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When to Drop Print Advertising from Your Marketing Strategy

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Is it time to put print advertising out to pasture?

During a recent internal meeting here at our agency, I posed the following question to the group, “Who has actually read a newspaper in the last 30 days? Not an online version, but an actual printed paper.” I wasn’t shocked to see that out of 35 marketing pros in the room, only three people raised their hands. That’s more than 90% of a very diverse team representing Millennials to the Silent Generation. We just don’t read the newspaper anymore. How about your target audience – is print still relevant to your players? Is picking up a paper and turning the pages the way your gamers want to read their news?

While it remains true that players of value skew to the older generation who have been newspaper consumers for decades but are they still turning to print as their primary source of information? It would be careless to make an assumption either way, without digging into the latest research about the media habits of your target audience, in-market and nation-wide.

We may think that we know our players, our market, our media outlets and their corresponding popularity. After all, that’s what we get paid for, right? But when it comes to allocating our media dollars, the more actionable insights we can absorb, the more effective and efficient our media plan will be, and the more effective and efficient we will be for our clients.

For up-to-the-minute national statistics, we turned to eMarketer, a firm that provides insights and trends related to digital marketing, media, and commerce. A recent report by eMarketer tells us that US Adults spend 25 minutes a day consuming print (14 minutes a day reading the newspaper and 11 minutes a day reading magazines). This is a sharp contrast to the nearly six hours per day that US Adults spend consuming information on their digital devices. Interesting. To dial into the media habits of your target customers in your local area, one of the tools our own media planners use is Nielson Scarborough (NS). NS is especially helpful for gaming clients because of the comprehensive insight they provide relating to how casino-goers consume media in any one of 220 markets in the US. Statistics show that throughout these markets, print is definitely on the decline, but not dead yet.

For example, in Fresno, California, (ranked 54th largest DMA in the county) 30% of all adult 35-64 casino gamers read 1-2 newspaper issues per week compared to the Miami DMA (16th largest in the county) where 28% read 1-2 issues per week. In markets such as Palm Springs (146th largest in the country and historically a haven for the older set), newspaper readership is still only 33% for those reading 1-2 issues per week. Page-turning information.

This information brings us back to the central question: With all of the data indicating that newspaper advertising should be on life support, do you pull the plug and reallocate all those funds to digital? Maybe not.

Newspaper outlets have been watching the decline in their readership convert their print consumers to their digital news outlets and online partner networks.

At one time, print media channels offered digital ads as added value or at a discounted rate when you were buying their print space. Now it’s flipped, and we see publishing giants like McClatchy including print at little or no cost to advertisers who buy their digital networks. It’s practically unfeasible to lose print altogether with the way that publishers have aligned themselves with major digital networks that can deliver targeted audiences and clear metrics the way only digital can.

The bottom line is apparent: newspaper readership will continue to decline while digital media usage increases at a steady pace. For this reason, we feel the shift to secure your presence on digital should be an immediate consideration for any casino who wants to stay current with today’s consumer. But, if the printed packages are included, take advantage of their apparent affordability. Why not?

What trends are you noticing? We would love to hear from you on the changes you see in your markets. Take a minute and let us know.

Mark Astone

Mark Astone