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Digital dominates marketing discussions these days. Every client wants to know how you can improve their digital presence; Every CMO wants to know how PPC ad spend translates to sales.

With all this digital hype, one area becomes relatively neglected: offline media.

Sure, many marketers still do traditional (offline) media, but not as much as they used to.

According to PwC’s latest Entertainment & Media Outlook report, over the next 5 years, traditional media spend as a proportion of overall marketing spend will continue to shrink. This will come as little surprise to many with the way technology continues to shift and evolve.

I get it. Traditional media isn’t the cool new thing. It’s typically not as flashy, interactive, or flexible as the digital marketing counterparts. It is difficult to track and can be expensive.

With how inherently easy digital channels are to measure, manipulate, and optimize, companies may consider cutting offline media entirely.

Let me dive into reasons why ignoring traditional media could be a bad idea for your business.

Reason 1: Consumers Trust Traditional

As of December 2017, traditional media still holds the most trust and purchase influence over any other medium. Yes, you read that correctly: consumers have the most trust in print and TV marketing and find that those media provide the most purchasing influence. That’s huge.

While I expect online and social to creep up on this chart in the coming years, for today, they don’t reign supreme in most consumers’ eyes.

That means if you’re looking to influence consumers and want them to trust your brand, your product, or what you’re offering – consider TV or print.

Think about these media at all scales. You don’t have to create a Super Bowl television commercial to reach your TV audience. Also consider local and regional TV advertisements, too. You can also purchase smaller, more targeted spots that fit a specific niche for your audience – at a cheaper-than-Super-Bowl price.

Likewise, print can come in many forms, from a small ad in a local newspaper to a full-page color ad in a nationally-distributed magazine. Get creative when you think about how print can work for your audience.

Reason 2: You Can Track Traditional Performance

One main reason companies want to spend less (or nothing) on traditional media is because it’s difficult to measure impact.

The good news is, measuring performance with traditional media is possible.

Consider the following options for CTAs on your traditional pieces:

  • Vanity URLs with unique parameters – Use URL shorteners or custom vanity URLs to mask longer URLs that have UTM parameters. When a visitor accesses this vanity URL, Google Analytics can track that this person came from your traditional source.
  • Unique phone numbers by source – If possible, use unique phone numbers by source (or at least medium) in order to more specifically track the incoming calls into your call center.
  • Coupon codes unique to each piece – Create coupon codes unique to each tactic so that when used, you can track where the visitor grabbed it.

Couple this with any other metrics you receive from your ad provider, and you can begin to get some valuable data. Given the legwork upfront, you can measure the performance of traditional media and it can become an effective marketing medium for you.

Reason 3: You (May) Have Less Overall Competition

As mentioned earlier, digital is getting all the attention these days. The marketing gurus tell you to be on social, to blog, to run digital ads, to retarget, and to put your focus on digital platforms. It’s because of those reasons digital media is so inundated with competition.

With ad spends shifting away from traditional media, now might be the perfect time for you swoop in and try it out.

You can always start small, with a small ad in a newspaper, or dive right in and try a few billboard ads. There is no perfect answer here, but I do challenge you to take a second look at traditional, especially if it means your competition isn’t using it.

Final Consideration: What Marketing Mix is Best For Your Business?

A few things to note as a result of this data:

  • Consider your audience first before diving head-first into any promotion. Don’t just do it because it’s “what you should do”. Aggregated stats are great, but you need to know what your audience resonates best with.
  • Traditional might not work for your business. It’s not going to perform well for every business in every industry in every part of the world. Not every message makes sense in print, or on a billboard, or over the radio.
  • You may not have the budget for traditional media. That’s okay. Because it is often pricier than other media, don’t drop everything and rework your budget to include traditional (it could max your budget out entirely). Be practical with your spend and use common sense in order to find the mix that optimizes for conversions from your target audience.

Always consider your budget, your consumer, and your KPIs as you review your marketing plan, first. Then, if you have a little extra in the budget for traditional media that will hit the correct audience, don’t be afraid; try it out!

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