We’ve reached the second half of the second decade of the 21st century and the third millennium. To many folks, that led to the expectation that things have changed, because it’s natural to think of human history as a continuous line of progress from old to progressive. The world of advertising is no different, with marketing companies and individual businesses alike in discussions about how modern advertising must adjust to new technologies and techniques while reconsidering old ones.
Typically, this relates to the new emergence of social media and constant internet access that the average consumer has and how the information being delivered to them through these new channels can influence their buying habits.
A World at Your Fingertips
Today, over 63% of Americans now own a smartphone, a massive increase from the 35% share just five years previously. Tablets clock in at just under half the population at 45%. The young are, as one would expect, the most likely to have a smartphone with 86% of 18-29 year olds being in possession of one, but older generations aren’t to be sniffed at either. Of the 30-49 age bracket, 83% possess a smartphone. Nearly 9 in 10 of households earning $75,000+ annually also have a smartphone.
The rise of the smartphone in the last decade has its effect on other media devices. Within the past few years, only smartphones have seen a significant rise in use. Even PCs and laptops have seen a decline in sales, as smartphones offer a more convenient vehicle for uses that computers used to provide, such as accessing the internet or engaging in social media. PCs are now typically used for more specialized tasks that phones and tablets don’t have the power to handle.
In response, many advertising campaigns have started to rethink their marketing strategies to take into account that many people now use their cell phones as the principal device for their day to day activities. The growing prevalence of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the spread and exchange of information has also not gone unnoticed.
Subsequently, every marketing campaign worth the money being invested in will try to engage with social media on some level. Ten years ago, no business that wanted to be taken seriously would have been without a website. Now, no business that wants to be taken seriously is to be seen without a page on Facebook, a Twitter feed, or a Youtube channel (preferably they’d have all three at the very least). Simply having them is not sufficient either – the pages and channels must be constantly and actively used to ensure that they are relevant enough for people to take notice of them.
Businesses that can successfully use social media advertising can very quickly find their consumer share increasing steadily, especially as social networking allows satisfied customers to easily share their experience with friends and the general public, and in their own fashion.
Perhaps the biggest strength is also this: internet marketing is cheap, easy to do, and can access millions of people literally overnight. So for businesses who don’t have the capital to invest in a more ambitious TV or radio advertising campaign, or the costs of printing flyers and posters, advertising through the internet may well be their only viable option. It’s very easy and cheap to knock together a social media campaign.
But does that mean there’s no room for traditional media anymore?
Old But Gold
The danger of a modernist mentality is the tendency to discount things simply because they’ve been around for a while. There’s a mind-set that assumes something that was being used in your father’s or grandfather’s day could not possibly continue to be relevant to your children today. Like most assumptions, it’s often inaccurate and restrictive.
Traditional media nowadays are usually considered to be things such as:
• Posters and leaflets
• Signs and billboards
• Newspaper, radio, and TV ads
• Business cards
• Branded products such as coffee mugs, mouse pads, pencils and calendars
The danger here is to assume that because social media is popularly used, the above methods should be discounted for fear of seeming unmodern or wasting money in a campaign with low return. The truth is, however, there is still a very important place for them, and neglecting them will actually cause far more harm than gain to your advertising efforts.
For example, consider shop signs. You can have a flashy internet banner, an active and widely followed social network, and possess a very dynamic and proactive online presence, but that means nothing if no one can actually see your store. Shop signs are necessary to actually show where you are physically in the world and can often be the final make/break influence on a customer’s decision to patronize your business. An unappealing sign can quickly destroy all the work your online advertising may have achieved. In addition, flags are a traditional marketing tool that still work. Business owners can build a flag with a logo or design that advertises the business while attracting attention.
Also, more Americans are actually watching TV than they did before. Technically, TV’s are 20th century but still remain a common and almost necessary household item. TV campaigns still have the capacity to reach millions of Americans in their own home and are a great tool for marketing campaigns.
Further, there is one major problem with the internet for advertisers – it’s highly personalized.
Users are very often irritated by online marketing methods. The majority of tactics, such as advertisements on Youtube, banner ads on websites, or (worst of all) pop ups are widely loathed by the average internet community. They’re intrusive, distracting, and interrupting. Many have thus turned to various apps and programmes designed specifically to block adverts while browsing online. Thus the very appealing video you’ve submitted for Youtube advertising may very well not be seen because people don’t want to see it, and even those without AdBlock may just choose to skip the video.
Likewise, internet advertising only works if people are actively looking for your store or the services it provides. For those who are just out and about on the street, you’ll need traditional marketing techniques in order to make conversions. Many customers may not have even considered visiting your business until they see your advert in the paper or your billboard on the highway. Even something as simple as a prominent shop sign can pull in a fair amount of customers you may not have otherwise gained.
In With The Old and The New
The most successful marketing campaigns are those that can successfully combine the best of both worlds and intelligently adapt to cope with different situations and scenarios. This helps you to avoid the weaknesses of both new and old advertising techniques while being able to benefit from their strengths. Diversity in advertising is often better than purity.