Publisher Letter: Tell Me a Story

Bob Hunt, Publisher Idaho Senior Independent

By BOB HUNT, Publisher

Last week I met with some advertising clients who told me we provided them the best results from all of their advertising print choices they had invested in last year.

They shared a funny story about how their crew of employees from last summer were blown away by the number of gray-haired folks visiting their business.

When they’d asked many of those silver-heads how they learned about the business, they were told it was from an ad in Montana Senior News.

Hearing that feedback made my day.

This comes as no surprise to me; however, convincing new advertisers this publication works as a marketing channel is challenging.

Across the country marketing decision-makers seem younger and more focused on digital advertising. We offer that option, too, but convincing a young, fresh marketing graduate of the value in newspaper print ads falls on deaf ears.

They get that look of a Labrador tilting its head, which is funny, because print is getting better results now than ever before.

According to a recent News Media Alliance report, 82 percent of news media consumers trust print ads over digital. And 75 percent of people can recall a brand after seeing a print ad, versus 44 percent recalling a brand after seeing an ad online. People are also much more likely to immediately respond to a print ad than they would digital.

Our papers reach statewide in Idaho and Montana, and the audience we serve still reads. Many readers do not have or want computers, and many only have smart phones because their carriers force them buy the latest “g.”

Don’t get me wrong. I find new technology helpful. But shunning print is not the answer to reaching this vital 50+ demographic. Think, too, about how LP records are making a comeback in this age of digital music.

Our younger generations see the value in reading the record jacket, knowing the lyrics, and choosing to play an entire album—an experience you don’t get from picking individual tunes from the cloud.

My guess for the New Year is that we will see more nostalgic standards come back. I’m not talking eight tracks, but I believe we will see additional growth in some of the traditional products and services we grew up with, especially in Idaho and Montana.

If you see this happening, drop me a note, and tell the story. Let me share it with this audience. If you have a fun story about how it used to be and how it’s valued today, tell us.

It doesn’t just have to be about products, either. Tell us about character and kindness, which should never go out of style, but may appear to be lacking in today’s digital culture.

On a side note, we are thankful for all of our readers and advertisers. Our incredibly talented staff won another bunch of awards from The North American Mature Publishers Association this year—Best of Show for the third year in a row, judged by the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

We wish you a very healthy and happy New Year, and hope to continue the upward trend in print advertising in 2023. That would be a great story for our local businesses to share!

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