Do we need a new name for ‘traditional media’? It’s an unfortunate name, really. Traditional media implies stuffy, old, boring and even ineffective. And with an entire generation of young adults bucking anything labeled traditional, it makes the case for traditional media even more challenging.
What is considered traditional media?
Traditional media generally defines the advertising we’ve seen for almost 100 years:
These forms of advertising can be both broad and targeted in their messaging and reach. Each medium has its own set of generally accepted rules – and even stereotypes. Here are a few common misconceptions:
- Television is overly expensive and producing it is outrageous.
- Radio is dying and is for impulse purchases only.
- Billboards are pollution and rarely read.
- Print is a waste of time and paper.
There’s no doubt that the growth of digital media has opened up the door to powerful new options. Countless options, in fact. We’ll discuss that more. But at HS, we’ve found one advantage of so-called traditional media is creative flexibility.
The rules are generally the same: stay within the space or time limit and don’t be obscene. Think about what a wide-open canvas that provides. When used properly with a well-executed creative idea, traditional can be anything but traditional. A positive side effect of its perceived expense, is that it also elevates advertisers as serious players who mean business.
Digital media and its many forms
Digital media refers to any type of ad or content delivery online, by mobile or device. If it’s encoded and seen on a device – of any kind – it’s digital. And it takes many forms:
- Display ads
- Search ads
- SEO and SEM
- Directory rankings
- Social media
- Social media ads
- Streaming audio
- Pre-roll video
- Retargeting ads
- Native content
- Blog and Vlog
- Email marketing
- Text and SMS marketing
This is just to lump together a few. One thing that’s really exciting about digital media and digital marketing is that it’s highly targeted. Facebook advertising, for example, allows advertisers to precisely target very specific interests, demographics and locations. If you’re looking for yoga enthusiasts, under 40 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, there’s a way to target them.
Digital is powerful for many other reasons too. It reaches buyers or consumers wherever they are in their buyer’s journey. It’s very easy to turn off and turn on, analyze responses and show proof-of-performance. It’s also easier to switch out creative and test multiple messages.
It comes with its drawbacks too. So many of the platforms we spend time on – Twitter, Instagram, Gmail, YouTube, etc.- are free to users. That means the price of free is that they are constantly changing, evolving and reworking their interfaces. This can prove a bit frustrating to anyone placing digital media or an “old school” type just dipping their toe into the digital water.
Digital can also be a bit more restrictive creatively. Character limits, smaller spaces, restrictions on image to text ratios and more. Step out of line on various platforms or search engines and advertisers can get penalized.
Keeping up with the digital technology and best practices is one area HenkinSchultz’s digital team can really help.
We don’t believe in either/or choices
One thing we’ve seen a lot of through the years is a reactionary shift of dollars. Small businesses with tighter budgets drop things like print advertising in favor of digital. Generally, the digital expenditure is easier to swallow for smaller operators. Again, it’s easy to turn off when some months don’t positively cash flow.
For some, this strategy makes sense. But HS doesn’t believe it is an either/or choice. Once the endorphin rush from a ‘like’ or new follower goes away, we still must convert a view to a lead to a purchase or action. HS does this with many clients who sell both online and in-store.
When budgets allow, traditional and digital work extremely well together. Ideally they should be used to support each other. Traditional for larger scale branding and awareness messages. Digital for hyper-targeted messaging, offers, time sensitive promotions, etc.
Our traditional and digital buyers each have different expertise, but they don’t work in silos. Each media plan is a collaboration.
“Traditional Media is great at talking to a broad group that all consumes the same message and share their perception of that experience.”Paul ThomsponMedia Buyer
This leads to cultural imprinting of a product and how we are perceived when we use it.
Our choices to use an iPhone or Android, drink Bud Light or Coors Light, wear Nikes or Adidas all come with preconceived cultural associations based on shared messages viewed in ad campaigns.
At the same time, digital media has the very powerful ability to hyper-target your specific customers and start one-on-one conversations with them. You have the flexibility to react to how they respond to your message and optimize it. This helps maximize your chances to convert these interactions into sales.
“If Traditional Media has already imprinted a positive brand message to your customers,” adds Digital Marketing Director Emily Sorenson. “The likelihood that the digital one-on-one conversations convert to sales increases exponentially.”
If you’d like help with your digital or traditional marketing, contact HS today.