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Traditional Advertising VS Digital Marketing

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What comes up often in discussions with my clients is “What do I do on the internet?” What clients may be used to is calling on “traditional” advertising agencies that have done most of their work in television, newspaper, magazine, radio, with a little PR. And the response they used to get when addressing their “digital marketing” was typically: “Oh, you can get a college intern to run your social media for you” or “The boss’s son is pretty good at Facebook, so have him help your company set up an ad or two” or “WordPress is like a free blog, so it really doesn’t matter.” But now digital marketing is expected by the clients, and more and more, offered by “Traditional” advertising agencies.

A Blending of the the Two Disciplines

When I tell clients that “digital marketing is all about value-added content” the client comes in, and sometimes they don’t have that “genius idea” for their marketing campaign.. and that is usually what Traditional Agencies are known for: creating that high production imagery with a creative and clever idea to sell the brand, product or service. There is now a blending of the the disciplines between “traditional agencies” versus “digital agencies,” where as the traditional agencies become strategic with the client’s needs, while the digital agencies execute the campaigns with thorough planning & execution required for digital solutions.

Two Worlds that can Work Together

In the Traditional Agency world, the brand/creative/idea is priority. The creative department brainstorms to imagine clever headlines and cool images. The skills they bring to the table are made up of account managers, copywriters, and designers. The principles usually come from a long line of advertising on billboards, radio, television, newspaper and magazines. Embracing the digital space is what innovative agencies are doing now. They do “ad buys” for time on TV, radio, and print.

In the Digital Agency world, content is king. Results and data are first cousins. Awards from Ad Week magazine aren’t as important as delivering their client results. The tools they use are: websites, mobile, SEO, content marketing, email, UX and UI research, social media, and analytics. They specialize in web interface and strategy, emphasizing the difference between value-based content and “sales copy.” Digital Agencies live and breath in new technologies, and the users are the target audience. They don’t just focus on website design, they do much more: monitor visitor behavior through web analytics, and use that info to focus on sales and conversions. They create and monitor online ad campaigns, laser target specific demographics and audiences through interests & behaviors, and find the most effective strategy for ad product, targeting, and placement.

Digital is Surgical, Targeted and Planned

Through SEO, social media, paid search, email marketing and mobile, brands can reach consumers on a targeted basis while tracking each campaign’s effectiveness at a granular level. This is where the traditional advertising gets tripped up. TV, radio and print may be able to provide basic demographics for the audiences they attract,  but digital is a specific audience reach mechanism, especially when it comes to successfully tracking, analyzing and optimizing campaigns to improve ROI.

Different Platforms Require Unique Strategies

The community of YouTube has grown in ten years to a billion users that now influence mainstream culture – more than any single TV network. You could say the same with Facebook across the entire globe. New platform channels spring up all the time, like Periscope and SnapChat, creating a thriving community online, each community with their own rules, guidelines, expectations, and language conventions.

You can’t just film your 30 second tv ad, and put it up on YouTube, then share it on Facebook and Twitter. You will be considered an imposter, a foreigner, a fake, and too salesy to have any clout and social proof that you care about your audience.

Each platform requires a “mini” campaign all to itself, as it blends with traditional advertising. A billboard ad for a car might include a mobile app for consumers to “pick a color” for example. An Instagram campaign might compliment a fashion magazine ad with some brilliant and colorful closeups of finer detail. A Facebook campaign might target the local reach of a brick & mortar building that just went through a re-branding and may be running some radio ads about their new “re-opening” at the store.

Create Value-Based Content and Promote a Campaign!

In conclusion, when shopping for some help with your marketing, what used to be considered “traditional agencies” are now blending their services to include digital marketing, along with the “traditional”  television, radio, and print. In the end, you want to hire brilliant and creative people that want to solve your business problem with genius ideas and imagery.

So when it comes to considering a well planned campaign with measurable results, take that “creative idea” and execute it on the web where your clients can be engaged, the relationships can be developed one to one, a community can be supported, and the results can be measured.

About Chip Souza

Chip has a special enthusiasm for helping small business start-ups and executing digital projects with fresh ideas. Chip can solve the Rubiks cube in under two minutes. He drinks a strong coffee, but not in a pretentious way. He especially likes short bio’s written in third person.