Many SME’S ask about the relative merits of conventional versus digital marketing. This depends on many factors such as objectives, strategy, target market, budget, timing, degree of interaction required and others.
For larger corporations brand marketing has traditionally occupied a large slice of conventional media primarily through TV but also in print, and on radio.
The reason TV advertising dominates the conventional arena from a spend perspective is, to a large extent, as a consequence of its ability to create and build brand awareness, salience and image as well as its potential to influence brand positioning in the mind of the audience, often as part of a broader ongoing campaign. Other media types are often seen in a support role.
Marketing in the digital space is growing enormously in importance and continues to flourish.. Digital represents the highest area of incremental spend from a media perspective on a year on year basis internationally. Online expenditure has jumped around four hundred percent in the last decade and Forbes is of the opinion that by 2016 online spend will surpass that of TV in the USA.
When it comes to the integration of conventional and digital channels however, research companies, including AC Nielsen, found that, when properly integrated, recall of advertising as well as purchase consideration increases when multiple advertising channels are well integrated.
In fact well before the advent of the digital renaissance research already showed that a good mix of traditional media usually achieved similar positive outcomes, something experienced first hand across a number of companies from start ups to large corporations.
Examples of on and offline media integration occur when TV commercials are placed (or adapted) for inclusion on websites or social media sites like YouTube, or when brands that are built on traditional media also utilise Facebook and other social media to run competitions on.
There is little doubt, therefore, that in the brand context traditional media still has an important role to play, as does digital marketing, and that they complement one another in many integral ways.
In many instances therefore, traditional and digital media dovetail extremely well, with digital media well suited to direct response marketing, to give but one example.
As such there is a place for both conventional and digital options in the marketing mix and one of the key issues revolves around the optimal manner to engage with the target market relative to objectives.
So far as SME’S and traditional media are concerned budgets are certainly a key consideration and many, especially small enterprises, sometimes focus on print as a consequence of cost. Others focus on relatively low cost infomercials to coincide with promotions either in-store or online, a synergistic tactic utilised by some clients on an on-going basis.
In this regard it is however important to keep in mind the target market and execution. We have advised many clients to add emotional and/or self expressive values to brands they are promoting only in a functional manner. Once this is achieved sales often improve markedly.
Whilst the digital space has many advantages for SME’s including the potential to build trust, loyalty and engagement, relatively low entry cost and measurement (and global engagement where appropriate), there is much to be said about the benefits of an integrated approach to marketing.
There are no hard and fast rules or one size fits all as every situation is unique, therefore media tactics need to be tailored according to the objectives, strategy and budget.
Where funds are extremely limited our view would be to consolidate what spend there is across the most important channels and review, as circumstances permit.
Many SME’s may only be able to afford, or believe they need digital options at the outset which is an excellent platform from which to build.
About the writer
Alan Kaplan PhD has international experience spanning more than twenty five years across academic, media, agency, client and consulting areas. Alan’s profile can be viewed on LinkedIn and he can be contacted on 041875855.
Contact Optivance 360 for a no obligation discussion on how we can assist you with all your branding, marketing and communications in a consulting, non executive management or mentoring capacity, or for any of our other key business services including franchising.
Alan Kaplan © 2012
This article is for general information and the reader should seek specific expert advice before taking any action.