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The future of

publishing and
what it means for
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the marketers
© 2010 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
Disappearing Ink?

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The future of publishing and what it means for
the marketer
For more than 500 years, the printed word has been used to tell stories, share
news and move ideas across time and space. In the past five years, however, one
major event fed into a cultural, technological shift like gasoline on fire to impact
print media in a revolutionary way. Specifically, the economic recession hit an
industry already struggling to find its way in a new media landscape among
Internet, social media and mobile devices, officially marking the purported death
of publishing.

While there’s no denying the rapidly declining newspaper and

magazine subscription levels, the increased prevalence of e-books
or the rise of citizen journalism through social media, print is still
very much alive. What’s changing is the ways print is consumed
and how we as marketers and communications professionals are
integrating print with other channels. Businesses and marketers
need to continue to learn how to adapt to and leverage the
changing landscape and the new tools it has presented, instead of
trying to continue applying the old rules to the new playing field.

“What’s really changing is the role of content itself,” said Chris Tolles, CEO of
online news community, Topix. “Online, it’s participation that becomes the
product, with the content merely an ingredient of the real product. And print
becomes a great vehicle to promote that new, experiential online product.”1

It’s time for businesses and marketers everywhere to become proactive in the
changing world of communications. This Blue Paper® will provide background on
the current state of print and the roles it plays in business and marketing, propose
that your business conduct its own situation analysis and develop a new strategy
as needed. Additionally, it will outline content creation trends that can help your
business integrate communications on- and offline today.

Moder n print: A snapshot

First, let’s take a look at some of the statistics involving print media today in order
to better understand how to leverage the best of the print world and the digital
world together:

1 Jarvis, Jeff, and Chris Tolles. “The Print Media Are Doomed - BusinessWeek.” BusinessWeek. 30 Jan. 2009. Web.
10 Sept. 2010.

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• On a typical day, 59 percent of Americans get their news online.2

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• According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), 33 percent of people
respond to direct mail by going online.
• Mobile marketing is a $2.6 billion per year industry that is
projected to go nowhere but up.3
• Fewer than half of U.S. households now read daily newspapers.4
• Nearly half of all Americans ages 18-24 read no books outside
of those assigned for class.5
• The annual household average spent on books and other
reading materials has dropped more than 10 percent in the
past decade.6
• According to the Direct Marketing Association, the return on investment for
e-mail marketing is often upwards of $60 for every dollar spent, compared
to other online marketing efforts that see closer to a $20 return for each
dollar spent.7
• Some 8.6 million households report regular use of online coupons8 and while
the average redemption rate for print coupons is about 1.2 percent, recent
studies have indicated that online coupon redemption rates are upward of
10 to 15 percent.9
• Revenue from print advertising dropped 23 percent from 2008 to 2009.10
• It’s estimated that it costs The New York Times twice as much to print the
publication as it would to send a Kindle® to each one of its subscribers.11

These facts are likely the catalyst for numerous trends currently emerging and
gaining adoption across the marketing and communications industries. The areas
of advertising, publishing, public relations and marketing specifically ….serve to
illustrate the need to dive more deeply into the data.

2 “How Media Consumption Has Changed Since 2000 | Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.”
Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.
3 “Mobile Advertising to Grow 45% in 2010 to $3.8B :.” Mobile Marketing Watch - The Pulse Of The Mobile
Marketing Community. Web. 14 Jan. 2010.
4 Gioia, Dana. Disappearing Ink: Poetry at the End of Print Culture. Saint Paul, MN: Graywolf, 2004. Print.
5 National Endowment for the Arts. “To Read or Not to Read: A Question of National Consequence.” National
Endowment for the Arts. 2007. Web. <>.
6 National Endowment for the Arts. “To Read or Not to Read: A Question of National Consequence.” National
Endowment for the Arts. 2007. Web. <>.
7 “Metrics 2.0: Email Marketing Stats, Facts and Metrics - Metrics 2.0 Quick Pack.” Metrics 2.0 : Data-Driven
Business & Market Intelligence. Web. 02 Sept. 2010.
8 MarketingProfs. “E-Coupons Gaining in Popularity.” MarketingProfs: Marketing Resources for Marketing
Professionals. 29 Sept. 2009. Web. 13 Feb. 2010.
9 Grasse, Nicole. “Once just a fad, online coupons are catching on big with retailers and shoppers.” Web. 21 Feb. 2010. <
10 “ The State of the News Media 2009.” The State of the News Media 2010. 30
Jan. 2009. Web. 10 Sept. 2010. <>.
11 Ahrens, Frank. “The Accelerating Decline of Newspapers -” The Washington Post. Web.
10 Sept. 2010. <>.

© 2010 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved


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Print advertising in newspapers, magazines and other publications has long
been the lifeblood of many print outlets. Readership of many daily publications
throughout the U.S. was once at such heights that one of the most effective ways
businesses and marketers could reach audiences was through this medium.

Today, U.S. print circulation has hit its lowest level in seven decades, as papers
across the country lost 10.6 percent of their paying readers from April through
September of 2009, compared with a year earlier.12

This decline in circulation and readership has meant that some advertisers are
pulling out, thus contributing to the ailing viability of print outlets. Outlets
are trying to keep readers in order to continue the appeal of advertising to
marketers. Marketers on the other hand, are leaving print publications in the dust
to pursue more effective options, which brings us full-circle to the outlets that
are also trying to create more effective options for marketers by expanding and
experimenting with their delivery models to audiences.

But, research has found that these readers aren’t ceasing to consume publications,
they’ve just moved online where the same content can be found for free through
a publication’s site or search engines and news aggregators like Google®.

Some outlets have switched to entirely online formats while

others have gone online and nonprofit. Rupert Murdoch himself is
exploring ways to keep his advertisers at the Wall Street Journal by
pumping the brakes on search engine indexing and charging for
online subscriptions through what is known as a “pay-wall.”

What all businesses and marketers need to know is that print

advertising has shifted and it makes sense now more than
ever to have a holistic approach to any advertising campaign.
Specifically, one that incorporates print if it makes sense for your
demographics, yes, but one that integrates a variety of advertising
channels overall.

As a means to do just that, many businesses and marketers are using new trends
at an increasing rate. Some of these trends include13:

12 “10 Online Advertising Trends in 2010 | Advertise Space • Online Advertising.” Advertise Space • Online
Advertising | Buying and Selling Online Advertising. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.
13 Kurz, Phil. “Online, Mobile Advertising See 14 Percent Growth in 2011, Says Borrell Associates.” Broadcast
Engineering and Digital Television. Web. 10 Sept. 2010. <

© 2010 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved

• “Indie” advertising

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Major advertisers are seeking out smaller independent “voices” in lieu of
massive publishers to return to grassroots—these indie outlets include blogs,
neighborhood publications and cooperative community news outlets. These
publications often allow for greater targeting of audiences based on local
interests and often have fairly reasonable ad rates compared to traditional
print outlets. However, businesses and marketers looking to reach national
audiences have far fewer options with this trend and placement can end up
costing more than traditional outlets when time and effort is factored in.

• Mobile advertising
Apps, SMS messaging and mobile Internet ads certainly aren’t new. These
channels are, however, exploding in terms of use and effectiveness. The
Direct Marketing Association estimates that mobile marketing will increase
24 percent by 2011 and by 2014, mobile ad spending is estimated to exceed
$5 billion.14 For more information on developing a mobile advertising
strategy, see our Blue Paper on the topic.

• Advertising marketplaces and exchanges

Instead of advertising with specific search engines individually or specific
websites and pages, directories that bundle and target online ads have
popped up left and right—many of which also package mobile and social
ads as options, too. The primary advantage for marketplaces (like AdMob®
or Chitika™) is one-stop shopping and niche marketing. The downside is
often extra charges for comprehensive measurement and tracking.

Generally speaking, there are two types of advertising marketplaces and

exchanges: first-tier and second-tier. First-tier advertising networks have a large
number of their own advertisers and publishers, high quality traffic, and they
serve ads and traffic to second-tier networks. An example of such is a search
engine, like Google. Second-tier advertising networks may have some of their
own advertisers and publishers, but their main source of revenue comes from
syndicating ads from other advertising networks.15

Additionally, advertising marketplaces and exchanges usually fall into one

of three categories16:
ºº Vertical Networks: Ad placement is packaged into a portfolio of
sorts (combining a variety of banner sizes and placement on multiple

14 Khan, Imran. “The Rise of Ad Networks.” JP Morgan Chase. Web.

15 Khan, Imran. “The Rise of Ad Networks.” JP Morgan Chase. Web.
16 “Over 80% of Americans Use Social Media Monthly.” Internet Marketing News | Marketing Pilgrim. Web. 10
Sept. 2010. <>.

© 2010 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved

sites and search engines) and sold to advertisers and marketers.

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Those who purchase ads from these networks know exactly what
they are getting and exactly when and where ads will appear.
Additionally, revenue from ads is usually shared between the ad
buyer and the network.

ºº Blind Networks: Low prices for online ads are offered in exchange for
advertisers and marketers who are not interested in targeting ads.

ºº Targeted Networks: Sometimes called “next generation” networks,

these focus on specific targeting technologies such as behavioral
or contextual targeting by networks. Targeted networks specialize
in using consumer click stream data to enhance the value of the
inventory purchased.

• Social media advertising

Sponsored Tweets,, Facebook ads, Foursquare and other mobile/
social hybrids continue to prove to be effective advertising options in
addition to print. This kind of advertising can be relatively affordable
for most brands. With more than 80 percent of Americans using
social media on a regular basis,there’s no denying the effectiveness of
strategic social media advertising.17

• E-books
For now, electronic books are most beneficial when considering the
e-Reader devices, like the Kindle® or Nook®, used to view books. It’s these
devices that allow “delivery” of electronic versions of print newspapers and
magazines to users. This means many media outlets are now developing
advertising opportunities specific to e-books.

Soon, the opportunity will go beyond these publications to encompass all

e-books. Tech giants have already realized this potential. Google places
ads next to search results in its Google Books archive, which already has
ten million scanned texts. Amazon™ filed a patent for advertisements on
the Kindle™ last year, and Apple® could easily make the leap to in-book
advertising using its iAds™ platform.18

Most of these advertising trends can be easily incorporated into traditional

advertising campaigns for optimal reach and exposure, like social media contests

17 Jeffries, Adrianne. “Advertisements Coming Soon to E-Books.” ReadWriteWeb - Web Apps, Web Technology
Trends, Social Networking and Social Media. 19 Aug. 2010. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.
18 Heffernan, Virginia. “The Rise of Self-Publishing.” The New York Times. 30 Apr. 2010. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.

© 2010 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved

promoted in catalogs or mobile ads that tie to direct mailings.

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Not sure these are right for your business? Conduct test campaigns to see what
works and what doesn’t. The important takeaway after looking at these trends
is to know there are more alternatives to print advertising than ever before.
Businesses that grasp these new opportunities and meld them with a variety of
traditional efforts stand to gain the best from both worlds.

According to the Bowker bibliographic company, 764,448 titles were produced
by self-publishers in 2009, up 181 percent from the previous year. Compare this
figure with the number of books produced by traditional publishers, 288,355,
which fell from 289,729 the year before. In an interesting turn of events, book
publishing is simply becoming self-publishing.19

This translates into expanded opportunity for content creation. The book
publishing industry used to be closed to a select few—a select few with literary
agents, investors and stacks of rejection letters under their belts. Now, the
gatekeepers are the very writers who create the books.

Gino Wickman, a business coach and entrepreneur, did just that.

Wickman felt that by publishing a book and sharing his successful
system for helping companies get what they want from their
businesses, he could increase implementation of his proprietary
Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). Through a book, he
could get his message out to as many people as possible.20

Wickman drafted a manuscript, but after many frustrating

months of shopping the work around and finding no takers, he decided to
explore self-publishing. His book, “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business,”
launched as a hardcover book and then as an e-book a year later. The book has
currently sold more than 10,000 copies strictly through online retailers. And,
Wickman says he has since added more than 200 businesses to his list of clients.21

While e-books are positioned to be serious competition for print books, there
is still significant opportunity for businesses and marketers to leverage print
by using e-books. For example, some businesses are promoting free e-books at
point-of-purchase with small printed cards containing download codes, much

19 “Case Study: From Manuscript to 10,000 Books Sold.” Highspot Inc. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.
20 “Case Study: From Manuscript to 10,000 Books Sold.” Highspot Inc. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.
21 Defren, Todd. “Social Media Release: Evolution.” PR-Squared – Social Media Marketing and Public Relations.
Web. 20 Sept. 2010. <>.

© 2010 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved

like iTunes® partnered with Starbucks® to offer free music downloads. The result

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is a combination of print, online and in-store promotion of a brand and a service
while providing a takeaway for consumers.

Public relations
In 2007, whispers of the next wave of public relations
referenced a thing called the social media press release
(SMPR). This document began as a way for public relations
professionals to reach bloggers and encourage engagement
by allowing once static press releases to include video,
sound, images and dynamic hyperlinks connected to a
business’s social media channels.

The SMPR differs from traditional press releases mainly in the delivery: Distributed
as HTML pages via e-mail, websites and social media instead of phone calls and
faxes. Additionally, the now entirely digital format is easily shared, meaning that
many publicists not only see resulting coverage in print, but online as well.

What’s more, Jason Kintzler with SMPR distributor, PitchEngine, explains, that the
SMPR has evolved beyond the public relations process to encompass search engine
optimization and online visibility.

“It’s now a mobile component to a brand’s storytelling,” says Kintzler. “Unlike a

website or a blog, which is on an island, the SMPR travels around the web leaving
people a window into your brand.”22

For longer than the speculation of the end of the publication era, marketers have
explored e-mail as a new means of direct marketing. Experts indicate that this
field, combined with mobile marketing and advertising, will continue to grow in
use and effectiveness.

Additionally, marketers are seeing bottom lines cut in half with the emergence
of online print vendors. These massive print houses have large quantities of
presses and streamlined processes that allow for larger runs of direct mail pieces,
marketing collateral and more to be printed at a greatly reduced rate when
compared with local vendors.

At a time when budgets are being slashed, the new media opportunities
presented by the shift from print to online offers a means for marketers and

22 “Reinventing Print Media.” Strategy+business. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.


© 2010 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved

communications professionals to keep at their strategies without

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breaking the bank.

Begin your research

As we all know, marketing and communications are never a one-size-fits-all
industry. For every marketer who finds print advertising to be ineffective, there’s
another who will swear by it. Factors like demographics, products, services and
target markets play a large role in whether any channel is successful in the overall
marketing and communications campaign. Take a few moments to consider the
following with your team:
• How does your print spending (in regards to advertising, direct mail,
publishing, etc.) compare this year to last year? Two years? Five years ago?

• What areas are current efforts focused on online or off? What is the
reasoning for this? If it’s not strategic, you’ve found a red flag.

• How do campaign results correlate to changes in spending?

• When was the last time you conducted research that compared
communications channels among your business’s audiences?

The answers to these questions aren’t right or wrong, black or white.

Instead, they should either put any fears of remaining relevant to bed or begin
a larger conversation about changes that need to be made. The changing
media landscape simply illustrates the need for businesses, marketers and other
communications professionals to routinely measure current efforts and reassess
what works and what doesn’t among audiences.

If it’s been a while since the last SWOT analysis of demographics, now is as
good a time as any to reacquaint with the audiences your business is trying to
reach. Then, take these findings and use them to redefine your marketing and
communications goals and overall strategy, tapping in to new tools and channels
to be heard. Pay special attention to trends spurred by the changing print industry
within advertising, book publishing, publicity and marketing to ultimately find
success well into the next era of publishing…in print or otherwise.

More tips for reinventing the print strategy

Print media thought leaders Matthew Egol, Harry Hawkes and Greg Springs, all of
media company Booz, Allen, Hamilton, proposed in a recent “Strategy + Business”
article four strategies that businesses and marketers dealing in print should also
consider in order to remain viable for the new future:23

© 2010 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved

1. Develop deeper relationships with audiences around targeted

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interest areas.
This builds on a strength that has always been at the heart of print and
other communications channels: Strong brands enjoy a trusted relationship
with their audience; readers are loyal to print because they provide
high-quality content about specific interest areas. Digital media afford
opportunities to deepen and extend those relationships.

2. Tap into revenue streams beyond advertising and circulation.

New models should include marketing services such as custom content,
consumer insights, and lead generation, and new offerings for customers
such as premium content and data-based applications.

3. Reinvent the content delivery model (with a particular focus on

lowering costs) and to emphasize a “profitable core” of unique and
brand-defining material.
Media companies need to avoid the formula-driven approaches to cost
cutting that have been prevalent so far, and instead adopt approaches that
better align their cost of content with the revenue.

4. Innovate with new products and pricing models.

As the pace of change continues to quicken in the digital
world, as new devices for accessing printed content
continue to emerge, and as new applications are developed
to exploit online content, this will lead to as-yet-untapped
opportunities for media companies.

Reading between the lines

Print isn’t dead. Neither is publishing. The industry is just
changing. These emboldened calls of death are simply the cries
of professionals who can’t see the bigger picture. After taking stock of your
business’s current situation, you too, may find that the ink is disappearing…but
you may also find that it has re-appeared somewhere else. By integrating new
trends with print and traditional marketing and advertising campaigns, businesses
stand to leverage the best of both worlds.

4imprint serves more than 100,000 businesses with innovative promotional items throughout the United States,
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