Using Inserts in Print Media to Drive Attendance

While reading last week’s issue of Time Out New York, I noticed an advertising insert for the New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF), coming up October 11 – 14, 2012, and want to share some thoughts on inserts in this week’s post.

I have placed attendee acquisition inserts for clients in a wide range of print media as they can be a strong show promotion tactic in the right situations.

When I opened Time Out New York, I turned right to the NYCWFF insert because it was so thick. It was a 32-page “Official Guide” for the event. As marketers, we want our ads to stand out in crowded media environments so this promotional piece was certainly effective against that objective—it caught my attention right away.

A show program insert like this is one way to proceed. In addition to its ability to stand out, it provides an opportunity to promote a lot of info: What’s happening at the event, schedules, etc. It can also include ads for exhibitors or sponsors. All of this content was part of the NYCWFF insert. 

There are various other insert formats that you can use as well. Inserts provide greater creative flexibility than standard ads and more ways to differentiate. To be sure, this comes at a cost. Inserts have a higher CPM than running an ad since you are paying for BOTH space, and the cost of printing.

However, you may find the costs well worth it based on the increased impact i.e. more people noticing your advertising, and potential media efficiencies. For example, certain publications offer more granular targeting opportunities with inserts than with an ad, which enables you to cut waste, and apply more dollars against the target. 

If magazines, trade pubs or newspapers are part of your media mix, consider inserts in your media planning.

Cristopher Levy is managing partner of Encore Media Partners. Encore is an audience strategy, marketing and media buying agency covering traditional, digital and mobile platforms, which specializes in local, national and global trade and consumer shows, exhibitions and conferences. Reach him at