Traditional vs digital media – which one should your business be using?

July 15, 2019

The media landscape is changing constantly. In fact, it always has; just when people were coming up with new ways to make content on radio, in came television, and as soon as everyone felt comfortable with black-and-white TV shows, Technicolor monitors became all the rage. Now, these changes happen a lot faster. By the time YouTube and Facebook hit its stride, there were so many other social media platforms taking up space, like Twitter and Tumblr. Now, Instagram and Snapchat dominate the global consumer’s imagination, so much so that you can’t imagine someone still picking up a newspaper or tuning into a local TV station. So many marketing managers and advertisers keep asking the question; should our companies be using both traditional and digital media? 




I’ll save you some time and make a long story short. Always, yes. But…sometimes, no. 

So, I know that didn’t make immediate sense, but it will in a moment. But for that to happen, I want you to think about this not from the perspective of a marketing manager, but as a consumer yourself. Ask yourself first, when was the last time you let yourself look at an ad. Chances are, unless it was one of those hilarious (and hilariously expensive) Superbowl ads that come out every year, you can’t think of one. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any – chances are there are a lot of them. It just means that you weren’t actively aware of them at the time. 

Digital media is transformational in large part because of how interactive it is. Consumers can literally reach out to brands at a moment’s notice with new ideas, rave reviews and even harsh criticism. It also means that there are more interesting ways that we can connect with them, and get real-time feedback on whether they are captivated with our products, services, or at least our advertisements. Additionally, consumers have all the power to decide how to look at our ads. And if there’s anything that you and I both know, it’s that we just don’t like looking at ads. 

When they pop up on our Google Chrome tabs or interrupt our YouTube videos, we wait no more than absolutely necessary to take them away. We get ad blockers or VPNs that keep them at bay (some folks go so far as to make entire web browsers, like Brave, that block ads for us), and if it’s an app on our phone that bombards us with advertising, we’re more likely to uninstall it than pay for an ad-free subscription. But there are still some places where ads play until the end, and where we expect them to – traditional media, like on radio and TV, as well as flyers and banners. 



 Source: Media InSite Ltd's - Advertising Monitoring Service.


It might seem counterintuitive that this makes people more likely to engage with your content, especially when people are leaning more and more to consuming all of their content digitally, but think about this – haven’t you seen that one banner or poster that, when you saw it, you had to stop and look again? Or what about that one full page newspaper ad that you thought was super cool? The thing about traditional media is, despite the urge to cut the ad short, we have to see it to the end, even if the entire experience is just a few seconds long. And, with a little creativity, that means that we can make sure they engage with our content, and pique their interest long enough to engage with our website and other digital media…and, most importantly, our products! 

Of course, there are some things that you can only do digitally, and sometimes that’s for the best! If you’re an interactive media company or your product is specifically for a digital audience, the last thing you want to do is advertise yourself on a non-interactive platform like television. At least, not unless you’re thinking outside the box to make it an interactive experience, and even then, it’s sometimes best to stick to the platforms that make that easy. I, for one, don’t ever remember seeing a newspaper ad for a video game. 

So, the answer is always yes – always think about how you can put your brand out there on traditional media that reels people into your brand – but sometimes no – make sure it fits the culture of your brand and the product you’re trying to sell. If you approach all your marketing campaigns that way, you’ll be surprised what interesting ideas cross your mind, and even more shocked at how many people end up noticing it too! 

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