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Are the Limitations of Print Limiting Brand Differentiation?

A recent DTC Ad unit stuck with me and poignantly illustrated one of the reasons that DTC advertising via print is going to be marginalized. It won’t happen quickly enough for those of us who focus on the evidence, but it’s still going that way.

Let’s forget for a minute that while Print (magazines + newspapers) makes up just 15% of channel consumption, we spend 32% of our industry dollars in that channel (Source: Forrester Research)—I’ll tackle that one in Part 2 of this blog post. I want to focus on the messages and the ability to quickly differentiate your product when the consumer spends the 2-3 seconds determining whether or not to engage in your ad.

The category that I’m looking at is the ultra-competitive DTC category of diabetes medications. Let me give you the headline and all the sub-heads, which you would expect to have some level of stopping power and differentiation in a crowded category.

  • No Matter How Hard You Try, Your Blood Sugar Numbers Can Still Be Too High
  • Ask Your Doctor if Adding Product X Can Help You
  • May Reduce Spikes After You Eat
  • Important Safety Information

If you’re reading this blog, you’re undoubtedly a steward of the industry. What brand are we talking about here? Have no idea? Well, that’s exactly my point!

Ok, it’s for illustration purposes, but you see where I’m going here—if you can’t communicate the key differentiator for your brand in print, why on earth would you be doing it?

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