Illustration of a typewriter and laptop for the Traditional Marketing Vs Digital Marketing article

Pointless debates are something that we at Fuel always seek to avoid. After all, time is money and all that. However, one topic that does come up time and again is whether ‘traditional marketing’ can be discarded to the annals of time? Does it still have its place in modern marketing campaigns that seem to be dominated more and more by digital channels? We have the traditional marketing vs digital marketing debate at least once a month and after the last time, I decided it might be worth writing my thoughts down.

I can’t speak for everyone at Fuel, but asking me to choose between traditional marketing and digital marketing is like asking which one of your children you love the most? Take my kids, really, please do (only joking…). My children are very different, they do different things well and they also have different weaknesses that they need to work on in life. But they all have a fundamental role to play in my life, and at times, they do come together to work in perfect harmony. And when they do, they blow me away!

It’s our long-held view at Fuel that marketers and businesses can ‘overthink’ marketing channels and their respective use. We prefer to focus more on the audience and the message. If you get these two factors right, you’ll have a winning campaign on your hands and Traditional Marketing Vs Digital Marketing doesn’t even need to enter into it. If you don’t, you simply won’t and no marketing channel you choose will change that.

Traditional marketing (I hate that term) channels can still deliver exceptional ROI, even in today’s ‘digital’ world. We have a large number of clients still enjoying the benefits of using broadcast and printed media along with other direct marketing activity. Nothing else really is able to catapult your brand into the real world quite like traditional marketing channels. That in itself is a really powerful marketing component that really shouldn’t be underestimated. The feeling that your brand is able to live and breathe beyond a digital screen will help build further rapport with your target audiences. One of the biggest changes in the traditional marketing arena in the last few years is the development of some fantastic ROI measurement and tracking tools that dovetail perfectly with digital analytics software.

These tools exist to help marketers plot the consumer journey from a whole range of digital and traditional marketing touchpoints to enable you to have a full picture of your brand relationship with your audience. Advertising powerhouses such as SKY TV have invested huge degrees of time and money developing incredible data-driven tracking software that allows you to execute some incredibly sophisticated targeting through SKY Adsmart and provide you with an analytic performance that compares with anything you’d expect through digital marketing channels. Thus given you the benefits of integrated targeting along with the kudos that brands can enjoy using traditional media.

This additional intelligence is incredible and allows you to execute campaigns that dovetail perfectly with your digital marketing activity. When used together in the right well the two will come together to take your campaign elevation to incredible levels. There is plenty of room and scope in the marketing sphere for all of these channels to come together perfectly. Just as you’d expect the brass, woodwind, string and percussion sections to produce the perfect symphony, your marketing channels should chime together for a beautifully executed campaign. So yes, digital and traditional can absolutely work in unison together, you don’t have to make a choice about which route to take. Where you can, use both.

OK, time for full disclosure. I spent the formative years of my advertising career working in the newspaper industry. I then followed that up with time spent working in broadcast media. In my time I have seen so many regional and national brands build their businesses and their reputations through these channels. These days any sane marketer would not even contemplate such a task without fully engaging in the use of the myriad of digital channels and opportunities at their disposal. Why would they? But, and here’s the big but, the one thing that traditional media channels will allow you to do is to truly stand out from your competition. Whilst your brand is occupying outdoor media boards, and your eyes and ears through tv and radio you are enjoying a solid, linear relationship with your audience, your competition are fully locked out of the beautiful moment when you may make your clients think, or smile or laugh. And that is something you can’t really replicate in the digital arena. That’s why there will always be a place at the table for traditional media channels, and also why we don’t obsess too much over the traditional marketing vs digital marketing debate.

Campaign messaging and targeting, now that’s a different matter altogether!