Want to show you’re a bargain? Try a print ad.

Okay, this headline is probably a gross simplification, but there might be something to it.  Last week some of my colleagues were in attendance at the Stamats Integrated Marketing: Adult Student Marketing Conference and while all of the content looked great, one session in particular grabbed my attention: “Marketing ROI Tool Talk” lead by Chuck Reed, Vice President, Client Services, Stamats.   Here’s a brief description of the session:

In today’s budget-conscious times, we’re asked more than ever to prove the investment in marketing is the right one. But how can you measure the impact of an ad? A billboard? A recruitment campaign? And, most importantly, do it while doing the gazillion other things in your job description? We’ll explore key issues in measuring marketing return on investment (mROI), including the importance of measuring mROI for yourself and your institution, how to decide what to track, and the pros and cons of different methods of measurement. Plus, we’ll get your peers to share their insights.  All in all, a nice investment in your time.

My understanding is that the session sparked some pretty interesting conversation (at least among my colleagues), particularly with respect to measuring ROI on traditional media.  In a day and age where measurement is so easy on interactive advertising channels is it even worth considering traditional media?  How can billboards and print ads still be relevant?  As with all things, it depends.  

Specifically, it depends largely on your audience and who you’re trying to attract.  For example, if you’re looking to position your institution as a “bargain” over the local competition, you may want to consider a more traditional approach as a recent Harris Interactive poll finds.  

Age plays a big role, older consumers tend to favor older forms of media.  However, the poll also finds that level of education plays a significant role in influencing bargain seekers’ opinions.  

According to MarketingCharts,”Education also plays a role in the type of media to which consumers gravitate when seeking bargains: One-fourth of those with a high-school education or less (25%) say newspaper and magazine ads are more likely to help them find a bargain compared with 20% of those with at least a college degree. Three in 10 of those with at least a college degree (29%) believe online advertisements are more likely to help them find a bargain compared with 12% of those with a high school education or less who say the same.”

What’s the point?  You have to take into consideration the preferences of the audience you’re looking to attract and reach out to them where they’re most comfortable.  If your audience happens to be adult learners with a high school education who are looking for a bargain, it might be worth it to carve out some ad budget for traditional media. Looking to attract a younger audience?  Place your bets online.