There’s a lot of buzz about digital marketing these days, but is it really more effective than traditional marketing? When weighing the value of traditional marketing vs digital marketing for a specific campaign, what factors should you consider?
If you’re a small business or non-profit, you may be struggling with these very issues. Most of our clients understand that digital marketing is important, but many wonder if digital marketing is really more effective than traditional marketing.
To help them (and you) consider all the options, below are three factors to consider when launching your next marketing campaign. Before getting to those, we give you some statistics that demonstrate the current value of digital marketing to your organization.
Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing: What Do the Numbers Tell Us?
According to Ad Age, digital advertising is set to overtake TV advertising in the next couple years, and will represent 36% of all ad spending by 2019. This is probably why 60% of marketers currently report that they are restructuring the way they do advertising to take advantage of new technologies.
But is digital really the best way to reach consumers? Consider the following facts:
- 81% of shoppers conduct research online before making a purchase
- 58% of U.S. adults are on Facebook
- 23% use LinkedIn
- 19% use Twitter
- 52% use more than one social media platform
As statistics like these demonstrate, there are literally hundreds of millions of people online every day in the U.S. These consumers are making use of channels that can be easily leveraged for marketing, and at a much more affordable rate than traditional marketing.
Below we describe three factors to consider when weighing traditional marketing vs digital marketing for your next campaign.
Factor #1: Audience
The first question we ask our clients when we start their first campaign is: who are you trying to reach? The next thing we ask ourselves is: where are those people? The third thing is: how can we best interact with them?
With traditional marketing, you do have a simple, demographic understanding of your audience. You can ask a venue like a newspaper for profiles on their subscribers. That’s where the data ends, however. Outside of asking new customers how they heard about you, you have no way of tracking:
- Whether people actually see your ad
- If do they see your ad, how they engage with it
- What actions they take, if any, based their encounter with your ad
With digital marketing, you can answer all these questions, however, and for every single campaign. Assuming that the types of people you are trying to reach are on a specific online venue, current technologies allow you to target, reach, and interact with your audience. And as the statistics above demonstrate: almost everyone is online somewhere these days.
Factor #2: Targeting
Besides finding and interacting with your audience, digital marketing allows you to target specific audience members in precise ways. Consider some of the following popular digital marketing venues:
- Google Ads
- Facebook Ads
- Small business and non-profit websites
- Regular posts on popular social media platforms
- Email newsletters
The main difference between these digital venues and more traditional ones such as radio, television, and print, is that you can target specific people. Rather than putting up an ad and hoping that the section of your audience you’re trying to reach sees it, with digital marketing you can put your message right in front of the people you’re trying to reach.
Google Ads, for example, appear when users enter specific keywords into a search engine. If you know how to properly set up these ads, you can be assured that the people who click on your ad are interested in the product, service, or promotion you’re advertising. You can also measure where they go on your website after they click on an ad or a listing in search engine results. Finally, all of these platforms allow you to segment your audience to some degree by age, gender, buying habits, and even physical location.
Factor #3: Cost
Another factor to consider when weighing traditional vs digital marketing is the cost. Dollar-for-dollar, digital marketing is much more cost-effective than traditional marketing.
Consider the following average costs for the above digital venues:
- Google Ads: $1-2 per click
- Facebook Ads: $1 per click
- Small business and non-profit websites: Once built, hosting costs as little as $10 per month
- Blogs: Free outside of time and effort
- Regular posts on popular social media platforms: Free outside of time and effort
- Email newsletters: Free outside of time and effort
It’s hard to beat that kind of pricing when it comes to any kind of advertising!
Don’t Be Afraid to Try Digital, But Traditional Can Be Useful, Too
We certainly don’t mean to argue that traditional marketing has no place in our society anymore. Many of our clients are still marketing in at least one traditional venue. Digital marketing is simply too powerful and cost-effective to ignore, however. Rather than spending the majority of their marketing budget on traditional ads and using what’s left over on a digital campaign, we typically advise our clients to do the opposite: to put their money in digital, first, and then to use any remainder on one traditional venue.
The balance you strike between traditional and digital marketing is ultimately up to you, but please consider factors like who you’re trying to reach, how you will target specific audience members, and the cost involved. When doing so, you will probably find that there are several digital marketing options that could be of real benefit to your organization.