In the digital age, does print advertising still work?
That's the question that writer Denise Koeth put to MadAveGroup's Chief Creative Officer Scott Greggory.
Koeth's article appears in November's special Purchasing Guide supplement to Tire Review magazine. (Scroll down to read the plain text.)
Building a Media Plan
By Denise Koeth, Senior Contributing Editor
When it comes to advertising, strategies are endless, mediums are constantly changing and advice is often conflicting.
Doing something is better than nothing – results are results, even if they are lackluster – but funneling a shop's dollars into an ineffective ad campaign is a mistake no one wants to repeat.
To take some of the guesswork out of planning your media buy, we talked to several marketing experts and tire dealers to boil down the basics of four popular advertising mediums.
Some Print Still Works
Print advertising still holds an effective place in the majority of tire dealers' markets – but the right channels and strategies must be used. For example, phone books like Yellow Pages are a thing of the past.
"Display ads in telephone books are so expensive; because they're not targeted to your specific audience in your part of town, they can be very wasteful, too," says Scott Greggory, chief creative officer of Madison Avenue Marketing Group. "We work with tire dealers who have good luck with ValPak direct mail coupons. We've also used sponsored maps, postcards and a few other direct mail pieces to target families with multiple vehicles."
Because he says phone books are closed 99.9% of the time (or more), Bruce Bryan, president of B2C Enterprises, an agency in Roanoke, Va., advises that print ads in publications that have solid circulation, are priced right, and are timely are a much better choice.
"Gone are the days when dealers had to list every single tire size and price in the sports section," Bryan says. "A display ad that interrupts and gets the attention of the reader will accomplish the same results or better. Then, provide the address to a responsive website where shoppers can find all the information they need on a smartphone."
"To find out if newspaper or direct mail works for you, test it, measure the results, and then repeat, changing one aspect of the ad (the offer, the price, the image, etc.)," Greggory advises. "That will help you see which version of your ad performs best. Be prepared to commit to the channel, though. Running just an ad or two is not likely to produce great results."
To gauge the effectiveness of a print campaign, always include a coupon with your ad to spur sales, then track the coupon's redemption, according to Rod Frysinger, brand consultant for Madison Avenue Marketing Group.
Stand out from the print crowd by presenting readers with a simple, clear and compelling idea or offer that lets them know why they should do business with you, Greggory notes.
"That typically means using a lot of white space. Most of the time, newspapers and coupon circulars are so jammed with ad copy and images that nothing really stands out to readers," he says.
Conserve your ad dollars by looking into co-op opportunities with the brands your shop sells, says Greggory, adding it may help to hire pros to design and write ads that are more effective.
"A lousy ad will waste your money, but a great ad campaign can generate revenue for months or years to come."
Bryan says there is almost no need to buy a full-page ad in a newspaper. "A 3/4- or 1/2-page ad has a similar recognition value and will cost much, much less. Run ads early in the week; they're often less expensive than those that run late in the week."