Posted on April 18, 2009

Marketers take note. Print is dead for some marketers or dying a slow death for others. There are too many alternatives that are cheaper, more effective and easy to track. B2B Budgets are shifting rapidly from offline tactics to online marketing.

I receive at least 4 trade magazines every week on subjects from direct marketing to search engine marketing. They usually go right into the recycling bin. Not only do I not have time to read them, but by the time the publication gets to me, I've already read a blog, scanned an RSS feed, or read an online case study. That also means I ignore any and all print advertising. This includes direct mail, magazine advertisements, and newspaper ads. The phone book even goes directly into the recycling bin.

The notion that print is dead is scary to a lot of marketers; they know print, are comfortable with it, and most importantly, they usually don't usually have accountability for getting results. Marketers can't tell their clients any more that it's hard to track the effectiveness of print campaigns because they are increasing brand awareness. The advent of online advertising and marketing techniques means that campaigns are 100% trackable.

Does this mean paper publications are going away? No. But print advertising should. When was the last time you paid attention to a print ad? This also goes for TV and radio advertising. With DVRs and satellite radio subscriptions, users are eliminating advertising from their content.

The advent of Web 2.0 has dramatically changed the landscape of online advertising too. Online advertising spending continues to rise but the dollars aren't going to banner ads, they are going to content creation through blogs, email blasts, case studies, articles, webinars and optimized press releases. Smart marketers are also using social networking tools to get the word out. Whether it's a MySpace page, tools like Twitter, Digg and del.icio.us or forums, advertisers are flocking to these free and effective tools. Send out an email newsletter and you'll know exactly who opened, when, and whether or not they clicked-through forwarded it on to a friend, or filled out a contact form.

Marketers are also spending less on direct mail, but those who are doing it right are creating a compelling offer just to get a new customer in the door. This tactic works especially well when users are sent to the web to convert. By asking for the new customer's name and email before giving them a coupon to print, you are gathering their information so you can continue to market to them through a much less expensive medium.

Smart marketers are embracing new techniques like blogs, podcasts, vlogs, email, RSS, and social media marketing to get the word out on their products and services. Get with the program, and you'll not only reach more users, you'll have the opportunity to prove ROI.