Traditional Advertising Is Not Dead, It’s Just Changing

Tuesday’s post, Launch a Brand Campaign Instead of an Ad Campaign needs a little refining on the subject of traditional advertising.

Radio Microphone classic news postcard

First, a definition. Traditional advertising is messages or commercials communicated through historically established media such as television, radio, outdoor (billboards), print, and direct mail.

Advertising is the last marketing act, not the first.
Do not attempt to use advertising until you have a clearly-defined brand and a carefully-crafted customer experience. It also helps if you already have some word-of-mouth buzz circulating in your community. Otherwise, you are just wasting money and shooting yourself in the foot. Good advertising cannot salvage an undefined brand. Besides, what are you going to advertise?

Advertising is not necessary.
An extension of the previous note. You can be successful without advertising. But in order to do so, the other elements of your Marketing Circle of Life must be in order: Branding, Customer Experience, Word of Mouth. Many businesses do fine without spending a dollar on advertising. If you think you need advertising to boost business, you have other marketing problems that need investigating.

Advertising rules for traditional media vary depending on your market size.
The larger your market size, the narrower your choice of media. A quarter-page newspaper ad costs a lot more in the Portland Oregonian than it does in the Portland, Maine Press Herald. The same principle applies to other media. To compensate, look to direct mail or use smaller broadcast stations and neighborhood publications.

Traditional advertising is not dead, it’s just changing.
Be wary of any consultant or expert who tells you there is only one way to do things. Red flag statements: “You must be online to get business.” “Social Media is the only way to go.” Last week in my rant about communities I pointed to a successful local Wine Bistro that does fine without a website. In the past year I have used a combination of outdoor, direct mail and newspaper with significant results for a local medical clinic. A Waco, Texas used car dealership was recently almost overrun with an advertising mix of print and radio.

Understand that while traditional advertising media do not have the power they once did, you can still use them effectively. However, you must use them carefully and appropriately. Choose your advertising medium based on its strength in relationship to your purpose.

I have a tool that I give to the attendees of my DIY Marketing For Small Businesses workshop. It helps you choose the correct advertising medium for your brand campaign. I’m going to offer it as a free download on The Marketing Spot in the next couple of days.

Related Posts on Advertising:
Small Business Advertising: Sexy USP’s They’ll Love
More Bad News for TV Advertising
Be Interesting or Don’t Advertise

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