Grab the nearest electronic device and all the information you’ll ever need about nearly any product or service can be at your fingertips within seconds. According to one survey, today, about half of e-commerce traffic comes from mobile users, and 56% of online shoppers will pull up consumer reviews before they buy.
What that tells us is that convenience is a big deal for consumers. Today, only a small percentage of people don’t use the internet at all. That’s great news for digital marketers, but it also begs two very important questions:
1. Does traditional marketing still have a place in consumerism?
2. Does it make sense to put all your budgeting dollars into digital marketing?
What hasn’t changed is that marketers still have to find that sweet spot between their marketing budgets and an attractive rate of conversion. Understanding the battle between traditional marketing and digital marketing is extremely valuable in setting your budget to net the best return on investment.
What Is Traditional Marketing?
When leafing through your favorite magazine, you’re bound to be struck by a flashy ad, and you might occasionally find yourself chuckling over a silly television commercial. These types of ads, along with direct mail postcards, telemarketing and outdoor advertising still grab our attention.
The hype over the Super Bowl commercials tells us that traditional marketing still works. But at what cost? Traditional marketing requires lots of repetition and consistency. Over time, that can cost a lot of money.
The budget is especially concerning considering that traditional marketing only semi-targets an audience. Surveys are one method of finding out what drives customers’ attitudes and behaviors, but they can also be misleading because customers may respond in ways that don’t accurately reflect their buying habits.
How Digital Marketing Solves These Concerns
One of the major advantages of digital marketing over traditional marketing is that the analytics give marketers a behind-the-scenes look at what customers are thinking and how that translates to what they look for on the web and how they navigate websites.
Digital marketing efforts connect with customers across multiple channels, which can be seen by marketers as having less risk than traditional marketing. Digital marketing efforts also take advantage of inbound marketing — the customer comes to your door. Understanding the path of your customers’ buying behaviors helps you to solve their issues faster, allows for better interaction and can ultimately help you to build authority in your niche market.
For me, dashboard analytics allow me to trace my customers’ behavior in real time so that I can measure results quickly. These results provide me with infinite ways to tweak my strategies. Furthermore, with digital marketing, you can create ads that are interactive, customized to the user, geographically targeted and more likely to be seen by the desired audience — areas traditional marketing falls short.
Transitioning To Digital To Match Consumers’ Habits
In my research to learn more about how to stretch my own marketing dollars, I ran across these statistics:
• Just over 60% of people check their Facebook page at least once a day.
• According to Shopify, 66% of the company’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales were made using mobile phones.
• Ninety-seven percent of business-to-business (B2B) marketers favor LinkedIn for marketing.
• Marketers plan to spend more on digital than non-digital in the next five years.
What I’ve learned is that the best strategy for me is to invest most of my marketing dollars in digital marketing while leaving a bit of room for effective traditional marketing strategies.
Combining Traditional Marketing And Targeted Digital Strategies
A traditional print ad can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, which doesn’t give much exposure opportunity for your marketing budget. When I compare that with the cost of Google display ads, for which I get charged per click rather than per impression, I’m reaching some of my target customers at zero cost. The reasons for the popularity of digital marketing are valid. It is a more effective strategy for targeting and segmenting a customer base.
I’m not ready to kick traditional marketing to the curb completely, however. Billboard ads are still an effective way to reach commuters and vacationers who are more focused on the road than their mobile phones. And as long as the Super Bowl continues to air, there will be lots of banter over the best commercials.
In some industries, depending on the buyer personas, traditional marketing is a must. When I was working in home care, I used traditional marketing, such as print flyers with information about home care services. Why? Because my buyer personas were seniors and baby boomers — people who often still relied on print material. In my opinion, the amount of your budget that should be assigned to traditional marketing depends on the industry in which you are working and how your buyer personas behave.
My philosophy on the debate over traditional versus digital marketing is that digital marketing gives me the best exposure for my marketing dollars, so that’s where I’ll continue to invest the largest percentage of my budget. I’ll also leave a little room in my budget for some traditional marketing strategies, just as I leave a bit of room for dessert.