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Why traditional marketing still has a place in the digital age

As the world becomes increasingly digital, it’s easy to discount traditional marketing methods. Here’s why smart businesses aren’t making that mistake.

With the majority of Australians now getting their news, social and shopping fixes online, it’s natural for SMEs to focus their marketing efforts on purely digital channels. But that doesn’t mean traditional marketing is irrelevant.

In fact, small businesses that incorporate both digital and traditional methods can realise an even greater benefit when they combine the old with the new.


What kind of offline advertising is available?


It’s important to understand that while digital strategies remain an integral part of Australian small business marketing, many SMEs are combining both offline and online spend to create even bigger gains.

According to 2015 figures from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, online advertising now accounts for 41.3 per cent of total advertising revenue. This means offline marketing still makes up the majority of total advertising spend – so there’s plenty of opportunity to take a stake in offline channels.

Some of these include:

  • Local catalogues.
  • Magazines.
  • Local newspapers.
  • Television advertising.
  • Cinema advertising.
  • Brochures.

Beyond traditional channels, sponsoring local events and competitions can get your business a huge amount of recognition where it counts most. Even radio and billboards offer companies great exposure in local areas, without the costs associated with massive digital campaigns.


Is it effective?


There’s no question digital advertising is more sophisticated than ever, thanks to the rise of intelligent targeting techniques. But offline advertising also offers plenty of benefits.

For instance, outdoor advertising is flourishing. Primarily, this growth is due to businesses coupling traditional and digital methods. In the case of outdoor advertising, this includes placing QR codes on ads as a call to action, directing customers to a dedicated digital page where they can find out more about a product or brand.

In many cases, traditional marketing routes still exist but are being pushed through new channels. Radio, for instance, is now available as a streaming service, while YouTube offers viewers an alternative to broadcast television. These channels still show advertisements and present a solid opportunity for small businesses, which can create campaigns that are interchangeable between mediums (e.g. television and YouTube).


How to make the most of traditional advertising


When it comes to getting the most out of traditional advertising, businesses should ask the same question they ask of any advertising campaign: what do we hope to achieve?

If you’re looking for sales, it’s best to consider verified consumer behaviour. There’s a considerable amount of research to show that the majority of people will research products online before purchasing. In this sense, outdoor advertising should support a comprehensive digital strategy. Short, snappy messages that direct customers online may be the best use of outdoor or traditional advertising, like billboards and print ads.

It’s also important to consider where potential customers will encounter your advertisements. If they are placed on the street or in a doctor’s office, keep your style punchy and attention-grabbing. The same goes for direct mail campaigns, which present a real opportunity for SMEs. With people receiving less post than ever, there’s very little competition when targeting customers in this way.

Ultimately, traditional routes are an excellent way to generate goodwill. Sponsoring events like local barbecues or sporting competitions can strengthen your brand within a community. This level of personalisation and interaction is rarely achieved through digital channels, and shouldn't be overlooked.


Traditional advertising works best in tandem


For SMEs, making the most of all available channels to create a robust, impactful marketing campaign is essential. Keeping things simple and leveraging resources like American Express’ The Generator, a multi-channel marketing platform offering services like SMS marketing, press ad creation and data analytics, is one of the easiest ways to do this, and doubles as a single location to manage integrated digital and traditional campaigns.

After all, rather than looking at marketing methods as distinct channels, they should be viewed as avenues for effective collaboration – driving awareness and engagement in equal measure.