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Traditional Marketing: Can Digital Marketing Replace It?

The debate is never-ending.

Is traditional marketing obsolete? Can digital marketing be the only way you can reach out to your customers?

The answer in short? No and no.

Traditional marketing is alive and has, in many ways, partnered up with digital marketing.

Traditional marketing is still a viable way to advertise your business. There are effective forms of traditional marketing relevant to customers who consume information through digital formats.

The way you incorporate it in your marketing strategy depends on what you sell and who your customer is.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start with the basics.

What is Traditional Marketing?

Traditional marketing is marketing a product or service offline (without the aid of the internet).

This was the main form of advertising until the 1990s when the internet came into the picture. Traditional marketing is still popular with marketers and helps reach a local audience.

Traditional marketing is done through various channels such as:

  • Print Marketing (Newspapers And Magazines)
  • Billboard Advertising
  • Broadcast Marketing (Television And Radio)
  • Direct Mail Marketing 
  • Telephone Marketing

Through traditional marketing methods, you can meet consumers where they are. 

Picture these scenarios:

Your potential customer reads your billboard ads while driving down the road. 

They see your commercials while watching cable TV at home.

They get a brochure with your latest offers in their mailbox. 

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73% of consumers in America prefer being contacted by direct mail because they can read it whenever they want.

Direct mail has a long shelf life of 17 days compared to email. That is because when something is physically present in your home, you tend to pay attention to it over a longer period.

These stats make direct mail and other traditional marketing strategies tempting for marketers. But will that be enough in a generation where information is accessible at your fingertips?

The trick is to decide which segments of consumers prefer print media over digital. 

Ask yourself:

Who among your audience is most likely to respond to an ad in their mailbox?

Who is more likely to see the billboards and hear the radio ads?

If your target audience is baby boomers, then you’ll want to continue to utilize these traditional forms of marketing.

A study found that for every dollar advertisers invested in traditional forms of marketing, they received back between four to six dollars in profit.

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Although this is overshadowed by digital marketing methods, it proves that traditional advertising is still alive.

It all boils down to who your audience is.

 Advantages of Traditional Marketing:

  • Quicker results. Depending on the location and target audience, results are immediate when compared to digital ads.
  • Builds trust. Brick and mortar stores are more likely to stick around rather than an eCommerce website. People trust what they can physically experience.
  • Reach a local audience more effectively.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is online marketing.

We live in a digital world. Everything from the groceries we buy to the businesses we build is done online these days.

Digital marketing is highly effective especially if you are reaching out to a younger, more internet-savvy audience.

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Digital marketing involves implementing the following strategies in your marketing:

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Brand Awareness
  • Sponsored Content
  • Email Marketing
  • Pay Per Click Advertising
  • Paid Search Advertising

Digital marketing helps you reach a global audience. It allows you to target your audience using data analytics. This increases your return on investment.

More than half of the world is online! Any company not using digital marketing as a part of its marketing strategy is missing out on a huge chunk of business.

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Advantages of Digital Marketing:

  • Higher ROI. There are free advertising methods that can help a small business get its brand out on the internet and extend the reach.
  • Content-rich environment. A company can offer extensive educational information on their website that draws consumers in and builds loyalty.
  • Analyze customer data. Data metrics are available for advertisers to analyze and personalize their ads for the target consumer.
  • Reach a global audience directly.

Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing: Do You Choose One Or Combine The Two?

Now comes the all-important question: what marketing strategies do you choose for your business?

Like I said earlier, it depends on the audience you are targeting.

You may have various segments in your audience that prefer different sources of information. Study your audience closely and determine which forms of marketing would work well for you.

To understand how defining a target audience can help you determine your marketing channels, let’s look at an example.

Here’s an example target audience for a Bookkeeping SaaS Solution:

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As you can see in the image, the preferred channels for this target audience are a mix of both traditional and digital marketing strategies.

The first is email (digital marketing), and then telephone marketing (traditional marketing) after the first contact.

While digital marketing is continuing to escalate in popularity and relevance, traditional marketing is still a profitable way to advertise.

Traditional marketing techniques can be combined with digital marketing to boost your sales. Companies that combine their traditional and digital marketing to form hybrid strategies will be very successful in reaching their target audiences.

Utilizing hybrid marketing strategies allows companies to take advantage of digital marketing tools such as

  • Data collection
  • Targeted advertising
  • Purchasing preferences
  • Viewing preferences

So, How Do You Combine Traditional And Digital Marketing?

Most consumers today will head directly to the internet to get information on what they want to buy. 

But they may prefer a face to face interaction for service or to examine the product in person.

The ultimate goal of every advertiser is to fulfill the four Ps of marketing:

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  • Product – What you offer your customers. 
  • Price – How much your customer is willing to pay for the item.
  • Place –Where you get your product in front of the customer. It doesn’t have to be a physical location, it is a passive marketing strategy.
  • Promotion – Active communication between you and your customers through ads and other marketing methods.

Advertisers are competing with multiple outlets and devices for a customer’s attention. 

You must put the customer’s needs at the core of your advertising campaigns to get the highest ROI.

Both traditional marketing and digital marketing have strong strategies that can be used to target their intended audience. 

By blending these strategies, you can get the best of both worlds.

1. Use Digital Data in Your Traditional Marketing Strategy

Traditional marketing is still relevant because consumers are used to receiving advertising by traditional means like direct mail and billboards.

Television

By 2022, the daily time spent watching TV is set to decrease to 2.26 hours. Although this downward trend is sure to continue in the next few years, it doesn’t mean that broadcasting channels like television are on the decline.

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People still do watch television. But with the increase in streaming platforms like NetFlix and Hulu, people are spending more screen time on their phones and laptops instead of the TV.

Television can be interlinked with digital marketing methods in these ways:

  • Study the viewing preferences of people who use streaming services
  • Instill curiosity through television commercials

 When a viewer finds something interesting, they are sure to look for more information online (for example, via Google) through their mobile devices that are most likely in their hands.

Magazines

Another way traditional marketing can take advantage of digital data is through magazine advertising. 

Although print magazine revenue seems to be declining, there are some magazines whose readership has increased dramatically.

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These traditionally print magazines have maintained an internet presence and have produced high-quality content consistently in both mediums.

Though print readership is down overall, magazines that have stayed relevant by providing content across multiple platforms continue to influence readers in both print and digital forms.

Find out which magazines your target audience reads and try to get content published on both the print and online channels.

Word Of Mouth/ Online Reviews

One of the most powerful forms of advertising is through word of mouth. 

This is true for both traditional and digital marketing. People will be more likely to purchase an item because a trusted source recommended it to them.

This manifests in digital marketing through a trend called research online, buy offline.

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Traditional retailers who recognize that their consumers are shifting online and maintain a healthy online presence can thrive in both environments.

2. Use Experiential Marketing in Your Marketing Strategy

Nothing beats the power of experience.

It’s the difference between dining at a five-star restaurant and ordering food at home in your PJs.

The music, the people, the ambiance, the service – you don’t get that while eating takeout at home.

Experiential marketing is offering your customers a personalized experience and meaningful interactions before they even buy your products.

It allows your potential customers to actively engage with your brand and its values.

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Here are some more ways you can do experiential marketing. They involve a mixture of traditional marketing and digital marketing:

  • Provide samples of your product
  • Give a demonstration of your product
  • Let the customer experience your product by engaging their five physical senses
  • Provide educational content on your website in the form of blog posts or videos
  • Engage with your customers on social media
  • Sponsor a charity event or fundraiser
  • Utilize popular trends on social media to bring awareness to your product
  • Turn your product into a video game experience. Gamifying your product means that you add a point-scoring system or a competition to get consumers to engage with you.

Here’s a great illustration of how powerful experiential marketing is:

Building brand awareness for your customer is important because it builds loyalty. 

Customers will return to your website or store time after time because they trust what you have to deliver.

3. Use Sponsored Content in Your Marketing Strategy

Provide sponsored content by print and digital means in your marketing strategies. This can help you connect with your target audience.

When you sponsor content, you are paying a publisher or social influencer to create and host your content.

The Advantages Of Providing Sponsored Content:

  • Increases your credibility because the user trusts the influencer.
  • It enhances the users’ experience instead of intruding on it.
  • It’s mutually beneficial for the influencer as well as the advertiser.

Here are some ways to use sponsored content in your traditional marketing:

  • Sponsor a live event alongside other brands. The marketing is already taken care of by the promoters of the event.
  • Sponsor a sports team or social club. This helps to promote your brand.
  • Sponsor content in a print publication.

Here’s how you can apply sponsored content to your digital marketing:

  • Sponsor a Youtube video. There are YouTube channels that attract thousands and millions of subscribers. And they heavily depend on sponsors to maintain their channel.
  • Provide an educational or informative written article for a publisher to host on their website. Providing content that helps the consumer gives the website host helpful information to offer their users. It also exposes your brand to the audience.
  • Provide sponsored content in the form of videos or photos for the publisher to host on their social media site.

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A study showed that:

  • Three out of four people used sponsored content on social media.
  • Providing paid social content was the top method used by advertisers to get their brand known.
  • A third of the responders also used social content on websites other than their own. Meaning they accessed other publishers’ social content outside of their own published website.

Consumers are more likely to click on paid social content that feels like a natural part of their experience.

They are more likely to ignore banner ads that feel intrusive and disrupt their flow. 

Sponsored content is an excellent advertising method that works in both traditional and digital settings.

Digital Marketing Can’t Replace Traditional Marketing

Despite the enormous growth that digital marketing has seen in the last few years, it won’t be taking over traditional marketing any time soon. 

Traditional marketing methods are still viable and can have a huge impact on your consumer.

Mix up strategies from both traditional marketing and digital marketing to find that sweet spot that can skyrocket your sales.

It is up to you to figure out what holds the attention of your audience and cater to that.

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Tracy Jackson

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