I’ll bet that you’ve been faced with this decision while trying to figure out your business’s marketing plan. It can really feel like a “chicken or the egg” question, especially if you’re not totally sure what it means. Traditional is more, well, traditional, so that means it’s good, right? But digital is what everyone’s doing, so maybe that’s better?
The traditional or digital question can really make you tear your hair out. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that stressful. Let’s break it all down.
If you can touch it, it’s probably traditional marketing. These are billboards, posters, magazine ads, in-store displays, newspaper ads and direct mail. It’s also TV commercials, radio ads, spots in movie theaters. If the word “traditional” makes you think it’s the kind of advertising that grandpa used to do, think again. Fancy LED displays, cutting-edge experiential advertising, even some virtual reality simulation displays fall under the umbrella of traditional marketing.
With traditional marketing, you are targeting a wide swath of the public. Put out a good ad and it’s pretty easy to win eyeballs on a billboard or bus station ad on a busy, traffic-addled street— literally all you need to do is be a little more interesting than watching the driver next to me pick his nose. When done spectacularly well, large scale outdoor billboards can build a buzz around a brand and a campaign that’s unmatched by anything else.
Of course, your budget might mean that you have to think small. That’s totally fine too! While a newspaper or magazine ad might not have the pizazz of plastering a city skyscraper, they’re still remarkably effective. When your reader has a magazine or newspaper in hand, they’re actively engaged. The same goes for watching TV or listening to the radio. They’re opting in and usually killing time, whether it’s in a waiting room, in a fancy cafe, sweating it out on a treadmill, or passing a few moments on the porcelain throne.
Several brain studies have shown that having a tangible ad product produces a greater feeling of authenticity, that the product is more real and the campaign more honest, than its digitally ephemeral counterparts. It’s also got a greater longevity– when you think of the world’s great campaigns, “Just Do It,” “Where’s The Beef,” “Think Different,” you’re thinking of traditional marketing.
Digital marketing refers to any kind of marketing using the internet and whatever newfangled thingamajigs the kids are up to these days. If you’re looking at your ad on a computer, tablet, or phone, it’s digital marketing. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Buzzfeed, Youtube, blog posts, all of it’s digital marketing and it comes at you fast. It pays to keep up. Digital marketing definitely coincides with your youngest potential customers and gives you a great opportunity to establish a cool, hip brand.
It also gives you a great change to target your ads to a hyper narrow audience. If you have a product that only appeals to a small market segment, for example, apartment accessories for ferrets, digital marketing is going to help you hone in on that market and, well, ferret them out, so to speak. But if you’ve got a product with mass market appeal, digital marketing’s laser precision accuracy can help you there too. If you’re a furniture business, your campaign for bringing a room together with an heirloom leather sofa is going to be very different than your campaign for creating a nursery for first-time parents. While these are generally pretty wide swaths of the public, at some point or another, digital marketing lets you find your buyers at exactly the life stage you’re looking for so you can create the tenor of your business to fit exactly their needs, right now.
The other benefit of digital marketing is that you’ve got a ton of wiggle room. This is the space where you can try a bold new campaign that’s speaking directly to your target audience. If you’re targeting a tech savvy audience, you can talk nerdy to them. Targeting a budget-conscious group, you can push your money saving strategies. The world is your digital oyster with this kind of marketing and it pays to speak to them in their language. It doesn’t matter if other audiences won’t “get” your ad because, thanks to the targeting of digital marketing, they’ll never see it.
So which should you use? Traditional marketing or digital marketing?
How about option C: all of the above! When you combine both digital and traditional marketing, you’re getting the best of both worlds. You’re getting the authenticity and realness of a tangible advertising strategy mixed with the cool hipness of a digital marketing campaign. When you work with a firm that handles both traditional and digital marketing, you’re getting experts who can help you carefully craft a multi-tiered campaign that excites and invigorates everyone you’re trying to reach. A truly great marketing firm will help guide you in both arenas, merging the authoritative brand voice of traditional with the here-and-now of digital to make your ad dollars count.
Your business is unique and so are your customers. You need a strategy that understands and speaks to your audience. We’re experts in both traditional and digital marketing spaces and we work closely with you to develop a fully comprehensive strategy that’s uniquely perfect for you. There’s no right or wrong answer for developing your marketing plan. It’s all about figuring out the sweet spot that is going to hit exactly the right points to create the total package.
Give us a shout. We’d love to sit down with you and figure out how to bring your brand to life.