Questions to ask before investing in print ads:
1 - What is the average ROI?
2 - Show me 2 references of companies similar to mine.
I spoke to about 60 companies last year that were trying to sell this type of advertising to me - only 2 of them could provide this type of information. Why would you buy from a company that can not produce some type of documentation and proof that their product works. I understand it is impossible to guarantee that you will receive any portion of coupons back or that customers will even tell you they saw your ad - that is why you have to ask to find out what will work best for your business.
My recommendation is to determine what type of advertising will work best for you....
1 - Ask your current customers (every single person that buys from you) how they heard about you? Be diligent and offer your employees small incentives to collect emails, phone numbers, and how they heard data.
2 - Look through a newspaper, magazine, then look on the internet and find out what your competitors are doing to advertise. You will find more info on the net in most cases.
3 - Be objective - ask yourself how you shop and how you find out about new places to go, deals and etc... Write it down and ask you employees, families and friend to do the same.
If you live in a big city - metroplex type area - I would venture to say that the internet plays a big role??? But the predominant form of SUCCESSFUL advertising is going to be "Word of mouth".
Using Social Media (facebook, twitter, myspace and etc), free event calendars for the cities and communities in which you operate, and guidelive type website offer the biggest return and 99% of them are free to use. So my advice as always is spend 30% of time researching, $50% of time building and planning, and 20% of time executing.
I do not claim to know everything, but this is a definite lesson (expensive) that I have learned over the past 18 months...
BEST OF LUCK!!!!!! I truly hope this helps someone else - I wish someone would have told me.