Does traditional marketing still have benefits compared with modern digital marketing?
To answer that question we need to know what the traditional marketing methods are. Experienced marketers will have learnt all this years ago. Some of you may have moved directly into the digital age and may not be too familiar with them.
Traditional marketing includes networking, direct mail, cold calling, exhibitions, published media and public speaking. Now let’s expand on some of these techniques and see how they compare with digital marketing.
In a bygone age it was very common for businesses to recruit a small army of “door knockers” to promote their brands. A fairly simple method to ensure the public knew who you were. Cold calling is still used today but it’s not as popular as it once was. It’s very labour intensive and the public don’t like the intrusion. A few decades ago there was normally at least one family member at home during the day but today cold this has all changed. Some modern high rise apartments don’t even provide access for cold callers. Cold calling is not something that you can scale up easily without a proportional increase in cost. These days it’s primarily used for small businesses covering a small local area.
These can range from a free stall at your village hall to international exhibitions costing upwards of €100,000. Businesses will assess the expected number of visitors to each exhibition before committing to exhibit their products. The village hall will only appeal to tiny, start-up businesses whereas the leading car manufacturers will be looking at something like the Berlin, Chicago and Tokyo Motor Shows. There are exhibitions somewhere in the world for almost every business type and other well-known exhibitions include the Paris Fashion Show, Monaco Yachting Festival, World Food Expo, American International Toy Fair and SmartCards Expo.
To exhibit at some of the very largest exhibitions you will need a big budget. For some household name brands like BMW, Jaguar, Gucci and Jimmy Choo it becomes an important part of their overall marketing strategy.
An offline marketing technique that is still quite popular today. The cost of printing and distribution has fallen, in real terms, over the last ten to twenty years. It can be quite difficult to measure the rate of return from published media. When a household receives up to a dozen leaflets on a single day many of them will go straight in the bin. It’s vital that your flyer stands out if it’s going to be successful for you.
Now let’s look at some of the digital marketing methods you might use to promote your business.
These include social media, search engine optimisation, pay per click, email and affiliate marketing. Some businesses will spend just as much, if not more, in online marketing for their products as exhibitors at the famous Expo’s. However it’s much easier for smaller businesses to start with online marketing than some of the traditional offline marketing methods. For example you can set your budget as low as $10 with Google’s pay per click marketing in contrast with over $100,000 to exhibit at a major trade show.
Digital marketing allows businesses to get in depth assessments of how each campaign is performing and this is not possible with many offline methods. Take email marketing for example where a company might pay $1000 to send out 500,000 emails. They will know precisely how many potential customers took the time to click on their web address embedded in the email. In addition they will know exactly what their conversion rate is for visitors to their website. In then becomes a simple mathematical calculation to establish the rate of return. This allows them to make minor adjustments to their campaign to check how it affects their profitability.
With the right digital marketing tools a business can gauge the appeal for their products much quicker than traditional methods. One of the most popular methods today is pay per click with Google and Facebook. The reason Google and Facebook are able to offer their service free of charge to end users is because they receive billions of dollars from businesses using their pay per click system.
Facebook is also the world’s leading social media network and it can be utilised by digital marketers for little or no cost. Some posts on Facebook might be seen by a handful of your friends but with the right skill set that could be turned into more than a million viewings from users all around the world.