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26 | TECHNOLOGY WORDS | Candice Ritchie

Pointless printing? HEAVYWEIGHT ADVERTISING battle VS


n the last issue of OPP, we looked at the almighty property portals and their never-ending list of

benefi ts for real estate professionals. But with such a strong focus on online (and smartphone) marketing, where does this leave print? Is it really now ‘ancient’? Is it a waste of time or does it produce sales? Is it still effective if combined with online sources? It’s time to fi nd out. Figures worldwide show that

advertising revenue is falling; in the US, ads in daily and Sunday newspapers fell by 9% in 2012, with real estate ads experiencing one of the biggest declines. Meanwhile, those on digital platforms were up 5%, and those on mobile devices alone doubled. But this doesn’t mean that the industry’s views are as negative. In fact, in a recent straw poll (March 2013) by Australian news website Real Estate Business, 49.8% of agents believed print advertising was worth the cost, while 45.1% thought it wasn’t. Melbourne-based real estate agency

PhilipWebb had the latter opinion - March 2013 saw the company ditch print advertising altogether. Cleverly conveying their message is their YouTube video ‘Why it’s time to abandon Jurassic Advertising’, which likens newspapers to dinosaurs. It suggests that print has been overtaken by


the “meteoric rise of digital advertising” and deems it ineffective – costing between $5,000-12,000, but lucky to attract 0.5% of your target audience. OPP spoke to Director Philip Webb,

who said that case studies and ‘no paper’ trials show that “the only effect on the outcome for the vendor was a reduction in advertising price”. Andrew Taylor, co-CEO of Chinese property portal had a similar view. “In China, it starts at US$2,500 for any decent-sized, black and white ad in a single major metro area,” he said, “if you relied on print marketing to reach Chinese international buyers, you would go broke before getting your fi rst lead.” It can therefore depend largely on

your budget. “Vendors in the prestige end of the market may still fi nd it worthwhile to use print media,” said Mr Webb, “they are more likely to have the extra money to spend on the campaign, and may not need to see as many returns to see the value in it.” Mr Taylor agreed, “Print advertising is for you if you consider yourself a McDonalds of the industry.” Indeed, print will involve a higher cost for advertising, distribution and printing, and it’s essential that you assess whether your marketing budget has enough revenue to cover the costs. So it’s expensive - but is it really

a waste of time? Like all marketing methods, it has both benefi ts and drawbacks. On the one hand, it is much more personal than an online ad – a user can hold it in hard-copy in their hands and save it for future reference. It is also good for branding and, unlike online, it is much harder for buyers to be inundated with your competitors. On the other hand, it can only display a small amount of the properties available, little information and quickly becomes out of date. It is also much harder to track the performance, reach or cost per lead.

Then how about combining print with a method that can be tracked, such as online? There is a general consensus that buyers turn to the internet to see more information on a property after seeing the ad in the newspaper. Its purpose has therefore changed - while at one point it was used by businesses to get the information out, it’s now a way to point to the information and drive people online. “Print can play a strong role in

fi nding more consumers to consider your product or service, but only if used as part of a multi-channel campaign,” said Mr Taylor, “A correctly executed campaign would include online, selective events, and then follow-up print merchandise.” Mr Webb agrees, “As part of a broader


The sudden transfer to digital marketing methods no doubt had a big impact on print advertising. From cheaper costs to up to date information, the internet seems an easier option. But is print really a dying medium or can it still produce success? Candice Ritchie takes a look


campaign, it will certainly assist in capturing all the prospective buyers in a local area.” He clarifi ed, however, that the company do not see any true benefi ts in the use of newsprint on its own. Indeed, the industry is seeing the

positive effects of merging digital and print. Data from the Newspaper Association of America found that, as a result of more users subscribing to digital editions (on desktops, tablets and smartphones) circulation revenue grew for the fi rst time in a decade in 2012 - up 5% to $10.4 billion. Estate agents are also embracing the change, with the introduction of QR (quick-response) codes and invisible watermarks for print-ads, giving buyers immediate access to more detail at their convenience. So what is the future for print

advertising? Although it’s not at the forefront of most marketing campaigns, it still has a place – “Now, I see it as offering value at the relationship building, personal involvement level,” said Mr Taylor. The general consensus is that, as long as print is not your only marketing method, it can still be a useful tool. Solely using print is very expensive and will not help you reach the biggest audience available to you, but as part of an overall campaign or adapted to digital devices, it can still produce results. Don’t write it off just yet.

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