Digital vs Traditional Marketing

In our rush to increase likes, re-tweets, favourites and comments in the digital world, it’s possible to overlook traditional marketing tools.  These remain an effective way to motivate your target audience.

Rather than seeing a tension between ‘traditional marketing’ and ‘digital marketing’, we need shift the focus of the conversation on to how the two types of channels work can work together, and how each can bring the maximum benefit to your campaign or business.

Reframe the Debate

The basic purpose of advertising is to promote a business or a brand to its target audience, as well as to promote products, services or features.  The ultimate goal for every marketer is to attract and convert as many people as possible.  Focusing only on either digital or traditional marketing won’t necessarily generate the best results, instead, it will cover only a portion of your potential audience.

A good way to think about traditional marketing is that it presents a highly effective way to reach a broad audience. Digital marketing, on the other hand, can be used to create a relationship with your audience that has depth and relevance. Marketers should therefore use  wider reach traditional marketing channels to generate broad awareness and drive consumers to the digital experience.

Active vs Passive

Taking advantage of growing digital trends while maintaining a more traditional offline presence is currently the secret to success. Get your strategy right and your traditional print advertising will feed directly in to your digital approach, combining the best in passive (traditional) and active (digital) opportunities.  Coca Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign was one of the earliest and most successful examples of this kind of marketing, combining printed names on bottles with a hashtag and prompting a call to action to share their bottle with the world, generating a huge amount of buzz, including 998 million impressions on Twitter.

On a much smaller scale, a carefully managed print advertising campaign which includes digital signposting and calls to action can extend the value of that ad and get a broader return on investment.  Actions could include visiting your website, following you on social media, or making use of your unique hashtag. Once your customer engages with you online, you can provide them with much more information about your product or campaign, invite them to opt in for future communication, offer a promotion or encourage the type of active engagement found in digital channels.

Direct Mail: Moving Past Email Marketing

Remember how excited Amazon was when it launched the Kindle? Well, overall, eBook readers haven’t been anywhere near as successful as initially thought. In fact, sales are in decline as readers prefer the look, smell and feel of a real book. The importance of tactile experiences in awareness and engagement is a factor you can’t overlook.

Similarly, direct mail is making a real comeback. Whereas for a while people rejected ‘snail mail’, our overflowing inboxes are now leaving us with email fatigue and direct mail scores highly for creativity, personalisation and targeting a particular audience. Direct mail has a greater power to influence readers, with studies showing that brand recall is much higher where direct mail was compared to other marketing methods like email. Faster response rates and greater ease of retrieval mean good old-fashioned direct mail still has a place in twenty-first century marketing strategy.

Flyers and Brochures

Don’t underestimate the power of hand-outs to bring your business new growth opportunities. Whether it’s a flyer with a relatively short shelf life, or a prospectus which could well be sitting on someone’s coffee table for several months or longer, don’t be tempted to avoid the costs of print.  Experiments in loading USB sticks with documents which showcase your enterprise or campaign can quickly end in disaster when your potential customer takes them away and finds them corrupted and unusable.

It’s important to remember that traditional and digital marketing complement rather than oppose one another. Ultimately the aim is to understand your target audience and work out the best ways to get them to understand what you offer and how they can interact with you.


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