Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing (10/30/2019)
From Blue Atlas: Digital Marketing Agency


Today we’re talking about digital marketing versus traditional advertising. I feel like this was a great topic to bring up because it’s actually one of our most trafficked blogs on our website. When looking at the difference of the two, people tend to respond with, “Yes, I know what digital marketing is”. However, if you notice some of the videos that we’ve been producing lately like, “What is SEO?”, “What is Online Reputation Management?”, I actually found out that not everybody knows what all the digital marketing elements are.

Then we get that question of, “I do some traditional. Do you do digital?” It’s kind of up in the air, and so thought it’d make sense to get started by talking about traditional advertising, the pros and cons of traditional advertising, talking about digital marketing pros and cons and so on.

What is Traditional Advertising?

Traditional advertising, in my opinion, and I think most people agree, it’s a lot of the traditional stuff we’re used to: print, broadcast, TV, radio. It’s like mass marketing type things. Some tools for traditional advertising have been around for a long time, the different broadcast medias and so on; PR, the old school method of PR. There’s a little bit of a change happening as we’re talking about traditional versus digital.

Some PR agencies are very traditional. They’re taking the articles and stuff to the journalists. They meet and do a lot of the offline PR tactics that we know about PR and have been around for a long time. There are some that go the digital marketing route. We’ll talk a little bit about that in just a minute. Overall, I’d say just offline PR is still part of that traditional world. Then I’ll start up with direct mail. Now, I know there’s a lot of other tactics and things, but I think this will give you an idea between direct mail, TV, radio, print, a lot of those just traditional, old school methods, as a lot of people will say nowadays. That’s how we’re defining today, what our traditional advertising is.

Pros and Cons of Traditional Marketing

One great thing about traditional media, and I don’t want to talk about cost because even with digital marketing you can build the same budget, but with a lot of traditional medias, you do get a mass-market. You get a wide market. If you want to advertise on a Houston radio station, for instance, you’re going to broadcast to 6 million-plus people. Obviously, not everybody’s listening to it, but you have the opportunity to reach 6 million people in the Houston market.

If you’re in the Greater Tampa area, I think it’s about three and a half, four in the whole area. I realize that some of the radio stations go almost to Orlando from the Tampa area, so you can reach a lot of people. On TV, it’s the same way. The newspapers still have a really large circulation, so you can reach a whole lot of people with your traditional marketing opportunities. Another pro about traditional advertising, it’s comfortable for both the advertiser and the consumer. It’s easy. If you’re reading a magazine, you flip through it, and you’re like, “Oh, there’s an ad”. There’s no commitment, nothing. You like it; you don’t. You really don’t have to do anything. It’s really just easy and comfortable.

The pro side for the advertiser is, we put out an ad, shoot it off to every publication we’re going to market in, and play for some results. It’s pretty simple and straightforward. A lot of people opt for traditional advertising for that reason because it is pretty comfortable, pretty easy to do. Other things for brand awareness. We’ll talk a little bit as we summarize the two, like how do you use both. Don’t get me wrong. As a digital marketing company, we are a full-service agency. We do media buying. We do traditional media as well, so we definitely see a place for this.

One of those pros is brand awareness. Lauren and I were talking about this the other day. It’s like, why do you do TV commercials? Why do you do radio commercials? For brand awareness. If they don’t know it exists, you’re getting your message out in front of people. You interrupt them a little bit. You’re really interrupting them in a media that they can’t take action. If somebody is reading a magazine, they might be in a doctor’s office, so what are they going to do? Whip out their computer and do something. Are they going to call somebody? Probably not. If they’re listening to the radio, they should be driving, and there really isn’t anything they can do and hopefully they won’t be taking their hands off the wheel. TV, they’re pretty invested in the show they’re watching, so it’s not really a medium that you’re going to take immediate action, but it’s a great way to increase brand awareness.

When you need to reach the masses, we often turn to the use of TV, radio, print and those kinds of things. Let’s talk about the cons. One, it’s really difficult to track. We started media buying in the late 90s, early 2000s. The only way to track it was you used some polls. You use some surveys, and you got a sample and then go, “Okay, out of these thousand people, they heard your message”. That’s not accurate at all. Did they get the right thousand people? Did they get a thousand people to even listen to that radio station or read that publication? There were some ins and outs.

There’s some details to it where they can get as accurate as possible, but realistically, you can’t track it. You don’t know that they didn’t see it. You just have to hope and pray for the best, as people are ignoring advertising in traditional channels.

Actually, we had an intern at one point in his early 20’s. He said to me that he’s never actually listened to a regular radio station. Of course my response was, “You got to be kidding me”. However in a current consumer and buyers age, he listens to his MP3 in the car. He no longer even bothers listening to the radio.

However, there’s still a lot of people listen to the radio, so that’s why we do still use it as a potential source, but people are doing things like– TiVo was one of the first things with TV to really destroy the commercial market because you could TiVo things, and unfortunately, that company fell kind of off, but there’s still the DVR that has taken over. If you watch a show, you record it; you can at least fast forward. Now, you got things like Hulu where you can go no ads. Some things might have a few ads, but with a lot of it there’s no ads at all. You skip that completely. That’s how people are trying to live nowadays.

With traditional advertising, a lot of times it’s really easy for consumers to skip that and just to go right by your ads. You can see that newspapers and things are dwindling. A lot of traditional marketing avenues are trying to find ways to be creative in how they can insert ads into content because the market doesn’t really care anymore about the ads. What do we do when we listen to radio? Hey, okay, commercial time? Cool, where’s my next station? Where’s my next station? You start hopping because you don’t listen to ads.

One last con that I have for traditional advertising is the long lead time. If you’re going to run a print ad for instance, we have to first get a design to place in the print ad. If you’re trying to rush, the design might take a week or so to get it off the ground, and get it approved. Then, you send it off to the print publication. Then, they get it inserted, and then it still has to be printed. Then the final step is getting the print ad distributed.

Sometimes you could be looking at six weeks to get your ad out there, and once it’s out there, you’re done. What if you messed up and had a typo? That sucks for you because no changes available. That’s about all there is to it. It’s over. There’s the long lead time and then the inability to actually make any changes once it’s out there, making it pretty permanent. You better get it right. It’s a bit scary when you start thinking about digital marketing vs traditional marketing in this sense. With digital marketing if we were to be like, “Hey, we messed it up”, you can make an edit. Say you need to change a word in the ad. Cool, edit, save, it’s done. I don’t like that about traditional advertising. Traditional marketing is just not as flexible as what we’ve got in digital marketing.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is pretty broad. I’ll give you some of the words that we throw around. Digital marketing are things like SEO, Pay-per-click, YouTube videos, social media, but really, it all boils down to digital marketing is anything used with an electronic tactic or electronic source, which in today’s age is a lot of what’s online: your website, search engines, social media platforms, video platforms, et cetera.

This really covers the gamut of what is digital marketing. We could sit down here and talk for hours about the different aspects of it, but ultimately, it’s something that’s going to be electronic, typically going to be online. It’s something that people can take an immediate action. Even if they’re on their phone, they see an ad. They can click it. They can go learn more. They can fill out a form. They can convert as a lead right there on their phone. Digital marketing does give you a faster opportunity to convert leads.

Pros and Cons of Digital Marketing

With traditional advertising we talk about how you can’t really track a lot of things, with digital marketing you can. You can track just about everything. You can track where they came from, who they are, IP addresses, countries, where they went. If you’ve ever seen inside of Google Analytics, you can drill and do reports and all kinds of stuff for days, build custom dashboards and everything else. You find out all kinds of data, way more data than you ever really care and want to know. It’s all there and then some. We really can track everything that happens in digital marketing.

Digital Marketing is also much better at targeting the right audience. When you run a ad in the newspaper, you’re running an ad to everybody that subscribes, so that’s everybody from a 15-year-old kid to an 85-year-old woman that may or may not care about your product and everything else in between. You really don’t have a lot of targeting outside of, “I know I want to put it out in this area. I hope people in this area learn about my product”. With digital marketing, you can do a little bit more targeting. You can actually specify, “I want this target. I want these kind of people. I want this demographic”. All kinds of things that you can put into the targeting for digital marketing, so it really opens up a lot of doors for you of what you’re going to target and who you’re going to get your message in front of.

Don’t be discouraged if you see a lower number in your audience. Digital marketing often brings in who you’re marketing to, so instead of a million-person big mass approach, you might be down to 10,000, but those 10,000 are exactly who you need to be in front of. You can do that kind of targeting with Facebook. Even Google is starting to get into a little bit of targeting with audiences, but overall, the targeting options are so much better with digital marketing over traditional advertising.

There’s a broader reach because with your traditional broadcast-type media, a lot of those are localized, so it’s like the local newspaper, the local radio, the local TV, et cetera. But with digital marketing, you can reach a broader scale. You can reach globally. You can run your European campaign, your US campaign, your South American campaign. You can do that with search engines, multiple languages, et cetera. So, I think there’s a lot of pros on the digital marketing side of that.

Now, what we were talking about earlier, with digital marketing: you can quickly adjust it. For example, lets say your run this full, big campaign, everything’s going, and it’s just not working. If you do that in print, TV, those kinds of things, yes, you could certainly do a commercial or something, but really, you spend a lot of money and a lot of effort, and it’s already out there, and you can’t do it. With digital marketing, you say, “Hey, let’s make a change. Let’s edit these ads. Let’s change the landing page, get it out there. We can make that change right now, and in 10 minutes we’ve got a whole new ad out there”.

As you can probably tell, I do like digital marketing a little bit more than traditional advertising, but that’s really why is because we have a lot more control over than what you really ever do in traditional advertising.

Let’s talk about some cons associated with digital marketing. Now, as we talked about with traditional advertising, it’s a little bit easier, and it’s more comfortable because you put together an ad, shoot it out, boom. There, we’re done. That’s really all the work you got to do. With digital marketing, it’s a lot more complicated. You’ve got to put together your ads, put them in the right platform, and set up the targeting. There are a few more moving parts to it than what you’ve got with traditional advertising. Landing pages come into play. You could just dump them on your website, but it’s highly recommend that you don’t and that you actually drive them to a landing page or something of that nature.

You’ve have to build a landing page, so now you have a programming team. Your production team starts to get a little bit bigger with digital marketing because of the targeting and tracking and those kinds of things. Sometimes you have to put scripts in so you can actually do that tracking and targeting. It’s a lot more than has to go into a traditional marketing campaign.

This one I can say it’s a con because it’s part of the pro. Because you can do quick adjustments and quick changes, a lot of people are a lot more impatient with digital marketing. For example, if you run some ads with traditional marketing one may say, “Okay, let’s see what happens. In 30 days, we’ll see what the results were”. It worked or didn’t. But you kind of give it it’s time to do its thing. With digital marketing, you’re like, “All right, come on. Where’s my results? How many leads I get today?” Like, “It was one day. Dude, you just started running the campaign”. “I know, but the data is there. You can show me”. People get impatient with digital marketing. I think that’s a con because as you’re running those campaigns, sometimes you’ll make adjustments before you really needed to, or you’ll change or drop a campaign before it really had a chance to take legs and run.

Facebook is a perfect example. Facebook used to have a lot more targeting options. Once Facebook began getting in trouble with data breaches and things like that, they’ve actually pulled back on some of their targeting options. As an advertiser, I don’t have as many ways that I can target like I used to. They’re actually doing it for us, which is a good thing. They know their product much better than any expert could ever know, but it takes some time for them to do that. They get your ads out there, and you really need to run them for like two weeks before you can start to say this campaign is doing exactly what it should or what it could. So it takes a little bit of time, but the impatient sometimes will derail your project before you ever get to that two weeks.

If you’re going to do traditional advertising, you want to try to get the customer, the reader, the viewer to digital as fast as possible because you can track it. You can capture leads, typically, that’s somewhere where somebody’s going to take an action. If you’re on a billboard — The billboard maybe not the best example because usually people are driving, but let’s say a billboard or print ad. In that you’re going to do a giveaway or something in a traditional ad to get them to your website. Now, you’ve got them into digital where you can track and you can get that conversion because if they’re reading something, if they pull out their phone, now they’ve got a tool to be able to become a lead that they didn’t have in their hand before just from the traditional advertising. So, they do kind of work hand in hand.

Q & A Session

  1. Isn’t all traditional marketing dead? Is anyone pay attention to commercials?

As I said earlier, there are those things where people are able to record the show, skip the commercials, et cetera. Traditional advertising, is it dead? The obvious answer is no because people are still advertising in papers and magazines, on billboards, on TV, on the radio. They’re having to get more creative at traditional channels. A lot of the times they’re incorporating digital in order to capitalize that as their traditional media, but no, it’s not dead, and people are still paying attention to commercials.

We were talking about this the other night. We were watching a show, and they forced me to watch the commercials. I can’t fast forward through it, so it’s still traditional. I was watching a TV show via an app, but it’s still part of the kind of traditional media even though I guess you call it electronic. It really is still traditional media because I’m watching my show, and I’ve got to pay attention to it. There was a couple commercials, and it just made me so mad, but I can tell you almost word for word what was in the commercials now. So it did its job. It did what they were trying to do, and I had to watch the commercials. There’s still an opportunity for traditional advertising, but I say couple that with your digital channels.

  1. What type of budget do you need to start a digital campaign?

We did an event a couple weeks ago, and this was one of the questions that popped out talking about paid social. It really is all over the place, and I hate to answer it that way but, it could be small, it could be big, it depends on what you have. But I’ll give you an example. Some digital campaigns, like say Facebook campaigns. You can do it for $10 a day. You’re not going to hang your hat on it.

You’re not going to make millions of dollars because you’re running a $10 a day campaign, but what it does allow you to do is to get something out there for about $300 a month for the budget itself and you figure out what works. That’s like a multi-step campaign, but you kind of get an idea of, “Does this campaign work? Yes, it works. Cool. Now, let’s scale it”.

To me, what works means it got leads, so yes, let’s go spend some more money. If you get leads, you close business. You have more money to market et cetera, so it kind of water flows from there. That is a very unique example though, and usually, that’s coupled across several campaigns. If you really want a dollar figure of what kind of a budget you should have in order to really get started with digital marketing, I would recommend you start thinking about $1,000. The only reason why I say that, some people are like, “Oh my God. I can’t believe you just told me to do that”.

If it’s not for you, then there’s other tactics, and maybe digital marketing is not the right fit. But at $1,000, you get enough into your campaigns that you can see some results. Anything less, you start getting to such a small sample size that you don’t know if it works or not. “We didn’t get anything from it”. You only targeted 1,000 people, and those people just didn’t care to click through, but if you could target 5,000 people, you’d have 100 leads or so on. $1,000 is usually a good number to say, if I start here, I’m going to have enough money to spread it out enough to reach enough people to get the best results possible.

Now, budgets from there, just like anything else, can go sky-high. Your major corporations are spending millions of dollars today online, but as a small business, consider based on where you are starting at $1,000. If you have done some digital marketing, then I would say the budget may need to evolve a little bit to maybe $2,500, maybe even approaching $5,000 as a budget because then you can really hit a lot of different channels from SEO to social media, YouTube. The possibilities are endless at that point.

  1. If your budget is small, which medium do you suggest starting with in digital marketing?

There’s two answers to this. If you’re looking at it at as, “I have to generate leads tomorrow”, I probably suggest that you go into social media. Even with a small budget, do some organic things that you can spend time on. Do Facebook Live, do Facebook post, share content. You can do all of that for free besides the time, and then couple that with some social media ads that are driving people that maybe has engaged that content, driving them to a conversion or a landing page.

I would recommend if you’re not impatient and say “I need leads tomorrow” actually starting with a small budget in SEO, because once you get your website ranking in the search engines, you’ve kind of built an asset, and it doesn’t go away. With ads, social media, Google, wherever, if you’re running ads, once you stop paying your ads go away. If you spend money and spend some time and effort and get your website ranking number one for a really hot keyword, you don’t have to keep investing money in that. You want to keep other things happening, new content, other links going to other places, but that one stays where it’s at. So, you’ve really built an asset instead of it just being a marketing expense.

It could take three to six months to say, “Okay, my keyword ranked really well”. We’ve seen some instances within a couple of weeks. In some cases, you could jump to number one. We actually saw a client jump in four keywords from greater than a hundred- because we don’t track anything greater than a hundred -from greater than a hundred to number one was actually within a week. SEO can be fast, but generally speaking, we look at that as kind of the marathon.. It’s going to take a long time but It’s going to be an amazing win once you get there. Pay-per-click, Facebook ads, that’s the sprint. I need something today; let’s get to it as fast as possible. Those can be up, and they can be wherever I want them to be today. I can put an ad for any keyword in the world, anywhere in the world. Now, that might cost me a lot of money, but I can do that today. That’s kind of the sprint side.

If you’re impatient, I would start with social media like Facebook ads. If you’re a little more patient, if you’ve got some of the marketing that’s happening, you want to start dabbling with some digital marketing, I would say SEO is the best place to go after,

If you have any more questions about digital marketing take a look at what we do, we’d love to help!

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