Print advertising is as important as ever

The Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce held its “Tops in Sonoma” breakfast last week, honoring the Valley’s lead tax generators and employers (see story on page three). Prior to the breakfast, the 31 “Tops” businesses were surveyed, asked just a few questions about commerce over the course of the past year as well as plans for the upcoming year. Unfortunately just under half (14) of the 31 businesses responded to the survey.

The survey determined some of the usual – increasing energy efficiency as a cost saving measure ­– as well as some surprising and alarming trends, coming from our perspective. Of particular note was the idea of reducing print advertising in favor of web-based and social media marketing. Now before I jump to crazy conclusions, I need to remind myself that again, there were only 14 respondents and of those, only 50 percent (read, 7) had plans to make significant advertising changes. But the very idea rankled me enough to try and refute this way of thinking.

First and foremost, there are a huge number of people who are simply not online and prefer to get their news the old-fashioned way, in print. What many businesses looking to opt out of print advertising don’t realize is that they are actually strengthening their competition by doing so. The business that advertises gets all the attention, while the other fades from memory to the point readers might even think it has closed down.

Second, I don’t know about you but I don’t put a lot of faith in advertising via Facebook. When I see a post from a friend summoning me to the local pub for a pint, it feels more like propaganda than an invitation. Sure the place is fun and I’m thirsty but I feel like I’m being tricked into going rather than knowing that they’ve got a happy hour special and my favorite beer on tap – something I would have seen in a print ad.

To give credibility to my argument, we are currently running an ad in The Sun for an upcoming event. So deluged by calls and ticket orders were the organizers of the affair that they’ve had to postpone the event in order to buy time to find a larger venue. This ad is only running in print and it is only running in The Sun.

Sadly, according to a story in NetNewsCheck.com, only one in 10 traditional media outlets are predicted to survive over time. The good news is that small local newspapers are expected to fair better than average. The reason, we are generally small operations with lean budgets that can deliver the news of a town quickly, succinctly and with a small town angle. Online media is, of course, a big part of this and our organization embraces the digital age with web-based stories and advertising options. In fact, we are poised to roll out our new web site in the coming weeks. But our print product speaks for itself. And as a weekly paper, your ad stays on the street that much longer, giving it even greater impact.

Finally, as businesses, we are all in this together. The Sun is a business just like any other and we need revenue to keep our doors open. The source of our revenue is, by and large, advertising dollars. Keeping in mind that we are a free publication both in print and online and that thousands of people pick up The Sun on a weekly basis, your ad dollars go that much further.

Advertising your business in the pages of The Sun makes sense.


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