Is Traditional Brand Marketing Dead?

Typically when people think of Brand Marketing, the debate that follows is traditional vs. digital. Although digital has become more popular, companies should not stop traditional marketing completely.


With dwindling marketing budgets and focus on tracking “Return On Investment” (ROI), many organizations are moving toward digital advertising solely because it is cost effective, trackable and can be used to create a relationship with the consumer. Companies that only depend on digital may be missing an opportunity to use traditional channels that have proven effective and still have value reaching specific audiences.

Whether you prefer digital or traditional marketing, digital has definitely grown in popularity in the past decade because of the advancements in technology, the need to receive information immediately and marketing firms having to justify marketing spend.  Marketing directors are required to provide hard numbers to prove marketing strategies are working before their budget is approved for future marketing initiatives. This makes digital marketing more appealing because it allows one to measure success, provide analytics and get more insight into how people are interacting with their brand.

Traditional marketing including print, TV, radio and direct mail are difficult to track. Companies cannot go into Google Analytics and see how many people opened their direct mail piece, see how many people viewed their commercial or find out how long someone looked at their flyer, but there are ways they can track traditional marketing campaigns. Marketers can use a unique phone number or create a unique landing page and reference those on their traditional marketing piece; this gives the marketer an opportunity to track success.  When using traditional marketing it is crucial to keep open communication with sales teams to determine how prospects are hearing about their service or product. If you can’t prove your marketing strategy is working then what’s the point in spending time, energy and money on it?

billboardTraditional marketing is not as interactive as digital marketing, but when companies create a printed piece they can add a digital call to action which allows them to track the success and have more interaction. For example, a print piece could include a QR code or a billboard may urge visitors to view their website and enter their sweepstakes.  When these two marketing strategies are used together they can reach a broader audience. Keep in mind marketing teams need to do their due-diligence to research, study and understand their target audience. When information is gathered about companies target audiences including ages, values and buying habits, marketing teams can put a targeted strategy together to reach these groups and create content that resonates. Each generation has different values, experiences and ideas and it is important to understand how each generation reacts to and responds to different types of media (traditional & digital).

 Traditionalists (born between 1925-1945)

  • Becoming more tech savvy, but less responsive to web and mobile marketing
  • More likely to respond to traditional media campaigns like print or face-to-face
  • See themselves as an active and independent
  • Value discipline and have traditional beliefs
  • Like to be acknowledged for their service and country

 Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964

  • Stay away from referencing retirement or growing older
  • Embrace print and digital media
  • Desire products that will make their life easier
  • Gather information so they can make their own decisions
  • Will search for the best deal

 Generation X (born between 1965-1980)

  • Tech-savvy – digital marketing is effective
  • Respond to direct mail and word of mouth
  • Need to see it to believe it, trust actions over words
  • Take into consideration the opinions of their peers

Generation Y or Millenials (born between 1981-1999)

  • Welcome humor, creativity and images
  • Prefer video heavy campaigns
  • Respond well to email marketing, blogs and content marketing

Generation Z (born from 2000 – Current)

  • Extremely Tech Savvy
  • Social – comfortable with sharing personal details and information
  • Multitasking
  • Want instant gratification
  • Short attention span – information must be delivered in fast, quick bursts to be understood
  • Respond well to email, mobile, you tube, blogs

The one thing that makes these generations alike is they are all human. Even though each age group has different beliefs, experiences, behaviors and embrace technology differently, they all have the same hopes, fears, emotions and needs. Everyone appreciates straight talk; no one wants to spend time interpreting long and complicated messages. Shoot straight with authenticity, honesty and transparency and keep your parents, your kids and your own values, experiences and tendencies in mind!



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