Many years ago, the primary marketing methods that were used to reach target audiences included radio spots, television commercials, newspaper ads and direct mailers. As the Internet and mobile devices increased in popularity, marketers had access to a much larger range of marketing avenues to take advantage of.
Today’s businesses now have access to numerous marketing methods. Some will largely use a single platform, but others will blend both online and offline efforts to achieve the best possible results. In both digital and traditional marketing methods, there are pros and cons that must be analyzed before you can determine what the most strategic combination of methods may be for a specific business.
Understanding One-Way Versus Two-Way Communication
One of the most significant differences between traditional marketing and digital marketing relates to interactivity. The traditional methods, such as radio and newspaper print ads, dispersed a message outward, but there was not a direct way for customers to communicate back to the company using those same channels. Many of these methods were ideal for getting a message out to the general public, but they lacked the ability to focus a message on a specific segment directly.
Digital marketing gives you a different experience. Many digital marketing avenues, such as social media marketing, offer two-way communication. Otherwise, such as is the case with a direct email campaign, the ability to communicate back to the company may be much easier to do than with traditional marketing. Digital marketing also gives you the ability to reach a smaller and targeted segment of the population and to control your message to these individuals. For example, rather than blasting off a direct mailer to an entire city, you can send an email message to a much smaller, focused segment of individuals in this same geographic area.
Exploring the Target Audience
When you prepared a marketing message for traditional media formats, you may have received target audience information related to how many viewers or listeners an ad will reach and what the demographics of those individuals are. You must then conform your message to be appealing to the audience. With digital marketing, the experience is in reverse. You determine who your target audience, and you use digital technology to specifically reach your audience.
Because digital marketing can be more targeted, direct and interactive, it may often be viewed as being more effective. However, be aware that narrowing down your reach to a small segment of recipients is not always ideal. If you are working with a product or service that has broad appeal, the traditional marketing methods that have a broad reach may be more cost-effective in many cases.
Creating a Detailed Marketing Plan
Now that you are more aware of the primary differences between traditional and digital marketing methods, you need to explore all of the online and offline methods in greater detail. For example, the pros, cons and overall impact of a search engine optimization campaign may not be the same as an email marketing campaign. These are both digital marketing methods, but they are very different. You likely will find that only specific marketing methods work well for your needs and are an effective way to reach your target audience. However, many businesses may discover that they can combine the benefits of specific online and offline methods to generate superior results.
When you are creating your online and offline campaign, you must always keep your target audience in mind. Who are they? What are their motivations? What media platforms do they use frequently? Where will they be less distracted by other messages? Are you able to contact them immediately before they make a purchase or to create a need? When you create a marketing plan that is based on considerations of both online and offline methods with these questions in mind, you may be able to create a more effective marketing plan overall.
Working Within Your Budget
Many traditional marketing methods can cost a fortune, such as newspaper and TV ads. On the other hand, some digital marketing, such as social media posts, may be virtually free for you to use. Finding a way to maximize your reach while remaining within the constraints of your budget is essential. The first step to take is to identify the leading marketing platforms that you want to use. Compare the costs, and look for ways to reduce those costs without negatively affecting the impact that the methods may have for you.
Remember to review analytics for each marketing method that you use. Your goal should be to regularly review analytics so that you can make strategic improvements to your plan. Remember that your marketing plan and message may also need to change as your target audience evolves or as other factors change. It may be easy to create a marketing plan that produces moderate results and to maintain this plan as the status quo. However, your marketing efforts should be continuously reviewed and revamped for the best results.
Regardless of whether you determine that online or offline marketing methods are more well-suited for your needs, you need to base your decisions on a careful review of your target audience, the market and the pros and cons of all available marketing methods. Spending ample time researching and preparing a marketing plan is important, and it is equally as important for you to periodically revise this plan for enhanced results going forward.