Though there will be plenty of people who may disagree, the answer to your question is a resounding no! I’m assuming that your question is in reference to print magazines. Print magazines are still a very viable way for a business to promote its services and to reach its targeted demographic. With that said, however, the business that desires to place an ad in a print magazine should, as a prerequisite, possess the following two things: 1) have a solid consumer profile of the business’ consumer base and 2) have a media kit of the magazine in which the ad will be placed. I have answered a question similar to this one previously. The question was: “Where is the best location to place an ad in a newspaper?” Since there is considerable overlap, I will just post my response again.
Well the short answer is, it depends on what you are trying to sell! Newspapers, like magazines, have various sections, departments and columns that appear in each issue of the paper. They are usually static. By this I mean they appear in the same place (page location) in each issue of the newspaper. Many advertisers often request “special placement” when reserving an ad space. Special placement is when an advertiser requests to be next to or near a particular section, department, or column in a newspaper.
For example, let’s say that one newspaper section is called “Computer World.” As its name implies, this section does product reviews on the latest home and laptop computers. This section may fall under the department “Inside Tech,” which looks at all things related to technology of which home and laptop computers are a subset. Lastly, there may be a column called “Tech Reviews,” in which the columnist provides reviews on various technological gadgets on the market. Now, let’s say that you are trying to sell computer flash drives and external hard drives. Your first step, of course, will be to determine your consumer demographic. It is your responsibility to obtain as much information as possible in regard to your consumers as this will ultimately determine the type of newspapers you should target with your ad. Once you have obtained specific metrics; i.e gender, age, race/ethnicity, individual income, household income, educational attainment, geographic region, etc. to develop a very specific consumer profile, you can then contact newspapers whose circulations coincide with the demographic profile and geographic region of your consumers.
You will want to contact these newspapers to request a media kit. Most newspapers and magazines have online media kits in PDF that can easily be downloaded from their websites. It will be incumbent upon you to analyze the various newspaper media kits in order to ascertain which ones make the best media buy. Essentially, you want to see evidence that the demographics of the newspaper’s readers overlap with your consumer base. If there is a good match then this newspaper(s) will provide you with the best ROI (Return on Investment) and that is what advertising is all about.
So, since you sell computer flash drives, you will want to make sure that your ad is in the part of the newspaper where people who may be interested in your product will see it. This is where special placement comes into play. Essentially, you will submit a request to the newspaper to have your ad next to one of the sections, departments or columns that deal with computers or technology. Thus, you may want to request an ad placement next to the section Computer World, since this section deals specifically with home and laptop computers. Special placement increases the probability that the newspaper’s readers who are interested in all things computers will most likely see and/or take an interest in your ad. Requesting special placement usually incurs an additional charge that will vary depending upon the size of the ad, word count, and the particular section and/or department; especially as it relates to the location of the section and/or department in the newspaper.