How to Market RFID Products, Part 2

Some marketers claim print is dead, but our experience says the print medium is a critical component of any marketing plan.
Published: November 21, 2008

In a recent post, I discussed some of our experiences marketing our subscriptions and events, and briefly mentioned the effectiveness of advertising in print magazines (see How to Market RFID Products and Services in a Slowing Economy). While I’m on the subject, I thought I’d address a belief in marketing circles that print is no longer an effective marketing medium because you can’t measure success.

The truth is, you can—and we do. In fact, our experience marketing RFID Journal subscriptions, reports and events suggests that print is a critical component of any marketing plan. With all of our event marketing, we provide promotional codes that readers can use to obtain discounts. The codes used most often are those from our print magazine—even more than those found in our direct mail and electronic brochures.

That probably surprises some marketers, but it makes sense for a number of reasons. Print advertising provides a level of credibility you can’t achieve online. Readers perceive that companies advertising in print are more likely to provide quality products and reliable service than those that only market online. It’s similar to the perception of businesses that prefer to take out a small classified ad in a local circular versus those that market in a newspaper.

The other reason print delivers is that the people who pay for a magazine (in our case, it’s part of a premium membership) are those most serious about purchasing RFID hardware, software and services. Such individuals are invested in learning much more about RFID, so they are more committed than a casual visitor to a Web site, or even those subscribing to a newsletter.

Like all advertising, print takes time to be effective. You can’t do one ad and expect to reap a huge number of orders. It takes time to build awareness. When people see an ad two, three or four times, they begin to perceive that company as more credible, and are thus more likely to respond to an offer. By offering a white paper or research report or some other item of perceived value, and by using promo codes, advertisers can track print’s effectiveness.

We’ve found that print combined with online and newsletter advertising is extremely effective. But you can’t advertise in just any print magazine. As I said last week, advertising in an IT, supply chain or manufacturing publication is a waste of money because so few readers of those publications are responsible for radio frequency identification. The most effective strategy is to advertise in a magazine that readers pay to receive, because such individuals are keenly interested in RFID information. Those are your best prospects—I know, because they are ours as well.