The debate about whether digital marketing is surpassing traditional marketing will continue until one method completely overtakes the other. Yes, digital marketing does provide many advantages that traditional marketing cannot. But for one medium to take over the other, that will likely never happen even though many believe that digital marketing has already accomplished that feat. Traditional marketing still exists, but it is changing and it should be used in different ways. Despite the strong trend toward digital and its obvious advantages, there are many things to consider when determining what type of marketing is best for your business.
Benefits of Traditional Marketing
Advertisements in magazines, newspapers, radio ads, billboards, et al. still have some currency and people do take notice of them. Traditional marketing allows you to easily reach a local audience. Mailbox flyers can be sent to a specific zip code or a radio ad might play on a single location. Targeting a group of local consumers can be done easily with traditional marketing.
The printed collateral of traditional marketing can be retained for consumption at a later time, or even read multiple times. By serving the target audience an ad, a hard copy of materials is put in their possession. This requires the user to make a decision--to consume or discard the advertisement. Regardless of what decision is made, the act of giving, receiving, and holding a tangible object is part of human nature. And direct mail marketing can leverage this over its digital counterpart.
Traditional marketing is easy to understand as people have been exposed to this strategy for many years. It is familiar and comfortable. Digital marketing methods, on the other hand, are constantly changing. There is a new approach, tactic, or strategy every few months. The continuous change and unfamiliarity can cause discomfort, and this approach does not sit well with every segment of the population.
But with change comes advancement, greater sophistication, and new ways to market your business. Whether through video, images, infographics, short-worded messages, bots or augmented or virtual reality, keeping up with the changes is difficult but it is important to do, so you are not left behind.
Just like traditional marketing, digital marketing can easily target a local audience, but it also can target an international one, a gender-specific one, one that has a liking toward dogs, or one that has an affinity toward the functions of the nervous system and brain. If you can think it, digital marketing can probably reach it. And instead of sending a single marketing message to each target market, each digital marketing message can be changed and catered to each group.
The audience has more control over how their content is consumed in the digital space. Instead of receiving an unwanted stack of flyers or phone calls soliciting a product or service, digital marketing is often relevant because people are searching for that content in the first place. Additionally, some people enjoy reading blogs, while others like to watch YouTube videos, and still, others like to scroll through Instagram or Social Media. Digital marketing messages are served in these spaces--where people enjoying consuming content.
With the use of Social Media, bots, reviews, and clicks, audience interaction is more prevalent and measurable. Sending a flyer is a one-way conversation -- you create an attractive marketing piece, craft a one-size-fits-all message, select your targeted zip code, drop it in the mail, and hope for the best. With digital marketing, on the other hand, you create an attractive marketing piece, craft multiple messages that connect with different audience segments, select your audience based on a multitude of factors (gender, location, age, interests, etc.), send it out through the selected mediums, and collect data on how the audience interacts with the messages.
A click, comment, page like, impression, online chat conversation, phone call, purchase or a multitude of other actions can all be measured by digital interactions. Traditional marketing methods are restricted to just a few interactions that can be measured, and they are limited at best. Since digital interactions are easily recorded, data is provided and insights can be gained at any time. Whether watching real-time interactions take place, or analyzing a decade’s worth of information, collecting and assessing digital marketing success can be done in just a few clicks.
More Level Playing Field
With a solid digital marketing strategy, any business can compete with any competitor, regardless of size. A well-thought website with a smooth customer journey and solid customer service will allow a small business to make a large digital footprint. Yes, the large, multinational corporations can spend more and do more, but if they lack rudimentary digital prowess, it is small businesses that can step in and take advantage.
Digital and Traditional Marketing: What is best for your business?
There are plenty of advantages of converting to digital marketing. Magazines and newspapers all post their content online and pretty much everything else (shopping, banking, bill paying, etc.) can be done there as well. With our lives becoming more digital, marketing must make the same shift.
Traditional marketing methods need to support digital marketing efforts. The two should not operate in exclusion from each other and a local strategy should be integrated with a digital one. Reach your target audience digitally, then strengthen the relationship with hard copy materials. Handing out a brochure is more valuable to someone who is interested in your products or services, than to someone who has zero interest. Leverage the unique benefits of traditional marketing with the convenience and accessibility of digital to perform the best.
If you are unsure of how to separate your traditional and digital marketing, get in touch and let us provide you a free digital marketing audit. We can assess what is right and what is wrong, offer improvements and help your business be successful online.