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Old 11-16-2011, 11:31 AM
KNAdmin's Avatar
KNAdmin KNAdmin is offline
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Are there any more magazines that we need to add to the list, before I create the poll?

I'll leave it open until tomorrow (Thurs 11/17/2011 at 12pm EST). After that, I'll use what we have.

Thank you!!!

1) Knives Illustrated
2) Blade Magazine
3) Tactical Knives
4) American Handgunner
5) Shotgun News
6) Guns
7) Cop Magazine
8) Knife World
9) Knives Annual
10) American Bladesmith Journal
11) Man At Arms

Alex Whetsell

Atlanta NOC
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:34 PM
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KNAdmin KNAdmin is offline
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I've been chomping at the bit to wade back into this thread. But I wanted to give it a couple of days to see if we could get any more opinions cast into the mix.

Like most custom makers, I have a very limited ad budget and feel that there are other avenues that will give me "more bang for the buck".
I think most professional makers are thinking along these same lines. Let's get some input here...

#1) How do you guys determine your advertisement budget?
#2) What do you consider "Bang for the buck"?

Ed came in and exposed one of the great myths earlier... "That the common magazines are being mostly read by general enthusiasts." Regardless of whether you believe their published statistics or not, you'll note that 90% (rough estimate) of all of the articles in them are written for makers. The other articles are the obligatory production knife (look what we just introduced) written infomercials. Yes, they look like general interest articles, but they are written for those that advertise with them.

He said...
Statistically, over 75% of the subscribers to knife magazines are knifemakers, which is why I believe it to be a less successful media for knifemakers who advertise. Knifemaking Suppliers, photographers, and other related vocations will often find much higher success rates by advertising, simply because 75%+ of the readers are seeking the goods/services those entities offer.
And I would add, as an experienced advertiser, that even those ads are growing less and less effective now, if you consider that the magazines are experiencing negative net gains in new audience each edition; therefore the cost per 1000 perpetually increases, and/or the net effective exposures decrease. Either way, it's bad for the "print advertising" ROI argument all the way around.

In edition to the businesses that I directly own, we also do layouts and have given advice on ad campaigns for a couple of the larger production knife companies and many of their dealers. In these cases, I "would" marginally recommend print advertising as part of their strategy, as their target audience is a mix of users, makers, designers, resellers and suppliers. We're going to talk about those guys later.

In fact, I have a lot to say to aspiring makers that want to break into the so called "Big Time" with their knife making career. Yes, the "Big Time" exists; and some guys are getting fairly rich (and pretty famous) from it. But it's not what you think it is!

Let's give the poll until Friday. By then, we should have enough input to get a decent look at the trends.

Alex Whetsell

Atlanta NOC
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:18 PM
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KNAdmin KNAdmin is offline
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The next time that I create a poll, remind me to put it in the general area. Only users of a more advanced level (x posts, x time on site, etc.) are able to see this forum. So our numbers on this poll are below the statistical baseline that I would consider valid, were this something that I was advising you on regarding someone's advertising budget expenditures and the like. However, I can see some basic data that will support my experience.

Let's get busy... (figuring out what we need to know about advertising a custom knife business in the traditional publications).

General concepts/conclusions:

1) 75% of traditional knife magazine readers are Knife Makers (this includes full and part-time). Only 25% are non-makers.

The above is supported by the major magazine's own statistical data. I assume that this will change from publication to publication, depending on content focus, Blade vrs Tactical Knives, for instance (Knives Annual is not an advertising vehicle). But let's round our number for this statistical pool to 50% makers/50% others, for the sake of conservative understanding of who the average knife industry publication?s reading audience is.

2) If an average knife publication advertisement is $100 dollars cost (it?s closer to $300), and you?re trying to reach collectors and enthusiasts (ie, the target custom knife buyer), then only 50% of your ad dollar is effective. If you consider that a percentage of the remaining 50% (really much less) target audience contains non-buyers (such as barber shop readers, etc.), then you?re ad dollar is further diluted by the loss of qualifying audience in the remaining number.

There is so much more to be discovered here, and we?ll run many new polls to expose it, but I only want to deal with what we know already, or can easily derive conclusions on, relating to the initial thread questions (are print magazine ads worth the money any more). Namely, that a custom knife maker, who is advertising to sell knives, is spending $1 in real earnings for .25 to .50 cents in potential. No matter how you slice it, this is a sure way to waste a lot of money, or to put it at great risk, at minimum. I could make an argument that the real target audience within these monthly markets is more like 0-3% of viewers. (remember, we?re only considering one ad placement, not an annual campaign.)

What?s the net conclusion?
--- we?re talking single ad placement vs. custom knife sales ROI

This is supposed to be an ongoing discussion, not an ?listen to me? speech. I?m going to open a new thread or two to deal with some new topics that we?re interested in, but let?s work this current problem together over time and I?ll promise you, you?re going to learn something grand about how to effectively spend your advertising time/money to create real custom knife sales.

Before we go any further?

Can you find any holes in my logic or conclusions thus far? If so, what are they?

Alex Whetsell

Atlanta NOC
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Old 12-02-2011, 04:37 PM
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Gary Mulkey Gary Mulkey is offline
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It's been too many years since my college courses in advertising to be able to quote statistics about how many times you must be exposed to an ad for it to be effective but I do believe that a single ad rarely promotes much in the way of additional sales no matter who the viewing public may be. To equate that to this thread, I think that you must look at the cost of running multiple ads when even considering any type of printed ads.

Just another thought.


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Old 03-11-2017, 10:44 AM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
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Great read! I cant believe I missed it five and a half years ago--I think I was hip-deep in building my boat back then.

So, better than half a decade into the expanding digital future, what has changed?

I only ask because I recently had Coop shoot a knife for me--my first professionally photographed piece. Now I wonder if I need to buy some advertising if I hope to make it into print--which is one of many goals.

Andy Garrett
Charter Member - Kansas Custom Knifemaker's Association

"Drawing your knife from its sheath and using it in the presence of others should be an event complete with oos, ahhs, and questions."
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:03 AM
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Ed Caffrey Ed Caffrey is offline
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After seeing this thread, I remembered it..... but never replied to it. Personally, I think advertising in knife magazines is a big waste of money. I've done it a number of times, and NEVER recovered the cost of the advertising via sales from the particular advertising. Considering the cost is several hundred dollars PER ISSUE, often times with a 4-6 issue minimum......

When you consider avenues such as Facebook and Instagram, and even websites and online forums are generally free, the returns from those types of advertising are far more logical.

"Nobody cares what you know.....until they know you care."
See me at table 2Q at the Blade Show!
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Old 03-13-2017, 09:58 AM
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Don Robinson Don Robinson is offline
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I subscribed to several knife magazines for years, but I stopped a few years ago. Seemed like all they contained was ads.
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