It was this statement made by Lawrie Ferguson, chief marketing officer, Coast Capital Savings, at a recent Business in Vancouver marketing panel that inspired me to write this blog post. When I heard it, I thought, “yes! That’s exactly it! This is the definition of traditional versus social marketing.”
Traditional media is the term used to encompass conventional forms of advertising media such as television, print, radio, direct mail and outdoor. While social media includes innovative and contemporary digital media like the Internet, email, mobile, blogging and social networking channels.
Eyes and Ears
Traditional advertising is a form of marketing communication used to persuade an audience to take some desired action in relation to your product or service. The intention is to drive consumer behaviour by selling your product’s unique value propositions. Advertisers seek to increase consumption by telling and repeating the brand message to the target market. Advertisers control the message and their brand. It’s a show and tell exercise.
Traditional advertising is one-way communication. This has been the basis of advertising since inception, primarily driven by the limitations of the media used. From the time of the Egyptians using papyrus to make sales messages and wall posters to Indian rock paintings in 4000 BC, carrying over to the 20th century with the first radio stations in the 1920s, to commercial television in the 40’s and 50’s.
Hearts and Minds
New technologies developed in the 1990’s with the dawn of the commercial Internet, making digital and social media marketing technically possible; the era of engagement was born. Today, advertising is more about helping a potential consumer solve a problem, about listening to the needs and desires of the target market and engaging in a dialogue with them. Companies are creating an open, authentic conversation with their audience – building an emotional relationship and fostering trust. This has forced companies to become more transparent and accountable in fulfilling their brand promise. Consumers who value your product and company philosophy will become your own army of marketers – ambassadors of your brand. (A company called Girls Intelligence Agency employs 40,000 American girls to act as guerilla marketers. It gives them free products and everything they need to organize a slumber party with their friends to try it out, then it sits back and waits for the buzz to build. Source: The Economist) It’s about sharing control of your message and your brand with a community of consumers. This can be dangerous if the company sells crappy products because the world will know about it in short order – news travels fast on the information highway.
An integrated marketing approach
It’s important to stay on the forefront of technology, and I find using a mix of traditional and online marketing works well for me. ~ Geoffrey Murphy, Payfirma
Traditional marketing is not dead. In fact, an integrated marketing approach of both traditional and digital advertising methods is necessary for a better return on your investment. Each marketing media type has its purpose and objective within the marketing mix. For example: print advertising could be used for long-term brand awareness, while Twitter might be used for customer service dialogue, a radio campaign could advertise a time-limited offer, and search engine optimization used to drive new visitors to your website.
An integrated approach interlinks all of the activities in your marketing mix for a consistent message and unified approach. It’s not a one or the other question, it’s about putting together the best mix of marketing tactics in your toolkit based on your overall business goals, strategy and what you know about your target market. Matching your tactics to your objectives will give you best chance of reaching your intended results.
Don’t get caught up in the hype of new and emerging marketing tactics. Just because 40% of Canadians are social networkers (Source: Ipsos Reid) and your peers are telling you that you need to be on Twitter, it doesn’t mean you should. It may not be the right tactic for your product or your market. (By the way less than 1% of Canadian social networkers use Twitter)
Remember the basic principle of marketing: getting your product promoted in the right place for the right price to the right people at the best performance.