? Yes, probably. You want your customers to feel the same way about you. Frequency and variety of sources are some of the key factors of successful advertisement.

In Successful Advertising (published in 1885!), Thomas Smith stated:

The 1st time people look at ad, they don’t see it.
The 2nd time, they don’t notice it.
The 3rd time, they are aware that it is there.
The 4th time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it before.
The 5th time, they actually read the ad.
The 6th time, they thumb their nose at it.
The 7th time, they get a little irritated with it.
The 8th time, they think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
The 9th time, they wonder if they’re missing out on something.
The 10th time, they ask their friends or neighbors if they’ve tried it.
The 11th time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The 12th time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The 13th time, they start to feel the product has value.
The 14th time, they start to feel like they’ve wanted a product like this for a long time.
The 15th time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
The 16th time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The 17th time, they make a commitment to buy the product.
The 18th time, they curse their poverty because they can’t buy this terrific product.
The 19th time, they count their money very carefully.
The 20th time prospects see the ad, they buy what it is offering.

In my opinion, it has never been so true still today.

Repetition of your ads must be regular and on different sources. If you publish the same ad in a short period, your brand will be stuck in your potential customer’s head but only for a short time.
Studies have shown that it is easy to remember and learn new skills, but they are quickly forgotten if you do not have regular repetition over time. The same principle is applicable to marketing. It is more effective to reach fewer people more times than more people only one time.

Reliable magazine = reliable brand

If a product is published as an advertisement in Forbes or The Wall Street Journal, will you trust it? To a certain extent yes. I think you got my point. If your advertisement is published in a well-trusted media, then your brand will be unconsciously associated in the mind of the prospect as a qualitative and reliable brand.

The reverse effect is also true. As a personal point of view, if I see a brand in a bad quality magazine, I am either thinking that the brand does not care about its image or that they just have an advertisement budget to throw out of the window. Well, in that case why wouldn’t they using it to improve their product / service?

We are clearly at an age when people are looking for more trust and authenticity: 63% of global consumers said they would buy from a company they consider authentic*. They’re are high chances that if they feel this for the magazine, they will – at least – not have prejudices against your brand (if they never heard of it). If we are extrapolating a bit toward the effect of a recommendation on a person, 92% of consumers claim that a word-of-mouth recommendation is the “leading reason they buy a product or a service” (Nielsen and Roper Reports).

There was an interesting study** showing how much the sales of books placed on the same Amazon page as a book recommended by Oprah Winfrey or The New York Times increased in sales, even though the side page books were not recommended themselves.

Pulled from data of more than 700’000 books and products recommended by Amazon on the same page as a book recommended by Oprah or the NYT, the conclusion from the study is that there was a noticeable increase in demand of related products placed on the same page.

You could tell me: it only results from the increase in traffic, sure part of it could explain it, but I am not convinced it explains it all.

*study conducted by
** “Is Oprah Contagious? The Depth of Diffusion of Demand Shocks in a Product Network”

Reach a targeted audience

Where to find the right audience? A difficult conundrum of most of the marketers today. A specialized magazine can offer you the right audience on a silver platter.

If you are a manufacturer of dental products and your end-customers are dentists, then who will be better to target your audience than Dental News or Dental Tribune? In these examples, the magazines mentioned have a targeted audience, and from different regions of the world. Isn’t it great?

All ads that are not aimed or will not finish in the hands of the customer is money wasted. Publishing in a magazine with a defined audience is always a good trick for successful campaigns. You still have a doubt about the magazine audience? Ask them! Many magazines conduct surveys about their readers and keep track of the information. They target their customers too you know.
I would advise you to check the audience in any cases. From the outside, a magazine could have the desired audience while in fact it doesn’t.

An example of missed campaign would be: to address your message to pianists and publishing content in a specialized piano magazine read only by piano repair shops. Yes, the magazine is called Piano Experts (fictive name) but the readers aren’t truly your customers.

How do I get information about the audience? And what shall I look for?
Ask for the Media Kits of the magazines, it will provide you the data you need – depending on the information gathered by the magazine:

  • Type of audience (the various profiles of their readers)
  • Size of the audience
  • Number of publications per year
  • Will the publications will be distributed during industry events?
  • Printed ads / Digital content
  • Prices
  • Related magazines owned by the same group
  • Etc…

Full example of Media Kits and information to look for at the end of this article (Dental industry).

A page opened feels less intrusive than an email received

How much chances you have from the same amount of emails sent versus magazines shipped that the prospect opens the email or the page? In my opinion, the odds are higher that your prospect is deleting an unexpected email promoting your brand while he could end up on the right page of a magazine and see your product.

I found this very interesting data from analyzing a group of people surveyed about the intrusiveness of ads.

In the mostly-okay-with-it category, we have:

  • Television commercials (9%)
  • Sponsored LinkedIn posts (9%)
  • Sponsored Facebook ads (13%)
  • Online display advertisements (13%)
  • Email advertisements (promotional or sale announcements) (15%)
  • Online video advertisements (25%)

In the GTFO-of-my-face category, people expressed dislike for:

  • Direct mail ads or promotions (mailers, “junk” mail) (48%)
  • Autoplaying online video advertisements (51%)
  • Pop up online advertisements (70%)
  • Telemarketing calls (81%)

In the light of these results, I couldn’t recommend more to continue publishing printed ads to make sure your audience gets your message. On the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend doing only printed ads marketing as digital content is growing more and more nowadays.

The attention factor

People read magazine when they have time. As a newcomer in a foreign market you need the full attention of the potential customers to learn more about your brand. Using an emailing campaign when you want to export your goods in a market where nobody knows you is risky. You will spend a high amount of money for a lot of emails being erased.

Does e-marketing (Facebook ads, Instagram, Linked In) a good option? Why not. But remember you need to build trust. Haven’t you seen new brand of poor quality using those channels to reach out to you? Have you clicked on the link if you never heard of it from a “reliable” source before?

Still today printed ads are not dead and should not be forgotten.

People read magazines when they have time. Don’t you want them to spend time looking at your product or service? It would be hard to compare how much time the eyes of one prospect spend on a printed ad versus a digital one. Nonetheless, we can assume that one is more relaxed when reading a magazine or journal than an email. This is the exact moment you would like to catch your potential customer.

Developing your image through printed local press

Building your image into a new market often requires advertising your brand in local journals or magazines. Nonetheless, most of us can’t afford to spend hundreds of thousands dollars in paper ads. Here is a successful guideline to select your media partners wisely.

First, you will need to assess the quality of the content included in the magazine. Too many times we have seen brands advertising in second tier magazine just to maintain a press presence. We strongly recommend you reading some of the articles in the magazines you advertise in.

Are the authors good? Is the content interesting? Would the publication really benefit your end-customers? Isn’t it too much ad-oriented?
If your responded negatively to those questions, then most of your customers might think the same.

Secondly, you will have to gather the details. You want to know the targeted audience, the number of publications per year, the number of printed copies, is there an online copy?, the price for the customers, the price for the announcer.
This information will help you defining if the price of the ad worth it and how much you want to advertise in the publication.

Many media companies now offer more than just printed ads. For example, you can often negotiate an interview of one of your customers (or your CEO), an online banner on their website, a published press release of the review of your product/service/company.

Then, it comes the time where you need to define the number of publications you want, when to publish and what to publish. Sometimes 3 great ads at the right time worth much more than 10 invisible ones. You will have to advertise according to your sector, i.e. you can put an ad months before an international trade show, skip Ramadan period if you are publishing in a Muslim country, avoid the closing of financial year period if you are in the Accounting business, etc…

The content of the ad itself is important. It drives your message to your end-customers. It must stick in the head and attract the eye of the public. It is also interesting from time to time to hire an external firm to change your style for one or two issues of the magazine.

Additional tip: choose your media partners wisely and build up a good relationship with them. They can sometimes help you in tricky situations, introduce you to their network in your industry or even reveal interesting information about the market or your competitors (that they probably know and deal with too)!

Pic: Unsplash.com_Ewan Robertson


The Media Kit example – Dental Tribune 2019

Imagine that you are Export Manager in the Dental Industry in 2018. You want to introduce a new product in 2019 to dentists in a certain region of the world. Let’s analyze what I am looking for:

Audience: 650’000 dentists in 90 countries. SEEMS GOOD

I will have to ask the magazine to know in the region I am targeting (if not written later in the Media Kit), but the total number of readers is huge. It must be one of the top medias in this field, a well-trusted one probably.

Channels used: Print Media, Social Media, Education, Video, Events, e-Marketing… GREEN LIGHT TOO

The Media Kit is stating that the brand is using multiple channels to target their audience. This is a good point for me. They can probably make me a package to touch my customers in many ways to make my brand stick in their mind.

Number of copies: 5 million worldwide NEED CLARIFICATION

Dental Tribune is publishing around 5 million of copies per year with 240 issues per year. This is a high number, they are speaking at a global level. Not too much relevant if I am targeting a specific zone as stated in my example hypothesis.
Note: they have additional magazines related to the same topics.


Specialized parts: sub-industry pages

The magazine is publishing parts related to sub-sectors (endodontics, implantology, etc.). If my product has a special purpose, it is better to publish in the relevant annex of the magazine too. It has its advantages: touch the exact audience, but what happen if my products are for implantologists and endodontists ? 50/50

Packages: Print Media, Social Media, Education, Video, Events, e-Marketing

This publication is promoting packages to Export Manager: printed, ads, digital, etc. If I am looking to lower my costs, it is good to stay with the same partner for many channels as you can have better discount than varying publication. On the other side, varying publication helps you reaching out to a larger audience (not everybody like the same journal, right?).

They also organize events themselves and promote educational courses. Another advantage for the Export manager in this example. GOOD POINT

Event coverage: distributed during trade shows abroad

The magazine distributes copies during worldwide exhibitions. This is very relevant for our example. I know exactly how much copies will be given to the export audience I’d like to touch. This is a plus. GREAT !

Ad size and prices: 1 page, half a page, etc…

I can see clearly how big my ad will be, how many publications they have in each country and the final investment I will have to make. GOOD


To conclude this example, I could find all the information needed and – according to the budget allocated by my company – I can easily make a wise decision about this print media. Combined with their competitors’ media kit, I can build up my print media strategy for 2019 in order to push the export sales of my new product in my sales area.