At its core, marketing is anything that your small business does to promote itself in the hopes of increasing sales, revenue, and exposure. Marketing covers all sorts of tactics, including but not limited to: publicity, sales, merchandising, social media, distribution, and advertising. With the development and boom of the internet, marketing has diverged into two separate categories: traditional and online marketing. Although both techniques should be essential to your small business’ strategy, knowing your target market(s) will help you better understand which avenue to depend on more heavily. Traditional marketing mainly refers to any type of promotional tactic used before the internet. These approaches include printed promotional materials such as brochures or catalogs (a.k.a. collateral), television, radio, direct sales, mail, and print advertisements (billboards, magazines, coupon books, shopping carts, etc.). The following benefits of traditional marketing will help you understand why some of these practices are still very relevant in the digital age.
No. 1: Traditional media may be the only way to reach a segment of your target audience(s). If your small business’ target market includes senior citizens and Baby Boomers, then it will be absolutely necessary to market your brand on traditional channels. These groups are adopting and utilizing social media and the internet at a much slower rate. For them, the internet is not a familiar place. Try to think of other niche segments of your brand’s audience that are not active or present online. Clever and traditional tactics will be the only way for your business to reach them.
No. 2: Direct selling establishes in-person contact. With certain products and services, direct selling remains the most effective tactic. This particular approach allows for presentations or demonstrations that a potential customer can witness firsthand. It also establishes direct contact between the business and the consumer, which is something that is slowly phasing out as the world becomes increasingly digital-driven. This type of marketing might not be as prevalent anymore, but if done right with a modern spin, it can put a face to your brand and create trust for your business instantly.
No. 3: Traditional marketing offers consumers tangibility. Similar to in-person contact and communication, traditional methods often provide hard-copy materials. Though more expensive, there is something to be said for printed materials that customers can return to time and time again at their own leisure. There is something timeless about them. The print medium allows your audience to access your brand on the go in the form of brochures or business cards. These materials are also very useful when your business attends events such as expos, trade shows, or seminars, giving your audience space to revisit your brand again when they’re ready.
No. 4: Traditional marketing doesn’t require that your business’ audience is highly engaged on social media or the internet. Although internet and mobile use continue to rise, there are still niche audiences that aren’t online as much and thus can’t be targeted solely through this channel. As this gap closes, it will still be important to know what media (other than digital) your target market consumes, as well as the information they’re looking for. If you find more of your audience transitioning to digital media, it will still be critical to understanding their habits and questions, but your content will need to be less general.
No. 5: Traditional methods are less demanding of your precious time. As online marketing continues to become more prevalent and necessary, it’s important for your small business to remember that traditional methods may cost more, but they are far less time-consuming than online efforts, which can’t be fully outsourced. Digital marketing includes everything from a continuous content output, updating your website’s user experience, and responding to online comments and reviews. On the other hand, traditional marketing can be taken care of by an agency or local print shop. Some marketing experts suggest applying the 80/20 rule to your small business’ marketing efforts. This means devoting 80% of your budget to online marketing, but setting aside 20% for traditional marketing methods.
No. 6: Because traditional marketing is more controlled, it’s easier for your business’ brand to remain consistent. With so many platforms online, it can become tricky for your brand’s message or image to remain uniform. This is why it’s especially important to pay attention to your business’ online listings and website content. However, this is less of an issue with traditional marketing, since the production of these materials is often heavily controlled by a third party (newspaper, magazine, ad agency, radio station, etc.) to satisfy both you and the outlet. No matter how much exposure your brand receives, it will not help if your audience can’t recognize your name or logo, so consistency is key.