As reported in a WSJ article this week, Many Major Newspapers Post Circulation Declines, most of the top 10 newspapers posted lower newspaper circulations....

The most surprising one was the San Francisco Chronicle, that saw a decline of almost 16% which dropped them out of the top 10. The reason, according to the article, was not defections to the Internet. Wait, stop the presses - not the Internet? Nope. According to Patricia Hoyt, a Chronicle spokesperson, the newspaper stopped giving free weekday copies away to people who subscribed on the weekends and it cut back on sponsored copies.
Interesting isn't it? You see, I always battled with my marketing counterparts about spending any money on print advertising. In fact, I think I had myself thrown out of a few planning meetings because I was the guy that hated advertising in newspapers. My argument went something like this:
* It is static
* Mostly black and white
* No shelf life
* No sound
* No way to track results
* It is expensive
* When was the last time you (the marketer) responded to a print ad
* And in 8 years of managing online advertising campaigns, I have NEVER SEEN any impact on online results
That's right, true believers. I've never seen any print campaign impact my online results. I looked for visits on the Web site, logins to an account, trade volume, assets under management, click-thru rate, conversions into sales, sales per day, and EVERYTHING ELSE and never found one shred of evidence.
Now surprise, the newspapers are cutting back free subscriptions that inflated readership and allowed them to get more ad dollars. Look, you have to ask yourself why spend any money on newspaper advertising. Wouldn't you be better off running online ads on the digital versions of the newspapers? At least the ads would be pretty, trackable, and more cost-effective.

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Eric Frenchman is an online marketing and advertising consultant located in the Great State of New Jersey and Chief Internet Strategist for the online political agency Connell Donatelli Inc. Since 1998, Eric has managed multi-million dollar online advertising and CRM campaigns for AT&T, DLJdirect, Harrisdirect, and BMO Investorline and is a recognized expert in online marketing and advertising techniques. In 2005, Harrisdirect was ranked as the 17th largest online advertiser in the US and in 2003 was recognized as Best Financial Advertiser. Eric Frenchman's marketing blog is located here: