Space ads are created with less effort than direct mail packages, but on the flip side the space to explain your offer is limited.
Yet compared to TV or radio, says Brian Blanchard, head of new business development at Novus Marketing in Minneapolis, “you can tell a longer story” in print.
Blanchard points to the “spillover effect” created by print ads. “If people see [your ad] in a magazine they’re paying to receive, there’s a bit of implied endorsement … It’s almost like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.”
Which response channel pulls best on a print ad? Most catalogers try to drive people to the Web site because it’s cheaper to handle those orders. Yet many advertisers are “resistant to putting unique URLs or specific offer codes into their advertising,” says Blanchard. (Though a recent Lands’ End space ad includes one.) Without these, “It’s hard to measure online inquiries,” he cautions.
Kotowski says driving readers to a toll-free number rather than a Web site has an advantage: “On the Web, there’s no person to talk to and close the sale. If the caller is directed to call an 800 number, the CSR on the other end has a much better chance to persuade the caller to place an order.”
Peripherally, Black considers editorial media placements an alternate medium, as well, “especially if your product is general interest, and there is education involved.”
Black says that in years past, at the advent of cable TV, catalogers took advantage of “per inquiry” (PI) time, because it was economical. She says that well has almost run dry. Run-of-station is less appealing, Black says, because you need to find programs that match your product closely.
“The total budget for creating and placing a direct response TV spot is about equivalent to mailing a test to a dozen outside lists of about 5,000 names each—not really a huge leap,” wrote Jack Schmid in the January 1999 Target Marketing.