The Power of Traditional Marketing in the Digital Age


Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Monday, July 5, 2021

Businesses shouldn’t write off traditional marketing – these tried-and-tested methods can still have a powerful impact on customers in the digital age.

Article 7 Minutes
The Power of Traditional Marketing in the Digital

Billboards, magazines, newspapers, flyers and posters have become ingrained in our psych as marketing ploys. We still notice the adverts, we still like the feel of turning over the pages in a newspaper or magazine and neuroscience seems to support this. While they may seem outdated, these methods have an adaptable reach; from local towns to regions or nations, the audience can be spoken to specifically, making the marketing approach more personable.

So what traditional forms of marketing are available, and how can they be used effectively?

  1. The regeneration of traditional marketing
  2. Measuring ROI
  3. How to implement traditional marketing in the modern world
  4. Four traditional marketing techniques
  5. Why combine traditional and digital marketing methods?
  6. The next step for marketers

The regeneration of traditional marketing

Who hasn’t heard the words ‘print is dead'? The truth is that there's still room for it in the marketing sphere. However, the requirements of print have changed and rather than being replaced by digital, it needs to stay relevant to clients’ needs and initiate the building of relationships between clients and the brand. The amalgamation of digital and print magazine works together to deliver brand interaction and creates a package of content available to offline or online users.

Eric Rasmussen, Vice-President of Consumer Insights at GroupOn, says that,

It all goes back to really knowing your customer and understanding the intersection of what you can offer and what they want – then delivering that in the best possible way. I think segmentation is the key ingredient to personalization and targeting.


Measuring ROI

However, while traditional methods of marketing have their uses, the results of digital are much easier to measure. Digital platforms are optimized through algorithms, directing specific marketing to consumers. Social media and Google advertising is also easy to track through analytical platforms. It’s not as localized as traditional marketing either, as digital can identify core customers globally.

Digital marketing is a more interactive and further reaching method of promotion than the traditional techniques, but to get the most out of marketing campaigns, all bases need to be covered. 

So how can marketers go about utilizing traditional marketing?

How to implement traditional marketing in the modern world

Traditional principles are still relevant in today’s digitally orientated environment; they need to be adopted to work in synchronization with the digital, to focus on the needs of the customer. One of the world’s leading marketing experts and author of over 55 books on the subject, Phil Kotler, says that,

Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. Marketing is the art of creating genuine customer value. It is the art of helping your customers become better off.


It's becoming evident that it’s not all about ‘digital marketing’ anymore, but instead about how to market in a digital world effectively. The traditional principles of marketing are still applicable in the present-day digitally oriented environment. While communication technologies such as social media revolutionize the marketing landscape and the tools and communication channels we use keep evolving, the core concepts remain the same.

Traditional marketing techniques that still deliver impressive results

Tapping into the group of potential customers that don’t handle all their transactions online can bring value to a business. In fact, employing traditional marketing strategies can help to cut through all the noise associated with modern digital marketing and speak to consumers in a different way.

IFP the key benefits of each traditional marketing method in today's digital world

Here are some of the traditional media options to consider:

Print ads

Print marketing can come in the form of flyers, brochures or even business cards, and is a great way to introduce your brand or highlight special offers and discounts. It can also act as a gateway to your digital marketing, so be sure to include your website and social channels on your print ad materials.

Direct mail

Consumers have a greater level of trust in direct mailings than they do emails and since they get a smaller number of them, they have a higher impact. They’ve also seen a resurgence amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as businesses have found this format to be a great way to keep in touch with customers during lockdowns. Take advantage of the excitement associated with receiving post and create an emotional connection that makes your brand stand out from your competitors.


In-person events facilitate valuable networking opportunities that can lead to important relationships and partnerships for your brand. Events like conferences and trade shows allow you to show your personality in a way digital marketing can’t.


With some 89% of people tuning into a station every week, according to Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR), Radio is a medium that shouldn’t be overlooked. Even just having it on in the background while completing other tasks means potential customers can have your marketing messages brought directly to their ears.

How COVID-19 has helped traditional marketing methods grow in popularity

COVID-19 has had a disruptive effect on many industries and marketing is no different. While some traditional marketing approaches, such as events, have had to transition to a digital format, others have thrived in unexpected ways.

With so much of consumers’ lives being online during the pandemic, they’re appreciating real-world elements so much more. A recent study from Valassis found 31% of consumers are more excited to receive their mail each day than they were before the pandemic.

The same study discovered that 84% of respondents appreciated how brands had adapted their tone when it came to advertising during the pandemic. Adaptation is key and even activities widely enjoyed prior to coronavirus have changed, so marketing must evolve with them.

While spending on broadcast TV ads has dropped worldwide during the pandemic, savvy advertisers have embraced new techniques. They include addressable TV advertising that personalizes the experience and shows different ads to households who may be watching the same program.

Of course, more people have been watching TV in different ways during the pandemic. The most popular are over-the-top (OTT) viewing in the form of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and Connected TV (CTV). This involves screening media content through smart TVs, game consoles or connected devices like the Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV Stick.

These alternative methods of consuming content offer their own marketing opportunities and it’s expected advertising budgets will be redirected here in the future. Despite the dip in linear TV during the pandemic, it’s still a behemoth and ad spend in the US alone is predicted to reach $68 billion by 2022.

Why combine traditional and digital marketing methods?

Marketers who believe it’s a binary choice between traditional and digital marketing are missing a trick as combining the two can take advantage of the unique benefits offered by both strategies. Such a cross-channel approach helps to guide consumers through the sales funnel, drawing them from a number of sources, with the ultimate aim of conversion.

How Coca-Cola is getting it right

One brand that has managed to find the right balance between traditional and digital marketing is Coca-Cola. Its Share a Coke campaign saw customers purchasing personalized bottles offline and then sharing images relating to them across social media.

It generated 998 million Twitter impressions and 235,000 tweets containing the hashtag, but that wasn’t the only digital element. Customers with more unusual names could purchase bottles online, driving traffic to Coca-Cola’s website.

The next step for marketers

Taking into consideration the new digital technologies marketers now have at their disposal, companies need to understand the customer and develop their marketing strategy around what they want, why, when and where. The tactical execution of the campaign can then be developed with traditional and digital platforms working together to optimize output and retention. Marketing has been around for a long time and continues to offer powerful methods for understanding the audience and establishing the services or the products that people require.

Successful marketing ensures that you’re able to deliver these products at the right time, place and for the right price. Progress can be measured and interaction can be tracked. Whilst strategies might have altered, the principles of marketing are not disparate today as they were 40 years ago.

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