You often heard this debate among your colleagues, or between your boss and a new MBA graduate, discussing which advertising channel is more prominent. The one’s who were born before the dotcom bubble will be slightly more inclined towards the traditional styles and the later one will go for digital marketing. Apart from age, your budget also becomes a deciding factor in this case. Most of the small businesses will have budget for only one, not both. To clarify the terms, print ads on newspapers and magazines are examples of traditional marketing. It also includes your commercials both on TV and Radio. On the other side, leveraging social media like Facebook or LinkedIn for brand building constitutes Digital Marketing.
So, which is better among the two?
The conventional means of advertising are helping the businesses to sell for a long time. It’s a medium where you can convey your brand message loud and clear to masses. Since, most people are already exposed to this kind of strategy, so it can be easily understood. For instance, how big FMCG companies interact with large set of population through TV and radio commercials. But this style has its own downside.
Firstly, it requires big fat marketing budgets. For instance, a printed ad on any major newspaper generally cost a fortune to the company, similarly commercials between matches are very expensive.
Secondly, there is very little interaction between the medium used and the customers, so here you are just informing the audience with a hope that people get patronized by your brand.
Digital marketing. Just another one of those new, fancy buzzwords you should use to sound smart in meetings or is it the real deal? The worldwide spending on digital marketing is increasing at a rate of 40-45%, approaching $100 billion. So, it’s not just another buzz word.
But wait, what makes digital marketing so unique –
Effective Audience targeting – If you are selling a niche product in a developing country, then it doesn’t make sense to target the lower- or middle-class segment, rather just focus on upper class segment. Social marketing via Facebook or LinkedIn gives you such option to advertise in that effective zone.
Digital marketing is cost-efficient - Though some invest on paid ads online; however, the cost is still cheaper compared to traditional marketing.
Recordable results – With google analytics and various insights tools offered, you can check how your social media campaign is running and you can customize it on the go. Unlike traditionalmarketing methods, where you have no liberty to change your marketing strategy in between.
Level Playing Field – Digital marketing gives you an equal opportunity to compete with big players inthe market. At the end, it all depends on you, how your campaign lures the audience for your product or service.
Does this conclude that digital marketing is better than traditional marketing?
A 2009 study conducted by Bangor University used fMRI to study the different effects of paper anddigital media.
Some of their key conclusions were:
Physical material is more real to the brain: It has a meaning, and a place. It is better connected to memory because it engages with its spatial memory networks.
Physical material involves more emotional processing, which is important for memory and brand associations.
Physical materials produced more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater “internalization” of the ads.
Thus, both channels are complementing to each other i.e. one supports the other. Rather than taking an all or nothing approach, it appears that a multi-channel approach that leverages the unique benefits of paper with the convenience and accessibility of digital will perform best.