Many people think traditional marketing is dead. And they may be right, if you’re thinking only of that pushy obnoxious salesman. Otherwise, even advocates of digital marketing recognize the relevance of the conventional methods, especially if used in conjunction with online strategies.
While some traditional marketing methods have seen a decline in usage, others are still going strong. Radio and television ads are expensive, especially for small business owners, while signage, posters, flyers and billboards are still present. But, unlike the paper-and-ink of old, they have evolved and become more sophisticated as tools design aids are created.
Signage materials today include digital photos mounted on frames and lighted at night. Digital signage displays have moved on from the stationary walls and exteriors of buildings to mobile taxis and buses, reaching a wider target albeit still within physical boundaries.
Billboards are now giant LED screens although there are still many that utilize images printed on canvas, or painted on by an artist. Decades ago, they used to line the highways all over the United States, so much so that their ubiquity annoyed the president and led to a US law to control their presence. Billboards use more images and less text. A compelling photo will raise awareness of a brand and persuade the viewer and the company’s website underneath points the prospective client to go to the internet for more information. These large signs that refuse to be overlooked will probably never become obsolete because they reach all social classes, from professionals to the illiterates, to all ages and genders.
Direct mail is making a huge comeback. It was bound to happen as people are sick and tired of being bombarded with emails in their inboxes and will be pleasantly surprised to get old-fashioned snail mail in their mailboxes. Mails should be creatively made and designed, and targeted to a specific audience. A study by a science-based marketing agency found that direct mail is more easily understandable and more influential in getting the reader to act on it. When participants were asked, brand recall was higher in those who had received direct mail (75%) than those exposed to email (44%.)
Some industries use unique types of direct mail which has been found to have a higher percentage rate of response from recipients. For a real estate investor, yellow letters sent to pre-identified individuals work more effectively than the usual typewritten letter on bond paper. They use actual yellow legal pad papers and are handwritten, thus making them more personal. Content is straight to the point and essential information about the sender is included.
Flyers and brochures handed out to customers who come into a brick and mortar establishment or to people on the streets or in the mall announce special offers and discounts. They are great for small businesses to spread information and is targeted at local consumers only. Business cards are a form of marketing that introduces the business to the client directly. Today there is LinkedIn, the digital business card. It is international in scope but the printed version allows face to face meetings, raising brand recall.
Traditional marketing today remains relevant in spite of the onslaught of digital methods and their ever-increasing popularity with companies and consumers. Here are some of the reasons why marketers still use them:
Traditional marketing has been used for years. Radio and TV ads, printed ads in newspapers and magazines, direct mail in mailboxes, billboards and signages – these are things people are familiar with and do not need to exert extra mental effort to understand them. This holds true especially for baby boomers and mature people who were born before the internet age. These two generations also have better purchasing power than most young adults, so it makes sense to capture their attention and influence them to buy.
Other traditional methods such as networking at events, referrals and cold calls use face to face interaction. The human interchange is a very powerful medium towards closing a sale.
Traditional marketing makes use of tangible, physical material. The brain sees paper and canvas as “real” and information on them is committed to memory better. Hard copy is also easier to retrieve than trying to remember a page from the millions of pages on the internet.
Mail and business cards elicit emotional responses and are absorbed internally more than text on a screen. Obviously, it depends on the recipient, because everyone responds to message mediums differently. Some people absorb text best, while some prefer graphics, some prefer video and some like audio.
So, for the doomssayers out there, don’t hold your breath. Traditional marketing is alive and well.