Traditional vs. Digital Marketing: Or a combined approach?

With the growth in digital marketing, you may be wondering if traditional marketing is still relevant. The truth is that it really depends on your target audience and the purpose of your campaign.

digital marketing vs traditional marketing

Traditional marketing comprises all of the offline options i.e. those that are not delivered via the internet, such as print, billboards, leafleting, TV and radio advertising. The lead-times tend to be longer and the cost of offline marketing is often higher than digital. Effectiveness of these types of communications can be difficult to measure, especially if there is no call-to-action. However, print media is an essential ingredient in building brand identity. If you’re selling designer goods, for example, a quality, glossy brochure with strong images are tangible and will play an important role in your brand’s positioning too.

Digital marketing includes all online activities such as websites, social media, SEO, PPC and blogging. With comparatively short lead-times, digital marketing enables businesses to respond quickly to changing market conditions, announce new products or services, in addition to offers and incentives. Cost-effective, interactive and adaptable, digital marketing is increasingly measurable, showing real value and returns.

Do both options deliver?

In many ways, traditional marketing is still very effective when used correctly. For example, say you’re running a campaign to increase traffic to your website and your overall brand awareness. Using a traditional marketing tactic like a local print or radio ad can help generate that brand awareness as well as driving people to visit your website and buy your product or service.

Similarly, digital platforms can drive footfall into your store or premises. A free Google My Business listing helps local audiences to find you as well as those from further afield via Google Maps. 

Is digital marketing replacing traditional?

Can traditional approaches to marketing really withstand the digital revolution?

When every penny of your marketing budget counts, knowing where to invest is key. But traditional marketing and digital marketing should not be seen as an either/or situation. They’re not adversaries and when both are integrated into the marketing mix and work in unison, businesses can maximise their ROI.

Today’s potential customers are better informed

These days, there’s a multitude of resources available to potential customers and they’ll often do research before getting in touch. The growth of online content has given them more power. They’re no longer passive when it comes to learning about products. Instead of waiting for you to tell them how great your products are, they’re checking things out themselves.

Two-thirds of us use more than one channel to make purchasing decisions. With all the online and offline opportunities to make an impression, consistency across all channels and touch points is more important than ever.

Your customer’s journey

Before making decisions on which marketing avenues are right for your business, it’s worth reviewing what collateral you already have in place.

Imagine your target customer’s exposure to your brand, from initial awareness through to point-of-purchase and beyond. Think of all the places along this journey where your brand has a presence. Each one is a building block for your brand’s identity.

Traditional  Marketing

  • Press Ads
  • Brochures & leaflets
  • Direct Mail
  • Outdoor
  • Radio & TV
  • Cinema
  • Telemarketing
  • Events/exhibitions

Digital Marketing

  • Website
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Social Media
  • Pay per Click
  • E-shots
  • Banner Ads
  • Google my Business Listings & Posts

Remember your premises too. Whether they’re retail, trade or offices, some or all of the following touch points also apply.

  • Signage
  • Window display
  • Reception
  • Sales counter
  • Workwear
  • Merchandising
  • Point-of-Sale
  • Packaging

Don’t forget to review

Gathering and reviewing all of this marketing collateral is a valuable exercise. Take a careful look – is it all complimentary, are there any inconsistencies or gaps? In a nutshell, your brand is your most valuable asset. We all have brand preferences. Firm favourites we use often, others we’re following and may well try out next time, and those, for whatever reason, we dislike, or mistrust.

Successful brands connect. They have personality, inspire confidence, and are easy to recall. They’re distinctive, making good use of engaging, clear, consistent communication.

Inconsistent branding endangers that relationship. For a customer, it’s confusing and careless. After all, if the brand doesn’t care, why should its customers? Damaging your brand’s reputation can have a negative effect on not only your brand, but your bottom line too.

Consistency throughout your marketing helps to build that “know, like and trust” with your audience. If your efforts are haphazard then you’re probably not going to achieve this effectively.

John Lewis’ Never Knowingly Undersold (NKU) pricing promise has served them well for almost 100 years and played an integral role in driving loyalty and lifelong customers. As a consumer, if ease, choice, and fast delivery are top of your list, Amazon is likely to hit the spot. Meanwhile, Red Bull ticks all the boxes for speed loving thrill seekers. What these brands have in common is consistency and that does have a value.

Building brand loyalty involves the whole brand experience from start to finish and beyond. As business owners, we all want to attract new customers and a growing number of repeat customers over the longer term.

Integrated Marketing

Combining both traditional and digital methods presents an opportunity that leading businesses are taking advantage of. Splitting budget between the two, with a weighting towards digital appears to be the optimum solution of late. Taking advantage of growing online trends while maintaining an offline presence could be the secret of success!

Guest post by Ros Birkett, Birkett Consultancy Advertising & Marketing

2 thoughts on “Traditional vs. Digital Marketing: Or a combined approach?

  1. Sameena Reply

    This was a useful, user friendly summary of the issues to consider. Thanks Ros.

    • Ros Birkett Reply

      I’m very glad to hear that Sameena. Thanks for your comments. It’s always good to receive feedback. Sure you’ll find more useful info if you keep following Imagine’s blog.

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