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Traditional marketing - Part one: Adapting to a changing world

September 13, 2021 / Kate Pattison

A recent Salesforce study claims North American marketers will be spending only 25% of their budgets on traditional marketing activities in 2021. If that’s true, it means digital marketing spending has grown 21% since 2011.

Marketers aren’t abandoning traditional marketing altogether. It does have a place in a robust marketing mix – it’s just the ratios that are changing.

Consider incorporating some traditional marketing activities as part of your overall marketing plan to help expand your marketing reach. It also provides different access to consumers and supports your visibility within your local markets.

What is traditional marketing exactly?

Traditional marketing is any marketing not done online, or digitally. It’s everywhere – TV, radio, billboards and benches, newspapers, or in your mail. It includes:

  • Direct mail
  • Broadcast
  • Print advertising
  • Outdoor advertising
  • Events

As shown in the survey results above, digital marketing accounts for the majority of marketing efforts today. However, relying solely on just digital or just traditional methods could result in missed opportunity. Having a mix of the two allows you to reach more consumers.

Why you still need traditional marketing

Traditional marketing activities can offer great opportunities and results. Some of the benefits of using these channels include:

  • Visibility and brand recognition. Bench advertisements, community newspapers, direct mail flyers all provide a visibility that might not be available through online channels.
  • Reaching a hyper-local audience. You can target and tailor campaigns for specific communities and neighbourhoods.
  • Interacting with key demographics that might not spend time online. Yes, they are still out there and they are not all elderly. Some consumers are just choosing to not spend as much time in front of screens. They might be better reached through traditional methods.

Pros and cons of traditional marketing channels

  1. Direct Mail. Pros include information retention and motivation. Canada Post cites a 20% higher motivational response to direct mail campaigns. They also show that consumers pay 39% more attention to campaigns that combine direct mail and digital channels. The biggest con for this channel is the cost. Direct mail requires design work and copywriting services, which can be expensive. There are also printing and mailing costs, which can add up quickly.

  2. Broadcast. The biggest pro is being able to create truly creative campaigns. But again, TV and radio advertising can be expensive. These channels also offer less of an opportunity to target or personalize your campaign to your audience.

  3. Print advertising. There are magazines and local newspapers that are community or association-based, which offer great opportunities to target key consumer groups. Again, this channel can be expensive because of the production costs of your ads. Some publications offer creative support inhouse, which can save you money.

  4. Outdoor advertising. These channels are local, community-based and can be cost-effective as part of brand visibility campaigns. One of the biggest cons is creative options are limited because of space and readability. This is why so many bench advertisements only show a headshot and limited copy.

  5. Events. The biggest pro for event marketing is face-to-face discussions and networking. Whether you host an event, pay to be a sponsor, or just attend, you get quality time with consumers. As with the other channels listed, costs are a serious consideration. As well, planning and executing a great event can take a tremendous amount of time. Consider hiring an event specialist for your own events, so you can focus on hosting and networking.

Cost keeps cropping up…

It’s hard to ignore the cost concerns of traditional marketing. However, these channels can offer better results than digital for some types of campaigns. It’s important to know that digital marketing has a few hidden costs, so it’s not fair to say it’s always the lower-cost option.

Including a mix of traditional and digital activities in your marketing plan means your reach is greater, which can translate to more business. We’ll discuss getting the ratio right between the two in Part 2 of this series (coming soon).

Marketing will always come with associated costs, but it is also a great investment in your business. Getting it right can produce real results and rewards.

Related articles:

Marketing: where you start makes all the difference


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