So, you’re on a diet, you’re counting calories. You go to the fridge for a snack, and there’s only two things in there. An apple, and a Mars Bar. Now you’ve heard plenty of good things about apples, but you don’t know how many calories exactly are in it, it’s not written on the side, whereas the Mars bar tells you exactly how many calories it has in it. Better choose the Mars Bar then, it’s more measurable.

Sounds ridiculous of course, but this seems to be exactly the mistake some marketers are making.

The great thing about a lot of online marketing is that is it very measurable – you can see exactly how many clicks a banner ad gets for example. The problem with print is it can be much harder to measure.

This doesn’t mean that print is always the apple and online always the Mars Bar, of course there are plenty of brilliant and powerful digital marketing options.

But reflexively choosing an option purely for its measurability, not its overall quality, is akin to choosing the Mars Bar.

Of course you want a return on investment, and you want to measure that as best you can. A quality trade magazine, with an audited circulation that matches your targets, offers some level of measurement –  it’s not as precise as getting an exact number of clicks, but like the apple, you’re on safe ground.

Equally, a magazine that does not have its circulation audited by the AAMA, or BPA, or equivalent in your country should be avoided at all costs. That would be like eating the mysterious brown mouldy thing at the back of the fridge – you really don’t know what you’re getting and you sure as heck shouldn’t be expected to pay for it.

So take advantage of the tools and measurement options available for whatever marketing you do, but don’t be blinded by the myth of measurability, and don’t favour precision over quality.