Digital marketing has amassed quite a lot of success in recent years. Now, a lot of experts wonder whether it’s overtaking traditional marketing. As brands convert to digital selling platforms, some news providers are swapping out paper for PDFs as they consider the benefits and drawbacks of traditional marketing vs digital marketing.
To find the best balance for your business, you’ll need to understand the utilities of both. As your business grows, so will your marketing strategy. Let’s examine both types of marketing. Then, we’ll cover the steps needed to draw elements from both to create a powerful marketing campaign.
What is Traditional Marketing?
Traditional marketing is also called conventional marketing. It foundation is rooted in the basic marketing tools our previous generations have used. Traditional marketing uses the following modes to promote a brand:
- Billboards/Truck Signage
- Other print advertisements
Traditional marketing reaches a broad audience. Unfortunately, it also costs more than digital marketing. While digital marketing requires electronics, many campaigns can be created from a single device. The incremental costs of traditional marketing, however, can be very expensive. These costs are related to advertisement materials like:
Traditional marketing is still popular, however, and for good reason: It’s widely accessible to business owners who are still unsure about creating a comprehensive digital strategy. Before we discuss the other benefits of traditional marketing, however, let’s take a look at digital marketing.
Digital Marketing Methodology
Digital marketing is “marketing for the new age.” It’s been grown to reach a global audience, driven by the accessibility of the Internet. The Internet, itself, touches most aspects of our lives. Digital marketing, today, does a lot more than create brand awareness, it connects businesses with customers across many networks. This said, it also gives us specific and targeted insights into our audience—as well as their behaviors.
The Target Audience
Your digital marketing strategy can be powered by a deep connection with your audience. Traditional marketing typically requires a long waiting period before it’s possible to gauge customer responses. Digital marketing, however, can benefit your business with its instant access to online channels.
Business owners can figure out their target audiences quickly by measuring customer click-throughs, email opens, shopping cart abandonment rates and even social media shares. Google Analytics can give you the measuring tools you need to not only determine who your audience is—but what they like and how they are finding you.
Big data, meanwhile, can be used to gather different statistics about your most valuable customers. By compiling information about each buyer’s browsing/purchasing habits, how they are shopping (i.e. mobile device), you’ll be able to adapt your current campaigns to be much more effective.
Our current digital marketing landscape is powered by a few major channels:
- Search engines
- Social media
You probably use these channels every day. Experts predict that by 2020 each person on earth will be associated with the creation of 1.7 megabytes of data per second. This data isn’t personal data, it’s things like stored images, music, click-through history, etc. With constant user input, social media platforms and search engines can paint an accurate picture of our daily lives (and your customers) through the data it collects.
Traditional marketing may have a lot of options, but it can’t begin to match the awesome potential of virtually limitless Big Data information—especially when the information can be quickly translated into actionable marketing plans.
The Benefits of Traditional Marketing
While digital marketing is growing quickly, traditional marketing is still a decent business choice. Traditional marketing has many facets which customers are familiar with. TV commercials, billboards and direct mail are a common part of modern life—and they won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Traditional marketing has a few other benefits, too. Let’s take a look:
Benefit 1: A Reliable, Static Foundation
Traditional marketing in its simplest form is static foundation, that moves and develops much slower than digital. One example marketers have been using for years is ‘pull’ marketing. Pull marketing involves attracting (or pulling) buyers with different advertisements, attracting customers into the store with reliable deals.
Special in-store promotions benefit greatly from pull marketing. Posters, flyers and direct mail are a customer’s way of being informed about a store’s newest-available discounts. For this reason, the use of physical ads is still going strong. Particularly in local business, the sheer reliability of static physical marketing can make an impact.
Benefit 2: Local Audience Outreach
Traditional marketing is also good for reaching local audiences. A radio ad, for example, is the perfect advertisement for a small town. While traditional marketing lacks big data, it still involves researching customers to make well-informed decisions.
The same radio ad is powered by weeks of research. Partnering with the ad’s broadcast station is a popular traditional marketing strategy for radio-advertising businesses, too. By garnering information about peak listening times, audience demographics and popular listening locations, a business can make their advertisements not only more accessible—but more relatable.
Benefit 3: Ease of Accessibility
Traditional marketing is easy to understand. Most people are used to glancing at magazine ads. Neuroscience even supports the effectiveness of hard copy marketing. A Canadian neuro-marketing firm, TruImpact, found that motivation-related EEG brain waves are higher when customers look at hard copy advertisements, rather than digital ads.
The Benefits of Digital Marketing
Traditional marketing is well-understood. Yet, digital marketing has several benefits (maybe more) which may surpass the value of traditional marketing for many business owners.
Digital marketing focuses on driving sales with digitally gathered information. It also uses qualified leads to direct online buyers to a business’s website, social media page, business location and, eventually, to the checkout aisle.
Digital marketing prioritizes audience engagement, so a lot of its intricacies focus on understanding what customers are browsing or purchasing when they purchase it and—most importantly—why they purchase it. Let’s take a closer look at digital marketing’s biggest benefits.
Benefit 1: Affordability
As stated earlier, digital marketing is cheaper to engage than traditional marketing. While the lack of paper materials is definitely a plus, digital marketing has a bigger benefit in this area: It fits into budgets of all sizes. For example you can establish a budget based on a Pay Per Click campaign based on what you’re willing to spend for keyword bidding.
Benefit 2: Real-Time Statistics
Digital marketing lets marketers collect, analyze and use customer information to better understand customer behavior. Real-time statistics can be gathered from many sources, including:
- Facebook Insights
- Email management reports
- Built-In website platform analytics tools
- Google Analytics
Combined, each of these real-time measurement tools can give you a good look at customer behavior from many angles.
Benefit 3: Adaptability
Because of data and real-time statistics, digital marketing is highly adaptable. Once a retailer has captured the user data, they can adapt their current strategy based upon customer behavior. While customer populations are always changing, real-time data gathering tools will reflect these changes. For example: If you get a high click-through rate on a button or link in an email blast, investigate it. What are they attracted to and how can you maximize this attention and give them more of what they want? Ultimately, digital marketing isn’t static, like traditional marketing. It’s dynamic—and it’s constantly improving upon itself with its own resources.
Benefit 4: Personalization
The same information can be used to customize the buying experience. Marketing teams can now use data to promote the perfect products to customers.
Local SEO is a particularly useful personalization tool. Business owners can make sure their local customers are directed to their retail brick and mortar, using the power of keywords, meta tags, geo-location services and online reviews to stand out.
A furniture store can customize their online product ranking to display the most clicked or trending items to shoppers. Information gathered by collective user behavior on a website can then be translated into in-store inventory management or showcasing the most popular vignettes in the front window.
Benefit 5: Mobile Audience Outreach
A majority of modern buyers are also smartphone users. In the past, mobile devices weren’t popular enough to serve as reliable marketing tools. Now, it’s rare to see a marketing campaign which doesn’t feature SMS, mobile-optimized email or even mobile app advertisement.
Between mobile-optimized email and websites designed in a mobile-first mindset, plenty of digital marketing tools exist to tap into this culture. Like local SEO, mobile caters to customers with personalized products. Local SEO can even direct a mobile marketing strategy via geolocation services and Google My Business. Smartphone users can be directed to a retail location with real-time map data.
Benefit 6: Speed
The Internet’s power can’t be understated. Digital marketing processes are fast. In some cases, they’re nearly instant. Businesses needn’t wait for months to reorganize a marketing campaign. Now, they can change a marketing platform’s direction overnight.
In digital marketing, analytics is the foundation upon which businesses quickly—and effectively—answer customer needs. Are shoppers not clicking on a PPC ad? Figure out why and make an educated change based on data. Is it the message, is it the link? Digital marketing is a two-way conversation between you and the data your audience is sharing.
Auditing Your Digital Assets
One of the most valuable components of digital marketing is digital asset management. Digital asset management (DAM) covers a wide array of solutions for businesses of all sizes.
Digital assets are digital “items” which hold informational value. Some digital asset examples include:
- Photos / Graphics
- Online Product Catalog Data
- Downloadable documents
One of the biggest questions a digital marketer can ask is, “What do we have, and what do we need to create?” After these questions are answered, a third question arises which is much more important: “How can we maximize our use of these resources?”
As such, a lot of a digital marketer’s time involves collecting, storing and using digital assets. We live in a digital world, and today’s most valuable business tools aren’t located in physical locations. They exist on USB drives, hard drives and cloud-based digital storage space.
How to Use Your Digital Assets
To succeed in using your digital assets, you’ll pursue the following traditional and digital marketing goals:
- Educate with Valuable Content – Give insider info on how your products work, or help customers make cost-efficient buying decisions with diagrams and how-to articles.
- Promote Across Multiple Online Channels – Create a comprehensive brand atmosphere for your shoppers, one which is immediately recognizable across different online environments.
- Engage with Interactive Website Experiences – You can also use product visualization tools as part of your digital catalogs. Include virtual room planners, boosting buyer confidence by helping them understand what you have to offer. Be sure they can share their custom creations with their social network by offering integrated social sharing tools.
Gain Followers From Social Media Sharing and Email Lists
Then, use these followers to gain the insight needed to create high-accuracy and targeted marketing campaigns based on specific user interests.
These goals are surprisingly effective at being cyclical. Gaining new followers, for example, may result in them educating new potential buyers over social media. By gathering data about your website’s most-viewed products, you can push your strategy even further. If buyers are searching for dining tables during the holiday season, for example, you can tailor a traditional/digital strategy to promote your finest table selection. You can make this campaign even more powerful by posting blog topics such as, “How to Pick the Best Dining Table for Family Gatherings.”, chatting about it on social media, and displaying the tables trending on your website in a prominent in-store display.
Bringing Traditional and Digital Together
Between the rock-solid reliability of traditional marketing and the flexibility of digital marketing, your business has a lot to gain. Rather than choose between these two foundations, you can have both! It’s possible to combine traditional and digital marketing elements to redefine the customer experience. Such a wholistic powerhouse approach—one fueled by age-old design reliability and limitless flexibility—defines the best sales platforms.
Recycle Digital Assets for Other Online and In-Store Uses
It’s also possible to recycle your digital assets across online channels. By creating an “efficiency loop,” you can use SEO keywords, social media videos and even website content to promote—and even propel—future marketing initiatives. You need to squeeze as much value as possible out of your digital assets. Once you have, you should compress them into marketing fuel.
You can find examples of data asset recycling in the use of long-form (digital marketing) Facebook videos. Once you post the videos, you can shorten them into bite-sized pieces of content. Then, you can post them to Twitter. If you produce professional (traditional marketing) television commercials, you can do the same thing by clipping these into smaller visual bites. Your business’s blog posts, meanwhile, can be shortened into actionable info-snippets for Facebook.
Between condensed email content, promotional Instagram pictures, and viral videos, the resource value of digital assets is incredible.
- Gain insight about your website’s shoppers. (digital)
- Find out what trending product they prefer over all others. (digital)
- Make an in-store showroom which features these high-demand items. (traditional)
Much of this is possible if you match your in-store signage with your brand’s online imagery. By being instantly familiar to those that see your virtual and physical environments, you’ll be able to have greater brand awareness and recognition.
When to Use Traditional Marketing Vs. When to Use Digital Marketing
To launch an effective marketing campaign, you’ll need to create a plan that incorporates a number of marketing basics. You can do this by taking the following steps:
Step One: Determine Your Business Goal
Examine your underlying business goal. What is your brand’s current objective? How does this relate to the traditional marketing vs digital marketing efforts?
If your primary goal is to boost in-store traffic, you can take a multi-level marketing approach. Such an approach can be twofold in design, targeting both a broad audience and targeted audiences. Targeting a broad audience is certainly more of a traditional marketing approach. The targeted-market approach—you guessed it—comes down to digital marketing.
For example: If you’re targeting home-buyers in a new sub-division to promote your furniture store, you can engage buyers in a couple of ways.
The Broad, Traditional Way:
A traditional marketing strategy may be more effective for getting the attention of such a large buyer population. These customers aren’t connected to your brand online, but they’ll likely check their mail often due to their recent home purchase.
So, you can boost brand awareness by offering special promotions via a traditional postcard mailer. As a pro-tip: Label the postcards with information about your digital marketing channels. In doing so, you’ll give customers direct access to your website, social media page, and even your email!
The Targeted, Digital Way:
In addition, you can take a more targeted—digital—approach. Once they visit your website and fill out a newsletter form, you can begin sending them emails promoting your merchandise. The email could contain a link to your website’s product visualization tool—one they can use to show the intricacies of your in-store design services or a blog article you wrote about decorating their new space.
If the program is successful, you’ll gain much more than return customers: You’ll gain the data needed to segment your contact lists even more. Then, you’ll gain the insight needed to target specific buyer groups and launch a highly effective marketing campaign.
Step Two: Determine Your Key Performance Indicators
Before launching your campaign, you’ll need to decide what success looks like. Specifically, you’ll need to determine the campaign’s Key Performance Indicators. KPIs are as important as the campaign itself—if not more so. They’re also very different in traditional marketing vs digital marketing.
In the traditional marketing example about mailing new homeowners, some traditional marketing KPIs could be:
- The new home buyers visiting your store.
- The new home buyers redeeming a postcard’s promo code.
In the digital marketing example, some realistic KPIs could be the click-through rate from a targeted email campaign. In another case, it might be the number of current customers who ultimately called your store—or used your website’s live chat feature—to ask about a product they’ve seen in your promotional email.
This is why interpreting analytics data is so important: It’s critical to every level of your campaign’s performance, especially if the campaign unfolds across multiple traditional and digital platforms.
Step Three: Determine Your Budget
What’s the most cost-effective way to reach your business goal? Your marketing investments hold value. So you need to keep your budget in mind: especially return on investment. This is important to your stakeholders but even more important to your strategy. How much are you willing to spend to learn about your audience?
Step Four: Finding New Ways to Combine Strategies
Once you’ve set your goals, measured your campaign’s Key Performance Indicators, and reviewed your budget, it’ll be time to use the gained information to create new campaigns. More importantly, you’ll use it to examine traditional marketing vs digital marketing once more—focusing on new ways to blend the two for future campaigns.
Starting Your Own Marketing Campaign
At the end of the day, it isn’t difficult to create a powerful marketing campaign which combines traditional and digital approaches. Once you understand the benefits provided by both—and amplified by their combination—the creation steps become simple.
Between more brand visibility, better customer engagement and long-term growth, your business has a lot to gain both in brand visibility and sales. If you’re short on expert resources to create an actionable digital strategy, don’t worry – find an effective team, like MicroD to help create your digital marketing plan. By integrating with these professionals, you’ll learn to power the potent marketing initiatives which lead today’s markets.