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Are Traditional Marketing Mediums Obsolete?

When it comes to marketing, business owners and marketing managers have one overriding question to answer: Which forms of marketing will be most effective to attract customers? From social media ads to direct mail campaigns, there is no shortage of options to attempt to reach your brand’s existing or potential consumer base. Within those options, there are some marketing mediums regarded as more cutting edge, while there are others seen as more traditional. In a world of all things digital, the question becomes: Are these traditional marketing mediums obsolete?

What are traditional marketing mediums?

Traditional marketing mediums are typically regarded as those that emerged before the digital age. They include advertising via print materials (newspapers, magazines, and billboards), radio and even television. These types of ads are priced based on the type of medium being used, the size of the ad and the duration that it runs. Compare these to modern forms of digital marketing including social media, online ads, web video and even augmented reality.

Before the internet, television, radio and newspapers served as society’s preferred forms of entertainment and information consumption, (going backward in time in that order). With all consumer eyes on those informational vessels, that is where marketers wanted to be. Just as television ousted radio ousted newspapers in the top spot of information consumption, so has the internet now. But does that mean that these traditional marketing mediums necessarily become antiquated? Not necessarily.

The transition between traditional and digital

As technology evolves and the way that people consume information is ever-changing, marketers have found ways to adapt. News organizations have ended their print products and transitioned to digital, and marketers have followed, supporting online digital ads rather than their print counterparts. Even billboards that once sat stagnant are now able to host a roster of brands at one time via digital screens.

The most significant difference between digital and traditional advertising is the pace of change. Pay for an ad in a weekly newspaper and it remains the same forever—until you design a new ad and wait for it to be published in the next week’s edition. Publish an ad on social media, and have the ability to change it with the click of a button, with the new ad publishing minutes later.

Digital marketing also offers the opportunity to specifically target your audience based on location, age and even interests, whereas traditional marketing mediums use more of a catch-all approach.

So what does this mean for traditional marketing mediums? Is there still a place for them in your marketing arsenal?

The role of traditional marketing mediums today

Turn on a TV or radio or open a newspaper and you’ll see that traditional marketing mediums are definitely still being used.  However, with the option to invest your dollars in digital marketing over traditional mediums, it begs the question as to whether or not traditional advertising will work for your band. Sometimes it simply takes trial and error to see what works.

Traditional marketing can be viable for businesses on both ends of the spectrum of small and hyper-local to those with significant budgets. Local businesses in areas that have a newspaper with a strong local following, for example, may still yield positive results from placing an ad in the paper. Sponsorships of local and regional events can also prove successful for these types of businesses, as it indicates your investment in the local community.

Businesses with bigger budgets may also find television, radio and billboard ads effective in their ability to get brands and offers in front of larger audiences. It depends heavily on the market and ad placement as to whether it proves worth the allocation of your budget.

Whether or not traditional marketing mediums prove effective for your brand also depends on knowing your customers and putting out quality content. Research where your customers are spending their time, (i.e. on a particular television or radio station), and place your ads accordingly. If you find that your target audience is paying less attention to TV and radio and is spending more time online, then that is where you might want to deviate from traditional marketing mediums and invest more in internet-based ads. If your audience is more old-fashioned, then traditional could be for you.

If you do decide to go the traditional route, then crafting a compelling message is critical. You have to give your audience a reason to want to pursue your brand. Make sure your ad includes a convincing call-to-action, and pay attention to presentation—consumers are attracted to quality.

Take a look around you and you’ll see evidence that proves that traditional marketing mediums are not obsolete. As the majority of consumers are now engrossed in online material, traditional advertising may not work for everyone, but there are ways it could work for you. It’s a matter of getting to know your audience, making sure it fits within your budget and prioritizing quality in any message you are conveying.

At McNutt & Partners, we help clients every day with both their digital and traditional marketing needs. Give us a call at 334-521-1010 or visit our contact page!



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