The world of marketing has undergone some drastic changes in the last 15 years. Until recently the idea that companies could abandon the use of billboards, letters and newspaper ads in favour of a digital alternative was unheard of. Digital marketing services now represent a huge part of all advertising revenue, and it is a rapidly growing industry because of the ease of entry and cost effectiveness. There are some demographics for which an online approach may work less well (such as the elderly) but for the majority of businesses a customer base is only a few clicks away.
There are benefits for both types of marketing, and obviously the most successful campaigns incorporate both in an interesting way, but what are the advantages and disadvantages of the two types?
With traditional marketing avenues there are two clear advantages: reach and real-world communication. As I mentioned earlier, some digital marketing services won’t reach the entire population, and with the oversaturated digital marketing environment it can be very difficult to stand out from the crowd. In real world advertising, you often have the attention of a potential customer in a very real way and they can react accordingly. You can also target certain demographics more easily, through a billboard in a specific area, or by placing an advertisement after a certain TV show for example.
However, the passive nature of this type of marketing can be a hindrance. Because your customers aren’t interacting with your product, they can simply ignore it, resulting in a huge investment with minimal results. This low response rate may make the huge cost investment of traditional marketing techniques unavailable, particularly when it comes to smaller businesses.
The new wave of social media based advertising is useful for three main reasons: 1) it is cheap, 2) it is easy to attract new customers when you use social media platforms where people already are and perhaps most importantly, 3) with online marketing there is a much higher conversion ratio between interaction with the advertisement and purchase of a product.
This ratio is obviously hugely important and because all digital marketing services can be tracked and adjusted, you can modify your strategies to increase those ratios. It is interesting to note also that due to the interactive element of this type of marketing, there is a sense of ‘community’ that can be an essential part of building a solid customer base. Any big company relies on repeat sales, so a marketing strategy which builds this in from the offset is more likely to see profit. Another way of looking at this is that a good grasp of digital marketing services can mean a really comprehensive brand identity: if you can create a wealth of content and a social media voice that is engaging, you can apply this to your brand more generally.
The only real downside of digital marketing is that due to the level playing field, it can be incredibly difficult to create a space for yourself in the marketplace. But then, this is true in business generally. Another downside might be the fact that your customer base has to actually interact with your advertisement, leaving out potential customers who avoid your advertisement on principle.
The Integrated Solution
However, whilst both of these types of advertising are effective in their own way, a company with ambition will attempt to use both. This can be tricky, but it mainly comes down to splitting down your market into manageable groups and understanding how to rephrase a marketing idea for the different formats. For example, a toy company might put a 30 second advert on the TV for their product on a Saturday morning so that the child can create the demand, and then might use Facebook to remind the parent to buy the product. In this case, you would have a brand identity which would be consistent, but the phrasing and type of advertisement would be targeted.
Whilst this is not always possible, for a starting company a good rule of thumb is investing 20% into traditional media and 80% in digital marketing services. This will allow you to bridge the gap in non-internet savvy consumers whilst focusing on the new powerful digital platform that is available to you.