The Printed Word Is Alive and Well on College Campuses

By: Jonathan Oleisky

Has our digital-centric, social media-focused world effectively erased the printed word?

I would argue that it has changed the way in which messages are delivered, but it has not succeeded in the total eradication of print. For proof, visit any college campus.

Last week, I had coffee with Cody Boteler, Class of 2017, who has just stepped down as editor of The Towerlight, Towson University’s independent, student weekly newspaper. Each week, The Towerlight publishes and distributes thousands of copies of its award-winning publication. Yes, the paper has a daily e-newsletter and dynamic website, but the printed weekly publication remains its primary advertising and branding vehicle. Full disclosure: I serve on the nonprofit board of Baltimore Student Media, which owns the student-run newspaper. While I clearly have the paper’s best interest in mind, I’m thrilled that the printed version continues to be relevant to its student, faculty and staff readers.

Earlier this fall, my wife and I attended parent’s weekend at Bowdoin College where we visited our youngest daughter, who is now finishing her freshman year. Parents from around the country were welcomed to the college’s charming New England community with a nasty, multi-day rainstorm. We spent most of our time inside many academic buildings on Bowdoin’s beautiful campus.

As a marketer what struck me the most, was the sheer volume of brightly colored mini-posters announcing every type of college club, upcoming campus event, pot-luck dinner, social engagement, community protest (yep, a ton of those), athletic event or academic lecture. The student union’s walls and super-sized bulletin boards were covered with these posters.

This sea of paper seemed to me to be at odds with the students who were raised in the digital age. (That weekend, non-digital natives – the parents—we were just as connected.) If we communicate via devices, I wondered, what was with all the paper and such a traditional mode of communication. So, I asked a digital native, my daughter. Yes, she uses Bowdoin’s social media feeds to stay connected to college goings-on, but admits to learning about events on campus from the flyers.

The next time someone tells you that “print is dead,” suggest that they go visit the campuses of Towson University and Bowdoin College. I’m sure that the situation is the same on any campus across the country. The next generation of marketing professionals might tell you otherwise, but I’m happy to say that at least on two college campuses, print is alive and well.

Tell us whether or not you think that the demise of the printed word is on the horizon.

Author: Jonathan Oleisky

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Print Media Is Growing; Will Print Advertising Follow?

By: Ashwini Gangal

Few days back the Audit Bureau of Circulation released a report on print media: Over the last 10 years, the average number of copies circulated per day grew from 3.91 crore to 6.28 crore. Print, during this period, has grown at 4.87 per cent CAGR.

Will the new ABC figures tempt brand marketers to advertise more in print? And why does print continue to grow in India?

Edited Excerpts.

Siddharth Banerjee, executive vice president, marketing, Vodafone India

Print has traditionally been a strong medium in India. Vodafone has invested in print in specific campaigns, whenever it is relevant to the target audience and the marketing objectives.

Given that Vodafone has a number of different target segments, irrespective of ABC, we always evaluate all media and arrive at a mix which is most effective for the segment we are looking to target.

In India, print growth is primarily driven by regional newspapers which have a strong readership base across smaller town classes. While in larger markets there is a shift in habit from newspapers to news apps and e-newspapers, smaller markets are still newspaper-heavy.

We also need to recognise that different media measurement sources always tend to reflect different numbers. The next round of the IRS is expected soon and it will be interesting to see whether it reflects a similar growth story in terms of readership.

Sumeet Narang, vice president, marketing, Bajaj Auto

The growth in print as a medium can certainly be ascribed to increasing literacy and aggressive penetration marketing by publishers. The fact that the highest growth has come from the North, which also has had the lowest literacy levels, is testimony to this. Beyond this, it is difficult to generalise without a deeper analysis of this growth and to comment on whether it's due to any change (or lack thereof!) in consumption behaviour.

The role of print as an advertising medium has evolved from 'product information' to 'best deals' and 'what's new'. It seems to be most effective, albeit at a pretty high cost, if you are looking at instant awareness and action. In recent times, a lot of marketing spends have been dominated by emerging, new businesses, pushing new products or offers. Print is likely to attract advertising revenue in such situations. Print also benefits combating advertisers, who tend to get more reactive.

At Bajaj Auto, our marketing focus is on differentiating our brands. Our spending plans are influenced more by our brand and business priorities. I don't foresee a change in approach because of this new data. We never had any false notions that print was a dying medium.

Mayank Shah, category head, Parle Products

A durables marketer will look at the recently released numbers. But these numbers are not surprising. As literacy increases in India, we will see an increase in print circulation and readership. The numbers are fine and expected.

What I would also like to see is the readership numbers. While planning, I would not look at the circulation numbers in isolation. How much of this is genuine is the bigger question. If we look at the numbers closely, we'll see that the circulation numbers are ahead of readership numbers. So, are you trying to tell me one person is reading three or four copies of the same newspaper? Definitely not.

There are several ways to tweak the circulation numbers. So one needs to look at both the metrics to make the statement 'Print is growing significantly in India'. Overall, these ABC numbers won't influence me to change my plans.

Neelima Burra, chief marketing officer, country head, Olive Oil, Cargill India

Circulation is likely to continue its growth in tier II and III towns, which are major consumption markets for sectors like FMCG, retail, e-commerce and automobile. Surely the growth in circulation will encourage advertisers to spend more on print, depending on the strategy. We also need to look at the new publications that are being launched.

Currently, tier II and III markets are 'focus consumption centres'. Print continues to grow because of the following factors - expanding reach of FMCG players, automobile companies going rural, growth of online sales, and growth of desktops and smartphones in rural markets.

By: Ashwini Gangal

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Direct Mail Is Marketing's Workhorse

By: Heather Fletcher

Though many marketers label direct mail costly, they recognize its value — often noting its ROI. About 69 percent of marketers continue to use it, according to Target Marketing’s newly released study, “Marketing Mix Trends 2010-2016.”

In 2016, that 69 percent figure was joined by a single-digit response of marketers cutting back in the channel. Six percent of marketers responding to the survey cut back on direct mail spending in 2016 — which notably doesn’t include eliminating the channel from the marketing mix.

The research touting those numbers is the result of Target Marketing analyzing years of “Media Usage Survey” data. This “Direct Mail” section of the report is part of a benchmarking of marketing media channels, technology, and tactics included in the Target Marketing/NAPCO Research study. Both Target Marketing and NAPCO Research are NAPCO Media brands.


Direct response marketing’s workhorse continues to work, with 69 percent of respondents either increasing or maintaining their use of it during 2016, a level comparable with results from the past five years. In 2016, granted, more marketers kept their level of use steady and fewer increased it than in years past. Of note, however, is that only 6 percent cut back on it — the lowest such level in half a decade.

Apparently the mid-year postage rate increases, which fell heavily on First Class letters and flats, weren’t enough to deter marketers, especially given the drop in First Class Metered Mail rates. The continued strength of direct mail is also reflected in personalization’s continued use: Recipients react well when offers are clearly tailored to them.

Author: Heather Fletcher

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