Marketing prior to the evolution of the internet was pretty straightforward… and limited. Print advertising ruled for years followed by billboards. Then came the electronic age with television and radio advertising. In the 90’s new media emerged and changed the game forever. Companies flocked to digital, specifically inbound marketing, often abandoning traditional marketing along the way.
Over the years smart marketers realized that marketing does not have to be one or the other, traditional or inbound. Those who got it right integrated traditional and inbound marketing to make a measurable and powerful campaign.
What is Traditional Marketing?
Traditional marketing includes television, radio, billboard and print advertising; everything other than a digital means for branding and selling products or services. There are two main advantages of traditional marketing. First is the potential for faster results for a longer period of time. Second, there’s an increased level of trust. This is somewhat due to the fact that traditional marketing can be expensive and the business is perceived as being superior simply because they can afford to market through these channels.
Traditional marketing is difficult to measure. Unless you are diligent with surveying your customers as to how they found you (which often doesn’t yield accurate results) you’re often guessing. Also, traditional marketing inherently doesn’t “interact” with the audience. It just provides a desired message as a one-way communication. The messaging is difficult to change quickly, limiting the ability to pivot and provide new communications when needed.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is meant to meet the customers where they are in the buying cycle and to provide relevant solutions to their needs.
This can be done via blogs, videos, e-newsletters, white papers, SEO, social media and other methods. These tools are used to draw potential customers to your website or similar channels to persuade them to contact your business. With inbound marketing you become the subject matter expert when they are ready to buy. By tracking your prospects you’re gathering critical data on their interests and buying habits.
Some drawbacks of an inbound only approach would be that it can take more time to see results and typically you’ll need to make several adjustments to the campaign as you go. It’s not a set it and forget it approach. Plus, it doesn’t carry the trust factor that you gain from traditional marketing. This may be the first they’ve heard of your company so conversion may be more difficult.
The Perfect Marketing Mix
The ideal solution for an effective marketing mix is to supercharge your traditional marketing with inbound marketing. The integration of the two marketing methods can eliminate some of the downsides while maximizing the best of both approaches.
For instance, almost every television commercial includes some sort of call to action. In the past this would have most likely been a phone number, which is difficult to track. Now you can get even more creative with your television campaign. Promo codes, unique landing pages and longer form videos can not only provide the viewer with targeted content but you’re taking a medium that’s difficult to track and making it significantly more measurable via web analytics.
Billboard advertising has taken advantage of multimedia offerings by adding digital boards. This takes a platform that had to be changed on a monthly basis to one that can be changed instantly providing timely messaging, offers and news. Radio is now delivered via the internet and apps in the form of Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio. Ads can subtly be delivered via audio and visually if listening through the web or app. Conversely, if your campaign is “inbound first” you can get more mileage out of your television ads by including them in your email newsletters, social or website.
Marketing plans are constantly evolving. By combining traditional and inbound marketing you can use the ongoing research to not only choose the best mediums to use but also the best workflows between the mediums to achieve the desired results. Now more than ever, the tools are at your disposal to make intelligent decisions about where to spend your marketing dollars so you can invest wisely and realize better results from your marketing campaign.
Contact us and discover all that’s possible with a marketing mix of both traditional and inbound.