Marketing: Web or Newspapers?


Marketing is persuading a customer to come to us. (Sales is directed to reaching out to the customer for the close.) We all want the prospect to call or click. To come to us. Which is the best medium to use?

We live in a sight and sound generation. The smart small business advertiser knows this. And will devote scarce advertising resources for the largest return on investment.


Reach, Frequency and Awareness drive the marketers’ attention on placing ad dollars. Among the choices today she will consider:





So where is the future?

Not in newsprint. John S. Carroll, former editor of The Los Angeles Times recently said in a speech published by Harvard that,

With the advent of the Web, our rotary presses, those massive machines that once conferred near monopolies on their owners, are looking more and more like the last steam engine.

Young readers are going online and not coming back. Circulation revenues are dwindling…Circulation itself is falling. Ad revenues are weak — not a good sign in a growing economy — and Web-based competitors are stealing our advertisers.

The dead-tree peddler/complainer is wrong: Web-based competitors are not stealing anything.

Readers have simply made a better decision on getting content. The reader decided. And it’s not a newspaper.

Why? Why are web-based competitors winning the readership, and for small businesses, the ad placements?

Glenn Reynolds writes in An Army of Davids that …power once concentrated in the hands of a professional few has been redistributed into those who (mostly) do it for fun.

And that the reader of the web — blogs, like the outstanding site you are now on — controls her time and timing in choosing content.

The reader/listener will be at one of three places to download content:

1) Not at work. 2) On the way to work. Or 3) At work.

She can do a podcast or radio or web at each of the three locations. Workplace etiquette limits content consumption.

It is still considered bad form to read a newspaper at work. Worse yet to be watching TV at work. Although my wife, Charmaine, has a bank of three sets in her massive corner office, TV viewing would not be recommended if not directly part of your job description.

But everyone should be looking at a computer monitor while at work. And reading and studying intently. (The clever employee has a spread-sheet as a screen saver.)

The consumer not at work has other limitations. Your Business Blogger was advising a client on message mediums. The CEO was considering dropping his radio programming, to devote resources in other venues with possibly higher returns in the future. I advised his team to consider keeping the audio because it is not safe to watch a video monitor while driving a car. People listen to radio or a podcast in drive time.

What’s an advertiser to do? Consider a pod-cast or a blog to sponsor to get a precise targeted, motivated consumer. Because these content providers, as Glenn Reynolds says,

are …the people who are having fun…

And having fun; having passion, sells.


Was this helpful? Do comment.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Also see Small Business Trends Web vs Newpapers: The Trend

John S. Carroll’s speech was delivered on April 26, 2006 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

Be sure to visit the Carnival of the Vanities.


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3 Responses

  1. My definition has always been:

    Marketing generates prospects, sales turns prospects into cash.

  2. Tim MMF says:

    You hit the nail on the head with this one. Nice post. Thanks for participating in the Carnival of Business!

  3. Facteon Blog says:

    Increased Cash Flow and Increase Sales

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