Print advertising should not be an afterthought

By Mark Challinor


London, United Kingdom


I wanted to highlight some of the learnings/insights I gleaned in our recent master class on print advertising. 

We heard from speakers the world over, all who pointed out the power of print — still — in this increasingly digital world. These are the key points I summarised, which I believe reflect what we learned:

  • Print advertising shouldn’t be an afterthought or an apology. It is a powerful medium in its own right. And when added to digital, it’s more powerful than we can sometimes imagine
  • We need to train/educate our clients, not just our sales people. Print creates a sense of trust, stability, and heritage. It can be targeted, personal, visually compelling, texture-rich, and creative. Do we portray that excitement when dealing with our clients? 
  • When dealing with agencies, try to target advertisers directly and give them the tools to debate media schedules and buying practices with their own agencies. 
  • Print advertising is a brilliant shop window to our brand(s) and other platforms for advertisers.
The recent INMA master class on print advertising offered key takeaways about the platform.
The recent INMA master class on print advertising offered key takeaways about the platform.

Craftsmanship, intelligent design, compelling storytelling tools

  • Let us help agencies/advertisers with craftsmanship, intelligent design, and compelling storytelling tools. Be consultative in our approach. Sir John Hegarty, founder of BBH and Saatchi & Saatchi and a true global guru in world advertising, pointed this out. There is a lack, in his opinion, of such skills inside advertising companies. We have these skills. What are we doing to educate and assist furthering and deepening the bonds with advertisers? Do we run internal workshops for advertisers? Invite them into your company. Let them see you are not “your father’s newspaper” but are as relevant as ever in 2022.
  • And then … let’s make them look smart. Make it all easy. Keep close to them.
  • Remember there are three personas to consider: the marketer, the creative, and the media person — all with different expectations. Think about what might be on their agenda and what might be important to them as individuals.
  • We need to keep innovating in our print products, technology, and our business models and ideas. Convey any changes with excitement and positivity. See link below for innovative print ideas.                       

Deep, experiential experience

  • Don’t overlook the scale, time spent, the huge attention print still gets from audiences and the effectiveness of print. Print offers a deep, experiential experience. And it’s perceived as high value.
  • Innovation cannot happen on its own. Work/integrate with your newsroom partners. No silos internally.
  • Don’t be afraid to bundle it with digital whilst still selling your print success.
  • Print should promote itself as the medium of truth. Do it with passion and belief. 

Create some magic

  • And … in the words of Marcelo Benez from Folha de S.Paulo in Brazil, when dealing with our agencies and advertisers, “Let’s create some magic that ‘makes their eyes shine.’” Make them think they’d be mad not to include us on their media buying schedule.

Overall, there is creativity and magic in abundance in print. We need to portray that magic and not make print as a perceived add on “because we just have to include it.” Make no apology. Print has value, print has worth, print is hugely effective. And when added to our digital advertising offerings, print is amazingly impactful in reaching huge audiences. 

There’s also too much money left on the table if we ignore it. 

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About Mark Challinor

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