The combination of the growth of online marketing and the decline of print media has some prognosticators predicting the demise of traditional marketing. Certainly online advertising, websites, social media, and search engines have added sharp, new arrows to the marketing quiver, but if you want to hit the target customer most effectively, you need to integrate these interactive methods with traditional techniques.
For example, outdoor advertising, mainly billboards, are the second largest growth media behind online. Direct mail still works well in targeting specific markets, especially ones you have difficulty reaching online. TV, especially locally targeted ads on cable, is a great way to tell your story. And many print media, particularly small town local newspapers and national specialty magazines, are still viable.
It is also significant to realize that among adult Internet users, traditional media formats, such as network and local TV news, get more of adults’ time than Internet sites, blogs, or social networks.
In no way does that diminish the marketing value of new media, both online and social. The truth is that by adding new media to old media, we now have a marketing universe overflowing with channels through which to engage our customers. We have new ways to market our products, services, and organizations, but the marketing purpose itself is not new – build the brand, sell the product, engage the customer. In few cases can organizations do this with new media alone, and with so many marketing options available, why should they?
True, my daughter-in-law does most of her furniture and fixture shopping online. Seldom does she need a store or salesperson to make a large purchasing decision. All she needs is a computer. On the other hand, I recently left my new fitness center, which I learned about from a direct mail offer, and saw a poster for a new Japanese restaurant around the corner, which I dined at later in the week. I didn’t need a computer or smartphone to help me make either of those buying decisions. So strictly online or offline marketing can work in different situations.
But the most successful marketing now uses multiple channels of media to create a variety of touch points with the customer. More and more, a variety of channels work together to drive the customer to action. To get the best returns from marketing campaigns, the touch points will be from a mix of both traditional media and new media.
So, traditional marketing, including advertising, is far from dead or dying. Combining new media with old media broadens the reach of all media, from one channel to another, from person to person.