The printed then and the digital now

Peter Cura

by Peter Cura

In this post we take a quick look at some of the ways that marketing and advertising have changed over the years. In the not so distant past, about 10 to 15 years ago, the majority of marketing material was made for print, although the big budgets were still reserved for TV spots. There were some very good aspects to working with print: deadlines were fixed and decisions were definite – once your headline was on the printing machine, it really could not be changed. Then again, with digital, if it turns out that customers don’t respond to your headline, you can change it with just a couple of clicks.


Many ways to reach a customer

So what else has changed since the glory days of print ads, brochures, direct mailers and billboards? The most obvious answer is the technology available and the huge customer-reach offered by the internet. We’ll confess that at Luxus we’re slightly obsessed with the latest technologies and gadgets. From smart watches to micro-drones, from homebrew apps to DIY Bluetooth NFC Kung Fu fighting hamsters (yes, really), we’ve pretty much had a look at everything. And it’s the same with marketing technology. We keep our eyes open for new things and, if needed, we build them ourselves, for example, Drafthorse. But while gadgets are fun to play with, marketing technology has a definite purpose: marketing. At Luxus we do digital marketing. This is marketing through digital channels.

Likewise with copywriting, its purpose is to sell things. In the days of print advertising, the aim was to deliver a unified sales message across all channels. These days, digital messaging is often much more fragmented, with different messages appearing in different channels, varying from search ads to Social Media to dynamic creative advertising (yes, we work with dynamic creative ads, too). But no matter how uber-geeky the technology, it’s still all about selling products and services. And if you take the trouble to remember that, it doesn’t matter whether you deliver your message by carrier pigeon or Bluetooth NFC hamster.

"The time has come when advertising has in some hands reached the status of a science."

Claude C. Hopkins

Finding the stuff that works

Now, some of you will be thinking that clicks are all that matter or that fragmented messaging is compensated for by the increased customer interaction that they give your brand. But truth be told, your opinions don’t matter. And that’s because modern marketing technology gives us the ability to test what actually works. In fact, when it comes to assessing customer impact, “Almost any questions can be answered, cheaply, quickly and finally, by a test campaign. And that's the way to answer them – not by arguments around a table. Go to the court of last resort – the buyers of your product.” Now here’s the funny part: that line was written by Claude C. Hopkins in 1923, in his book Scientific Advertising.

While digital marketing technology does let you track ads, optimise leads, and manage campaigns, marketers have been doing this in one way or another for more than 90 years. Back in the days of print only, before television or the internet, they could still track and assess the ROI of their work. They’d tally up how many sales each direct mail generated, how many people wrote to the addresses in their ads, and how many people called the number on their billboards. Then they would modify their approach according to what worked best. And that’s really what we’re interested in at Luxus – the good stuff, the stuff that works. And because we do digital marketing, we like the digital stuff that works.