Even if you aren’t an adopter just yet, you’ll undoubtedly be aware of the extent to which digital dominates across organizations and industries. 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases, while 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphone. As organizations acknowledge the benefits that digital can bring, they are continuing to allocate an increasing proportion of their marketing budget to digital channels.
What does this mean for traditional marketing? In our 2016 Digital Skills Report, an attitudinal survey discovered that 40% of UK marketing professionals expressed doubts about their job security, with Irish and American marketers in agreement that digital marketing advancements may leave them redundant.
Digital may dominate, but we would argue that traditional marketing is no less important, and is in fact essential if you want to effectively execute an integrated strategy. Below, we’ve listed the traditional marketing skills you should still be using, regardless of whether you’re adopting offline or online channels.
Strategy and Planning
Despite the potential that digital possesses to effect positive change and generate demonstrable ROI, only 50% of organizations have a digital marketing strategy. A further 16% do have a strategy but haven’t yet integrated it into their marketing activity. This is indicative of the fact that, although marketers can undoubtedly benefit from instant implementation and accelerating automation, they very rarely take the time to structure and document their approach.
This is a fundamental mistake – if marketing professionals fail to capture a cohesive digital plan, they will find it infinitely more difficult to measure the performance of that plan. Without the requisite data and valuable insights, marketers struggle to optimize and refine their digital activities, which in turn can have a negative impact on conversion rates and ROI.
Only 50% of organizations have a documented digital marketing strategy.Tweet This
The value of traditional marketing is that it is rooted in organization and planning. For example, you can use a traditional marketing strategy principles such as the 4 P’s as a starting point on which you can build a marketing mix that best suits your organization’s purpose.
Setting high-level objectives, defining your target customer personas, and documenting every tangible step is the most practical method for guaranteeing strategy success.
Content marketing may seem like a relatively recent digital innovation, but its origins lie in a traditional marketing skillset that keeps your target audience engaged. Whether it’s a TV commercial, a print ad, or a promotional email, marketers need to be able to craft a compelling, convincing story to ensure that their brand is front of mind.
Well-written, articulate copy has the power to connect an organization to its readers while simultaneously conveying a brand’s unique characteristics and identity. Effective copy is clear and succinct, and anticipates a customer’s needs rather than focusing on the brand’s own Unique Selling Points. A conversational tone can also help to humanize the brand, mirroring the power of peer-to-peer recommendations.
Outdoor apparel store Moosejaw are incredibly adept at creating persuasive, humorous, on-brand copy that engages their audience and also promotes their products in a memorable fashion.
Although this copy is for an online ad, it could just as easily be used on a billboard, demonstrating the transferable, flexible nature of copywriting. As the digital industry continues to evolve and innovate, it may seem like a non-essential soft skill when compared to the highly technical facets of SEO and the entirely data-driven design of analytics tools.
Admittedly, the ROI of traditional marketing tactics can often be difficult to measure, but when executed in an original, creative way, a billboard or television ad can be just as eye-catching as any online medium. This is why copywriting is just as important in both digital and offline contexts.
Event marketing is another traditional marketing technique that has been adapted for what is now a predominantly digital landscape. Webinars, live podcasts and Twitter chats are all promoted in the same way a conference or offline networking event would be. Similarly, they all share the same purpose – to stimulate engagement with potential and existing customers.
Events have the ability to make an unforgettable impact and can help you to achieve your business goals. They have the potential to be a physical extension of your brand, an opportunity to connect customers with the humans behind it. With this in mind, it’s interesting to note that 83% of B2B marketers are heavily invested in events, and approximately 20.5% of marketing budgets are allocated to both physical and online events.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2B organization, whether you are an entirely digital marketer or incorporate some traditional techniques, event marketing is an essential skill. Besides customer engagement, it can help you to generate leads, build brand awareness and educate your target audience about your products and services. If the events are offline, they can provide you with invaluable face-to-face interaction. If the events are online, they can inordinately extend your reach. Either way, if you infuse your events with your brand’s personality and a strong sense of creativity, they will serve as a powerful promotional tool.
20.5% of marketing budgets are allocated to both physical and online events.Tweet This
As offline and online, digital and traditional continue to merge at an incredibly rapid pace, PR is yet another crucial skillset that spans both spaces. PR and marketing are inextricably linked, and the advent of digital hasn’t made this connection any less relevant.
There are very few organizations that aren’t concerned with building their brand visibility. If your customer communication strategy isn’t integrated across both marketing and PR, it will be difficult to make as much of an impact and achieve your overall goals.
While the effects of digital marketing tactics are evident quite instantly, a PR strategy can take time to build, in terms of establishing contacts, seeding stories, and raising awareness. Yet without traditional PR capabilities, interacting with influencers, journalists and bloggers, for example, although considered a social media marketing tactic, would be much more difficult. If you wanted to pitch a guest blog post to a reputable industry publication in order to gain high-quality backlinks, although this falls into the content and search marketing specialisms, its success is dependent upon a knowledge of well-established PR principles.
A small pizza shop in Philadelphia is the perfect example of this coalescence. Rosa’s Fresh Pizza boosted their brand awareness, achieved an abundance of backlinks and increased their social media following; and all through good old fashioned publicity! They managed to get local news coverage by adopting a “pay it forward approach” – allowing customers to purchase pizza slices for people in need who couldn’t afford it themselves.
This local coverage evolved into national coverage,and ultimately resulted in the owner of Rosa’s appearing on the Ellen Show, a talk show whose viewing figures are approximately 4.4 million per week. This overwhelming success demonstrates the importance of PR, and its role in an effective promotion mix that can include both online and offline channels.
Digital is a field in which technology and online tools rule. When the focus is on automation and efficiency, it’s easy to overlook the humans behind your target audience segments, but no matter how many digital advances are made, your customer should be just as important as ever. This is particularly pertinent as digital tools are actually empowering consumers, allowing them to conduct their own research and make their final purchase decisions, often entirely unaided and independent of a brand’s marketing efforts.
The window of opportunity an organization has to convert a customer has narrowed significantly. On average, 70% of the buyer’s journey is now complete before a customer even reaches out to a sales rep. For brands, this means that adopting a customer-centric marketing strategy that provides value and information, rather than pushing products and serving a hard sell, is crucial.
70% of the buyer’s journey is now complete before a customer reaches out to a sales rep.Tweet This
Translate traditional customer service traits into unparalleled digital customer engagement. Adopt a proactive and reactive approach to responding to social media messages, both public and private. Download social media apps so you will receive notifications and alerts to your smartphone, which will enable you to shorten your response time – interestingly, since 2013 brands have improved their response rate by 143% on Facebook year on year. Implement a system that prioritizes your customer interactions based on their urgency, and of course, have a crisis management plan in place so you can react to customer complaints or negative sentiments in a timely and appropriate manner. Though all these activities require the use of digital channels, at their core, they incorporate the original tenets of good customer service!
Do you think there is still a place in digital for traditional tactics? Do you think there are distinct differences, or does your strategy blur the lines between the two? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
Learn and progress along a digital marketing career path with our cornerstone certification in Digital Marketing.