Once upon a time, marketing was marketing. If you operated a business, your goal was to bring in sales. You did that by telling people about your products and services, and tried various ways to get your message across.
Now you can see the word marketing attached to all sorts of different strategies:
- Traditional marketing
- Digital marketing
- Relationship marketing
- Influencer marketing
- SEO marketing
- Social media marketing
- Postcard marketing
- Contextual marketing
- Brand marketing
- Guerrilla marketing
With a quick search, you could come up with dozens more. Each of these has spawned from the original concept of marketing, designed solely to get your message out to the world.
How do you know which is best for you? In the words of John Wanamaker, the pioneer in marketing, “Half the money I spend on marketing is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
As a business owner, what should you do? Where should you put your focus, energy, and time?
What is traditional marketing?
Let’s start with one of the largest categories, traditional marketing.
Traditional marketing refers to all marketing strategies used without the internet. These are methods that have been around for decades, and involve more conventional media channels that decades-old companies have used for years.
Traditional marketing strategies include:
- Direct mail
- Phone calls
Traditional marketing is usually “in your face”, and difficult to ignore. You see it on the bus as it drives by. You stare at it on a billboard outside your window. You pick it up when you get your mail. You encounter it every time you flip through a magazine.
While it has evolved over the years, it’s still considered a semi-targeted method of marketing because of how broad your marketing audience will be.
Through traditional marketing, sales strategies refined as people and companies learned more about what makes people buy. One of the top selling techniques still used today is the concept of the 4 Ps of Marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.
Product – all effective marketing campaigns start with understanding your product through the eyes of your clients and customers.
Price – what you charge for your product or service will be dependent on supply, demand, profit margins, as well as perceived value in the marketplace.
Place – marketing relies heavily on finding the ideal location to deliver your message to reach a target audience that engages with you.
Promotion – the more you hone in on what your target market wants and their inner core beliefs, the more personalized you can get with your message.
If you’re starting to sense that traditional marketing can crossover into digital marketing easily as you drill down into your message, you are correct.
What is digital marketing?
The main difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing is the channels in which you display your message. While traditional marketing uses the above-mentioned media to deliver your materials, digital marketing relies solely on digital media. It relies on things like:
- Email campaigns
- Social media
- Content marketing
- Pay per click ads
- Search engine optimization
These strategies work well because people are using the internet – desktops, laptops, mobile and smart devices – more every year.
Currently, 4.6 billion people around the globe use the internet regularly, there are 4.2 billion unique mobile internet users, and 4.1 billion users are active on social media sites. More than 90 percent of all Americans use the internet.
That makes digital marketing the perfect way to reach out to potential customers.
Which should you use, traditional marketing or digital marketing?
In today’s world, you can no longer ignore marketing. It’s important to consider all types of marketing, and reach out to your target audience in the way they deem best.
This isn’t about you. It’s about giving them what they want, where they want it. They’ll find a way to connect with you if they desire.
Stop and consider for a moment who your current market is, and compare that with potential for the future. People are becoming savvier with their tech skills at every age. If you’re ignoring the Baby Boomer population online, assuming they prefer traditional media sources more, you might be missing a key demographic. Likewise, if you currently target Baby Boomers and aren’t planning for the long term, you might be missing crucial Gen X and Millennial dollars that can help your business grow over time.
Traditional marketing is often underutilized because of the popularity of the internet. Adding in more traditional messages can help reach a new audience that may be perfect for your product or service. Traditional marketing is great to:
Create impactful messages – All you have to do is look to Superbowl ads to realize how creative people can be with traditional advertising.
Design memorable presentations – People often talk about a memorable commercial. They rarely rave about a cool Instagram post. They may like and share, but it’s a quick click and it’s gone.
Be more permanent – If you continually put a message in a magazine, you can potentially communicate with an audience until they recycle it. If you’re in it month after month, you’re increasing your touch with your audience in a specified place and location.
Or course, digital marketing has its benefits too.
More engagement – You can reach out to a target audience in many ways, delivering your core branded message in many ways.
More opportunity without risks – Traditional marketing can be expensive. To deliver a post on Instagram, for example, takes little more than a few minutes of creative work and a touch of a button. With dozens – hundreds – of messages circulating online every month, you can try things to find out what works.
More measuring – Every platform and tool you use online comes with a comprehensive analytics and reporting system to determine what works and what doesn’t. You can test ideas and get results in days or even hours, instead of waiting months.
So what’s your strategy? Are you using both traditional and digital marketing to reach out to your customers?