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A few days ago, I googled “the death of traditional marketing” just for fun and I must admit I was surprised.
Even though I knew that “marketing experts” keep telling us that the traditional means of advertising are dying, the fact that there are thousands of articles on this topic still surprised me.
The Death of Traditional Marketing
The Death of Advertising as We Know It
The Slow Death of Traditional Marketing
Traditional Advertising is Dying a Slow and Painful Death
The Lingering Death of Traditional Media
These are just some of a bunch of fatalistic headlines I stumbled upon during my research.
And, I felt like I entered some post-apocalyptic, never-ending circle of repeating stats and statements, all highlighting the same. Digital marketing is cheaper, highly targeted, easily measurable. As such, it is going to put an end to traditional advertising soon.
But, here’s a fun fact- some of these articles proclaiming the death of traditional media date back to 2010. Still, the last time I checked, traditional marketing was still alive and kicking.
So, were all these people wrong? Does this mean that offline marketing will survive the invasion of digital marketing techniques?
Let’s find out!
What do the Stats Say?
When comparing digital and traditional advertising, most marketers emphasize that digital ad spend is going to surpass the TV ad spend soon.
And, that’s true.
Some recent statistics show that, in 2017, digital ad spend jumped to $209 billion worldwide (41% of the market), as opposed to TV ads that reached only 35% of the market. Moreover, digital ad spend will keep growing steadily in the next few years and is expected to reach 50% of the market by 2020.
But, there are a few reasons why digital ads will never be able to completely replace traditional advertisement.
Here are a few facts you need to keep in mind.
- People are still watching TV, listening to the radio, and reading newspapers massively.
- All major players invest heavily in offline marketing when building their high-budget campaigns.
- Traditional marketing targets wider audiences and builds trust, as it is here for quite some time.
- Not all your customers use search engines and social networks. Studies have found that there are still over 4 billion people who aren’t online.
- People don’t like aggressive digital ads. HubSpot says that 91% of people say ads are more intrusive today than two years ago. And, as a result, the number of users worldwide downloading Adblocker Plus has reached 300 million in 2016, costing publishers more than $22 billion.
- Not all digital ads are targeted. In one of his posts, Mark Ritson describes online ads as “Google’s highly stupid and imprecise advertising” and that’s true. People don’t install adblockers because they want to get rid of all ads. They want to eliminate those that have nothing to do with them. The HubSpot’s report mentioned above claims that 77% of consumers would rather filter their ads than completely block them.
- Traditional advertising is easier to process mentally. Canadian neuroscience researchers found that offline ads require less cognitive effort, meaning that they’re easier to remember.
We Need to Put an End to This Hyperbolic Approach to Marketing
In light of the statistics mentioned above, it’s clear that offline marketing is still far from perishing forever.
This industry may not be making any notable progress, but there is still a big difference between “dying a slow death” and simply “becoming less powerful.”
And, this is just one of the numerous examples of how the term “death” has been misused in marketing. Today, we’re witnessing the death of everything. Almost any brand, product, or idea out there is reported to be dying.
Google is dying.
LinkedIn is dying.
Facebook is dying.
Not to mention Twitter.
But, why are we still using these marketing clichés?
I’ll cite Ritson once again, as he managed to describe this trend in the marketing industry beautifully in just a few sentences:
“We have become a doom-laden profession, applying imminent death to almost everything we see, feel and touch for too long and it’s getting kind of embarrassing”.
This is a wake-up call for us all. When discussing the state of traditional marketing in the following years, we should take a look at actual statistics instead of exaggerating them. There is no need for hyperbolic declarations and overstatements, especially not in the industry that heavily depends on actual trends and relevant data.
Instead of Killing it, Merge it together with Digital Marketing
Your main priority as a marketer is to get in front of the wider audience and, at the same time, grab the attention of the people that are really interested in your products. And, to get the most of this strategy, you shouldn’t observe your digital or traditional marketing in an isolation. These two methods are not diametrically opposed. On the other hand, they represent two sides of the same coin and that’s why you should merge them together.
Here are a few strategies you may like:
- Promote your online presence via traditional marketing channels. For example, add your website address, social media profiles, and hashtags to your promotional items, TV ads, billboards, or flyers.
- Use QR codes or short links to guide your customers from print to digital. Add them to your business cards, poster design, storefront displays, direct mail, flyers or branded products to take your customers to a certain landing page.
- Share user-generated content (UGC) to build trust, boost brand awareness, and customer engagement.
- Promote offline events via social networks. Make sure you keep your customers engaged prior to the event, during the event, as well as after the event.
Over to You
The moral of the story is clear- we need to get rid of these apocalyptic estimations as soon as possible.
The rise of new technologies doesn’t necessarily mean the death of their pre-existing counterparts.
And, there is a myriad of examples to back me on this.
The TV was expected to kill radio, but it didn’t.
The rise of ecommerce didn’t destroy brick-and-mortar stores. Many customers feel more comfortable to visit physical stores when making purchases.
Online books have gained a huge popularity, but they didn’t hurt the existence of paper books.
The same goes for traditional marketing.
Not only that it won’t die but it may even start evolving faster to stay relevant.
Hope this helps!
Guest Post: Emma Miller is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree she started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and latest business trends.