When it comes to traditional versus digital advertising, it’s important to remember both are shooting for the same goals: to attract qualified customers and build brand awareness. Back in the day, people in coffee shops or commuting to work typically read big, smelly, black and white newspapers. Today, your fellow caffeinated commuters are hunched over plastic smartphones or tablets. But it’s not just marketing technology that has changed in our century (newsprint verses touchscreens); digital offers a degree of engagement not possible with traditional advertising.

Another important point: both traditional and digital advertising can play off of each other to create successful marketing results. But as the landscape of possibilities has changed so quickly, many businesses do not fully understand how adding digital marketing can benefit them. We’re not necessarily discouraging you from traditional advertising, but we are encouraging a balance that includes the benefits of digital.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of traditional advertising.

Pros and Cons of Traditional Advertising

Traditional advertising is typically described as a one-way form of communication to a mass audience. It includes “buy” ads in newspapers and magazines, commercials for radio and television, direct mail (or “junk” mail), outdoor billboards and of course, our friend with the sandwich board advertising “chauffeur’s photos while-u-wait.”

No question, traditional advertising is still able to reach a large audience. Over 98.2 million people watched last year’s Super Bowl, and the ads (many of which were made available online to view in advance of the big game) were arguably a major reason why many people tuned in. Television still boasts significantly more viewers than online video platforms. However, online video and online marketing offer a type of customer engagement that cannot be achieved with television and other traditional forms of advertising.

Many traditional advertising channels have become outdated and less effective in the digital age, including phone book ads and print advertising. Most printed materials end up in the recycling bin and are quickly forgotten. And the costs of traditional marketing channels can be prohibitive, especially for small to mid-size businesses. (NBC’s price tag for a single 30-second Super Bowl ad was over $5 million.) Radio and television advertising come with high production costs on top of actual media spending. Measuring traditional advertising’s ROI isn’t impossible, but it can be challenging, especially in an age where attention spans are short and coveted television viewers have the option (thanks to DVRs) of skipping televised ads altogether.

Advantages of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing promotes products and services using online channels, including websites, social media platforms and email campaigns, to reach a very specifically targeted audience. The big difference between, say, an ad in the Yellow Pages (traditional) and a pay-per-click ad (digital) is that the latter compels the customer to engage in an action that can be immediately measured. The online user will click on the ad to learn a bit more about the product or service, and/or sign up for a newsletter, and/or make a purchase. Each one of these actions is part of the proverbial “sales funnel,” as well as how many times a link was clicked, which pages were visited, how long the online user visited each webpage and how many conversions occurred, can be measured. The resulting data helps marketers see what is working and what isn’t, and create more effective campaigns.

The benefits of digital marketing for brands include:

  • Affordability
  • Measurable customer data
  • Tools for brand development
  • Potential for wide exposure
  • Ability to reach targeted and qualified consumers
  • Creates two-way customer engagement

Digital Marketing Expertise

The future is here and the future is digital. So, it is imperative to work with a marketing agency that is on top of the latest and most effective digital tools. Vista 14 not only designs and builds responsive websites that look great on a tablet or smartphone, we help our clients plan the most effective marketing campaigns that drive customer engagement and sales conversions.

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