The Basics of Traditional Marketing: What is it and What’s it For?

Businesswoman calling someone

In 2017, over $290 Billion was spent on digital marketing campaigns worldwide, more than 40% of the market. With various businesses shifting their marketing efforts to be more digital-friendly, it would seem like traditional marketing is dead and gone. However, recent studies by marketing analysts say, don’t ring the death knell on traditional marketing just yet.

Although it now holds a smaller share, traditional marketing still accounted for 37% of the market, with companies spending over $170 Billion on television ads, print ads, posters, radio ads, and the like.

In fact, 2018 saw a 1.1% in spending for traditional marketing. This dispels the myth that traditional is dying, but rather, it reinforces its position as a viable method of marketing.

What is Traditional Marketing?

To understand why traditional marketing is still relevant in a digital-centric world, it’s best to understand what it is. In essence, traditional marketing is any marketing effort that doesn’t involve distribution via the internet. The purpose of traditional marketing is to disseminate information regarding a product or service, or to generate brand presence on a large scale. Generally, traditional marketing is divided into 4 categories:

  • Print Marketing
  • Broadcast Marketing
  • Direct Mail Marketing
  • Telemarketing

print marketing\Print Marketing is the oldest, most recognizable type of marketing there is. Any marketing collateral that is printed on paper, tarpaulins, or any other surface that can be displayed publicly can be counted as print marketing. It is simple, easy to deploy, and recognizable around the world. This type of marketing is usually seen on newspapers, magazines, posters, billboards, and the like.

Broadcast Marketing is any marketing effort that can be seen on television or radio.  While radio ads have been around since the early 1900’s, TV ads are the ones that cost the most, with ad placement costs going up to millions of dollars. Although they’re flashier and more entertaining, broadcast marketing collaterals have a short lifespan, with some ads only running for a few weeks or a couple of months before being replaced by new ads.

Direct Mail Marketing is the use of brochures, letters, postcards, or fliers sent to potential clients via mail. A famous example of this would be the Sears Catalogue, a direct mail marketing effort by Sears that started in 1888. This type of targeted marketing can be effective in drawing in a specific customer demographic, although it can get pricey with printing and postage expenses.

Telemarketing is one of the newer, albeit more controversial, type of marketing in the modern age. This type of marketing involves cold-calling clients via telephone and selling them services or products. Due to the somewhat aggressive tactics that some telemarketing companies employ, the government passed strict laws to regulate this industry.

Who Uses Traditional Marketing?

traditional marketingBecause of its flexibility and variety, traditional marketing efforts are still popular with most businesses, with some companies employing one type or a combination of traditional marketing efforts. However, most, if not all, the categories of traditional marketing require funds that might not be available for smaller businesses.

Despite the costs, however, some traditional marketing efforts are actually more cost-effective than full digital campaigns. Print marketing is still very popular with start-ups and small-to-medium enterprises because of its affordability, scalability, and permanence. This type of marketing also reaches customers who might not have access to the internet, and are effective in creating a brand presence on a local scale.

Broadcast marketing, on the other hand, is usually used by larger companies or corporations with huge budgets. Aside from production costs, broadcast ads also have to consider where they will air. Spots on TV channels can go up to tens of thousands of dollars, while a spot in special events can be in the millions (airing an ad during Super Bowl, for example, cost a whopping $5 million for a 30-second ad). Despite a steady decline of TV audiences over the past decade, TV ads are still highly effective and one of the most sought-after types of marketing.

Why Should I Use Traditional Marketing?

traditional marketingAside from the practicality of employing certain aspects of traditional marketing (like the cost-effectiveness of print ads), one of the most useful things that marketers can take away from it are values and principles that can help any campaign be more successful.

Traditional marketing is generally predicated on three principles:

  • Customer orientation
  • Integration of efforts
  • Profit objective

Customer Orientation basically means understanding the specific needs and issues of your customer base and building all marketing efforts around it. Integration of efforts means coordinating all aspects of your campaign, from R&D and design to accounting and creation, to implement collaterals that fulfill customer orientation. Finally, profit objective is the idea that your campaign should be able to satisfy customer needs in such a way that it profits your company.

While some of the deployment methods of traditional marketing might seem dated, these principles remain evergreen, even in the digital world. By applying these values to a marketing campaign, whether traditional or digital, marketers can optimize their collaterals to hit their target demographic in a personal way and encourages them to do business with your company.

Digital marketing might seem like its outclassing traditional marketing efforts by a large margin, but it’s still a viable practice that benefits companies large and small, and it is a discipline that gives marketers an opportunity to apply tried-and-tested values on campaigns modern and traditional.