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Comparing Traditional and Digital Marketing

The purpose of the article is to look at and comparing traditional and digital marketing and assess which is most appropriate for small businesses in 2016.

If you look through the local paper there will be loads of advertisements for local businesses but the question I always wonder about is how successful are they?

I say this as most of them are what you would call “brand adverts”.

That is they are advertising their name and probably what they do but little else. There’s no special offer, no benefits and no call to action.

What they’re trying to do is to get their name out there – to build brand awareness.

So what’s wrong with that – isn’t that what all the big companies do?

Well yes it is, but big companies have the benefit of people already knowing what they do and what they stand for.

Small businesses, like yours and mine, should be doing direct response marketing. Marketing that makes targeted special offers within a limited time frame and demands action.

To illustrate what I’m talking about I’m going to take a completely hypothetical example which I’ve just made up involving two local bakeries, who will fight it out on your local high street in the run up to Easter in a couple of months time.

“Cracking Cakes” goes the standard route of building brand awareness while “Simply Brilliant Bread” decides to go down the direct response route.

So this is what happens……………

“Cracking Cakes” decides to run a series of ads on the local radio and to take a series of quarter page ads in the local paper.

The ads look nice and pretty and talk about the wonderful smell of fresh baked bread and cakes, how good it is to know where your food comes from and how you should feel warm and fuzzy for supporting your local retailer.

However the ads say nothing about particular products and give no specific reason why anyone should buy from them in the run up to Easter.

Now the people in “Simply Brilliant Bread” take a very different approach.

They create a special seasonal product – a hamper filled with lots of festive products and then they create a digital campaign to support it.

They start by creating a web page featuring the hamper. Also on the page is a free download featuring several festive baking recipes.

To drive people to the sign up page, they create some banner ads and then some re-marketing ads which they target to local people.

They also do some Facebook advertising, tightly targeted at their key demographic of 30 – 60 year old mums.

They support this activity by emailing their database, telling them all about the special offer, with its cut off date shortly before Easter and then another series of emails, this time pushing the free baking recipes.

So there you have it – two very different campaigns.

So who makes the most money?

 “Cracking Cakes” will probably have generated a little extra business – a few people might have been motivated to go there just by being reminded of their existence but they haven’t given them any reason to take action and a lot of their spend will have been wasted on people not in their target audience .

“Simply Brilliant Bread” have been pretty clever.

They’ve targeted their audience precisely in a way which will avoid wastage, they’ve made them a seasonally relevant special offer with a built in cut off date and their messages have been delivered by extremely cost effective mechanisms.

So I hope you can see why this kind of business should avoid brand advertising and focus on direct response. Now this doesn’t in any way mean that I think all traditional forms of marketing no longer work. Direct mail, for example, probably works better now than ever.

Traditional advertising always had its drawbacks and nowadays there are so many better options than advertising.

If you want to see what direct response marketing can do for your own business get in touch by emailing me on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk , calling me on 01483 200387.