There shouldn’t be a debate between ‘traditional marketing’ and ‘digital marketing’ — this is a false choice. Instead, the conversation needs to shift to focus on how the two channels work together, as well as how marketers can leverage the best both channels have to offer.
A good way to think about traditional marketing is that it presents a highly effective way to reach a broad consumer audience. On the other hand, digital marketing can be used to create a relationship with the consumer that has depth and relevancy. Marketers should use the wider reach traditional marketing channels present to generate broad awareness and drive consumers to the digital experience.
A good example of the contrasts between traditional and digital can be found when comparing the passive nature of a traditional marketing message to the activity generated by an effective digital marketing campaign. A 30-second television ad always lasts for 30 seconds, and the consumer is most likely passively participating. On the other hand, an effective digital campaign will lead to consumers actively participating in a digital experience for anywhere from two to five minutes.
Marketers can take advantage of the passive experience of viewing a television commercial or flipping past a magazine ad by delivering a specific call to action to the consumer that leads to more active engagement on the brand’s digital channels.
For example, each year companies spend millions of dollars for a 30-second Super Bowl ad to reach a wide and captive audience. By adding a digital call to action–like an invitation to like the brand’s Facebook page to be entered in a giveaway–brands can extend the value of that advertisement and get a broader return on their (very significant) investment. Once that consumer engages online, marketers can provide additional details about the product in the ad, invite them to opt-in for future communication, or offer a digital coupon or promotion in order to encourage the type of active engagement that digital channels have to offer.
Traditional and digital marketing are also coming together in exciting ways in the live events space. While brands have always paid for sponsorship of billboards and signage at a rock concert or sporting event, the emergence of mobile enables marketers to engage consumers while they are experiencing the event. For example, you can take your traditional buys to the next level by including a call to action for a mobile campaign that makes the crowd a part of the event. You can achieve this by asking audience members to submit user-generated content, opt-in for mobile or email communications in the future, or driving them to buy something online.
While digital has emerged in recent years as a cost-effective way to drive marketing results, it is important for brands to not overlook traditional methods that can help amplify and take their campaigns to the next level. Depending on your specific goals, it is important not look at traditional vs. digital as an “either/or” proposition, and instead look at it as an opportunity to engage consumers holistically.