In our world where digital advertising has not only transformed the marketing landscape, but also overpowered traditional advertising methods, it is easy to discredit the effectiveness of the traditional marketing strategies that started the industry. A recent survey of chief marketing officers found that digital spending grew by 8.2 percent when comparing to the preceding 12 months, and comparatively, traditional advertising spending decreased by 8.2 percent in the same period. The rise in AI brings excitement of new tools to enhance strategies for media buying, planning and creation, but it is important to not abandon the ‘old school’ marketing strategies that started it all.
Here are five traditional marketing methods that can still appeal to consumers in 2023:
Direct Mail – In an era dominated by digital ads that are widely spread with similar messaging to everyone, direct mail stands out due to its personal touch, especially when the mail is strategically targeted. Knowing your audience is essential to gaining the benefits of using direct mail in your marketing, as some consumers will respond better to it than others.
For existing customers, a personal note or a brief summary of the previous product or service a consumer purchased can let the customer know that there is still another person on the other end while reminding them that they have a history with this brand or service. A positive previous experience combined with a personal touch in advertising can make a difference in retaining existing customers.
While personalization on mailers is down 4.3% YOY with QR code usage going up 46%, for new customers, adding something of relevance to consumers can go a long way when they compare brands and other ads they’ve seen. While direct mail is not guaranteed to be effective in purchasing decisions and companies these days are sending fewer direct mailers out, keeping a human touch in marketing efforts can go a long way to stack up against standard digital ads.
Print – Although print consumption has been down significantly since its prime, it still presents a way for advertisers to contextually target specific demographics and niches that still prefer the printed word versus reading on a screen. It’s not just older generations that still utilize newspapers to get their relevant news however, and while younger generations have adopted new sources of news and how they retain it, they haven’t given up traditional news sources completely, with 74% still tapping into traditional outlets weekly.
Researching and keeping up with your target audience demographics will always be beneficial for maximizing the success of your advertising methods. With print ads, it is even more important to factor in different audience demographic’s news retention. For consumers who trust and heavily use printed news formats, advertising in print can still bring results and drive sales.
TV/Radio – Despite the rise of streaming and internet advertising, TV and radio continue to reach a large audience across all ages. In terms of weekly reach, radio reaches 7.7 million more adults 18+ than its closest competitor, smartphone app and web, which solidifies its relevance in a digital advertising age. Television’s reach, while lower than radio still spans from as low as reaching 56% of adults 18-34 to as high as reaching 92% of adults 65+, which overall holds a lot of power for these two traditional forms of marketing that should not be overlooked.
What aids the success of your radio and TV advertising is creating engaging ads that stand out and appeal to your target audience without disrupting the flow of what they’re watching or listening to. Ads that are short, visual, and not overloaded with too much information are more likely to get the attention of consumers without making them feel annoyed by the break in their show, movie, or car music jam session.
Event Marketing + Referrals – Reflecting back on the benefits of personalization when marketing your product or service, having a physical presence at events and trade shows offers a unique opportunity for businesses to engage directly with their consumers. Attending events, conferences and tradeshows give the best of both worlds for business owners as they can display their products while creating a lasting impression to drive new consumers to their brand.
The pandemic may have set back the event world, but word of mouth marketing is still one of the most powerful advertising tools because it is inexpensive and builds trust and loyalty with customers while showcasing your concept. Whether introducing your brand at a conference or speaking with a client after they have had a positive experience with your concept, referrals from one-on-one conversations or experiences are a traditional marketing strategy that will continue to prevail and provide value.
Billboards/Outdoor – Visually compelling ads remain an effective way to build and increase brand awareness, especially in high-traffic areas. While there seems to be plenty of vacant billboards on highways, the outdoor ads that remain continue to get more creative with the amount of space given, and outdoor advertising is guaranteed to reach a large audience daily.
Compared to digital ads that are sent rapidly and change weekly or even daily, billboards give brands the opportunity to visually tell a part of their story that will stick with consumers until the board is changed. With more flexibility to include visuals that connect with audiences of different demographics, the focus becomes more about a design that can immerse someone in an image, key phrase, or relatable content like a pun about traffic or what’s at the next exit. An underdog of traditional marketing strategies, out-of-house advertising gives more adaptability and creativity without a need for constant upkeep.
Old-school marketing techniques are what built and innovated the advertising industry, and what sets each of these strategies apart is their ability to continue providing value despite new advances in marketing using technology and AI. While there is more research and analysis needed to carefully curate these forms of ads to reach the right audience, the benefits of personalization, human connection and ultimately widespread retention of your messaging will pay off and drive growth.
Nuno Andrade is the Chief Innovation Officer at Media Culture (www.mediaculture.com), is a digital media industry veteran whose experience spans more than 15 years. Prior to joining Media Culture, Nuno was the Southeast Media Lead at SapientNitro (now Publicis.Sapient), where he led engagements across ecommerce, financial services, and tourism. He has worked with clients such as L.L. Bean, Citibank, CapitalOne, and Visit Florida. As Chief Innovation Officer at Media Culture, Nuno specializes in bridging linear and digital media efforts within the agency while being responsible for the formulation of internal and client strategy.