How to Create Print Ads that Get Results

Last week, FEI marketing whiz Marka concluded her discussion on SEO best practices. This week, Marka gives Zoot and Numo some tips on creating effective print ads. Remember, fire = print.

Zoot sat at his desk, ready to dive into a foot-long feta gyro. He grabbed the latest issue of Fire Buyer’s Weekly to read while eating. After flipping a few pages, a full-page ad stopped him cold. The ad featured a scowling…Fred Flintstone. Flintstone’s self-named company was one of FEI’s main competitors.

“Good Zeus,” Zoot muttered. “Marka!”

Marka happened to be passing by Zoot’s desk with her own lunch, an olive salad. “What’s up? You look annoyed.”

“I am,” Zoot said. “Look at this. Why does Flintstone have an ad in the fire industry’s most widely-read publication, and we don’t? Let’s get an ad out—now!”

“Hold on, Zoot,” Marka replied. “A targeted print ad can be an effective way to generate leads. But let’s think more about what we want to accomplish here—and no, ‘one-upping Flintstone’ is not an acceptable answer.”

Zoot rolled his eyes. “Well, let’s hear what you have to say.”

Marka started scribbling on the whiteboard next to Zoot’s desk.

Tip #1 for Excellent Print Ads – Set a clear, specific goal for the ad.

“Are we looking to promote a new service?” Marka asked. “Drive new users to an existing one? Increase general market awareness of FEI?”

“We’ve been around awhile, so I doubt we need help generating awareness of our company in Fire Buyer’s Weekly,” Zoot said.

“But we might need help generating awareness of a new product—our matches,” Marka suggested. “We’ve been the torches company for 40 years, and this is how the marketplace perceives us. Shaking this view, and showing prospects we’re more than just ‘the torch people’ takes an aggressive marketing approach. A print ad could be one component of this strategy.”

“Then, our ad’s goal should be ‘to generate more in profits from new match sales than the cost of the ad,’” Zoot remarked.

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or
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  • Linda

    Good ideas – thanks to Zoot, Marka and Numo for making it so clear!