When determining the best marketing mix for your business, you might consider direct sales, social media, face-to-face networking, print/digital advertising, website banners, event sponsorship, TV/Radio, directory listings, couponing, digital text marketing and promotional items. One marketing element is not a magic bullet. A business needs to have mix-marketing mediums. The Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce is one of the few organization offering both traditional and internet marketing opportunities. Read this article to help you decide what’s best for your business. Be sure to check out our online membership directory for businesses that can help you market your company, product or service.
Prior to the internet, marketing, especially to the masses, was difficult and expensive. The internet has changed that; however that doesn't mean there isn't a place for traditional marketing methods alongside internet marketing.
What is Marketing?
Marketing is essentially anything you do to promote your business to entice customers and clients to buy from you, including advertising, publicity, sales, social media, merchandising, and distribution. Fortunately with the growth of the internet, you have two categories of marketing in which to spend your marketing time and dollars; traditional marketing and internet marketing.
There is an ongoing battle about which method is best at offering the greater benefit and value. The truth is, both methods can be useful, and there is no reason to choose one over the other. However, the key to making the right allocation of marketing time and money is in understanding your target market, the best way to reach them, and the pros and cons of each type of marketing.
What is Traditional Marketing?
Basically, traditional marketing includes the promotional strategies used prior to the internet, such as direct sales, TV, radio, mail, print advertising (i.e, magazines, coupon books, billboards..etc.), and printed promotional materials like catalogs or brochures (often referred to as collateral).
Pros of Traditional Marketing
Even in the digital age, there are good reasons for employing old-school marketing strategies, including:
- Traditional methods may be the only means of reaching your particular group of consumers. For instance, if you are interested in targeting retiring CEOs much of this demographic isn’t using the internet or social media channels.
- Person-to-person selling is considered by many a strategy of traditional marketing. There is definitely a time and place when this type of direct selling is the most effective way to market a product or service. For example, through person-to-person you can do demonstrations. Further, many customers and clients prefer to do face-to-fact business with people.
- Tangibility.Traditional marketing offers hard copy material. There is something to be said about handing a consumer some tangible printed material they can flip through at their leisure.This makes it easy to provide information on the go, such as handing out a business card, or to have something at in-person events, such as speaking engagements or trade shows.
Cons of Traditional Marketing
While traditional marketing can be effective, it's not without drawbacks or limitations, such as:
- Expense. Purchasing advertising for TV, radio or print can be very expensive to many home-based business owners. Printing hard-copy brochures, business cards and mailers is costly, and those expenses increase if you're mailing them through direct mail. Television and print advertising can also be very expensive.
- Difficulty in tracking results. Traditional marketing is a lot like throwing things against the wall and hoping they stick. It is tough to track real quantitative results.
- Requiring outside help. Printing materials, buying media and creating radio advertisements all require hiring outside help, such as graphic designers or script writers, which adds to costs.
- One-way messaging. Traditional marketing is usually forced upon the consumer, often annoying them. Many people don't like their mailboxes loaded with "junk" mail. Digital recording has made it easier for television viewers to avoid commercials.
What is Internet Marketing?
Internet marketing is the process of promoting your product or service online. Internet marketing isn't limited to online businesses, such as a mommy bloggers. Even brick-and-mortar business can, and should, use the internet for marketing purposes. Internet marketing uses strategies like website creation, search engine optimization (SEO),banner ads, social media, pay-per-click advertising and email marketing.
Pros of Internet Marketing
Internet marketing has made reaching a wider market easier and more affordable. Other benefits include:
- Measurability. You can see what methods are leading to sales and which aren't, so you can focus your efforts on what works. Decisions can be made using both real data and qualitative results.The ability to drill down into your demographics to accurately reach your target market. This allows you to target sub-groups for more effective marketing messages to increase response.
- Word-of-mouth marketing. Social media allows you to directly communicate with groups or even individual consumers. It's free, allows you speak to your market, and provides quick feedback on what's working and what your market likes.
- Inexpensive. Some marketing methods are free.
- Results available immediately. This gives you quick feedback on what works and what doesn't so you can adjust your marketing.
- Accessible to any size business.
- No need for outside help. Many online-marketing strategies can be easily implemented by a one-person home business.
- Ability to make marketing message changes on the fly.
Cons of Internet Marketing
While the internet has made marketing easier, it's not without its challenges, such as:
- Relying that customers be highly interactive on the internet. If your market isn't online, it's not the most effective way of marketing. With that said, internet use continues to rise and eventually will be common with nearly all consumers.
- Time intensive. Continuous content must be created, edited, approved and published; comments must be responded to and sites and pages must be maintained. And then there's social media, which can take an inordinate amount of time.
- Mismanagement and inconsistency in your brand identity in forums, blogs, social media etc. Successful online marketing requires consistency across all your marketing platforms.
Which Type of Marketing Is Best?
Too many businesses rely on one form of marketing over the other, in the belief one is better than the other. While one method might be effective at bringing results, that doesn't mean integrating other options can't be as effective. For example, a television ad might pull in many prospects, but so, too, could that same ad on YouTube.
The question isn't really what type of marketing is best, but instead, it's what type offers the best way to reach your market and get them to buy. Odds are there are strategies in both traditional and internet marketing that will work.
Because of the affordability and effectiveness of internet marketing, experts have suggested applying the 80/20 Rule to your marketing mix. Invest 80 percent of your marketing time and dollars into internet marketing and 20 percent into traditional marketing.
In the end, the decision is up to you. Incorporating market research into your marketing plan will help you determine how your target market will best be reached.