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For a brand to be successful, it needs to market itself – and do it well. Not breaking news I admit. Unfortunately, just because a particular marketing method worked five years ago – or even five months ago – doesn’t mean it will be effective today. And thus begins the battle of traditional advertising versus new media advertising – but new doesn’t necessarily mean better.
For a brand to stay on the cutting edge, it needs to keep track of both traditional and new methods of advertising – what’s working? What’s not? What provides the best return on investment (ROI)? And most importantly – which method can you use to build your brand?
Defining Traditional Media
For many years, traditional media had dominated the advertising marketplace. Coca-Cola commercials, car dealership radio ads, sales announced in newspapers, direct mail fliers and cold calling – if you wanted to reach your customer base, you had to go through one of these channels. This is also known as outbound marketing, as in you’re sending your message out to potential consumers – and hoping that they’re listening.
But technology and in turn, consumers, like everything else – evolve. People start cutting the cable cord. They’re listening to iPods instead of the radio. And as for print media? Mentioning its death is practically a cliché at this point. But before the battle to build your brand starts, let’s talk about new media.
Defining New Media
Search engine optimization. Pay per click advertising. Content marketing. Facebook campaigns. Twitter ads. Email marketing. And so on. While these methods have been around for a more than a few years, they’re still considered to be part of new media. This is also known as inbound marketing – the consumer comes willingly to the marketing channel and sees products (ideally) catered towards their taste. And yes I realize email marketing is very often looked upon as being both an inbound channel as well as outbound.
The problem with new media is that the best practices can change overnight. Google releases a search engine update and your SEO content isn’t effective anymore. Facebook decides you need to pay for people to see your posts. While new media is important, it has its drawbacks. So let the battle begin.
Building Your Brand
Building your brand through traditional media can be expensive – particularly if you’re looking to take advantage of television advertisement. The other major issue with using traditional media is that you can’t control who sees your ad. Sure, you can target certain TV shows, different radio programs, and particular newspapers, but there aren’t any guarantees.
Print media in particular struggles. Revenues of social media giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter have been on a continuous rise in the past several years giving a tough competition to print media. This hit on revenues has not only affected the news segments of print media, but the ad segments as well.
So let’s talk about using new media to build your brand. Cost-per-click ads can be highly targeted. Search engine optimization ensures the right consumers arrive at your website. New media, and inbound marketing, is based on the principle of pre-qualifying who sees your advertisement. You’re only showing your brand to people who are pre-disposed to be interested. As such, new media is dominating the old when it comes to revenue.
Google is taking in nearly a third of all digital ad spending in 2016 and expecting to generate $57.80 billion in worldwide digital ad revenue in this year which is an increase of 9% from the previous year. With this, the publishing industry in the US has continued to suffer as people cut their advertising budgets in print media in an increasingly cautious market.
Don’t Rush To Judgment
So while it’s clear new media is on pace to dominate platform building, don’t be so quick to dismiss traditional methods. Don’t stop using what’s already working – just recognize that outbound marketing efforts are going to become increasingly ineffective, and be sure you’re ready to use new media marketing to build your brand.
Bob Hoffman AKA The Ad Contrarian once astutely observed: “Marketers habitually overestimate the attraction of new things and underestimate the power of traditional consumer behavior.”
That was very much the case when it came to the now infamous PepsiRefresh Project. Back in 2010, the cola giant decide to forgo running an ad during that year’s Super Bowl, opting instead to pour millions of dollars into social media to support this unique campaign that provided millions of dollars of grants for charitable causes.
According to Hoffman the campaign cost the Pepsi-Cola brand over $350 million and when combined with the Diet Pepsi brand, a total close to a half a million dollars while also dropping the brand to #3 in the cola wars behind Coke and Diet Coke.
The headline for an article that ran in MediaPost in early 2011 said it all: Project Boosts Pepsi Brand, Not Sales which cited the fact that despite millions of impressions via social media, “total volume of Pepsi sales slipped 8.6% in the first nine months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009.”
A word that comes to mind after writing all of the above: Integration. Those who know me know I am the world’s biggest proponent of integrated marketing and this is a classic reason why. Do not put all your marketing eggs in one marketing basket. Or something like that.
This article originally appeared on Forbes