Applying Traditional Marketing Tactics in a Digital World
Written by Lauren Fried, Managing Director of Pulse Marketing
It should come as no surprise to businesses that digital channels have found an irreplaceable role in marketing. Technology has revolutionised business. This is driven by both consumer demand for finger-tip access to anything and everything, and the opportunities sought by businesses to outperform their competitors.
But digital opportunities are only half the picture. In some cases they may not be the best or only way of communicating with the customer. For example, tradesmen are generally difficult to reach via online display advertising as they are constantly on job sites, meaning they aren’t within reach of their computers during the day.
In many situations traditional media continues to play an important role in communicating a business’s story. Online and offline media are best served together. It comes down to understanding your audience and delivering at the touch points most relevant to them, whether they are traditional, digital or a combination of both.
After all, traditional media still has many advantages over digital. For example, television continues to be a great way of communicating a comprehensive story. Likewise, outdoor advertising offers the benefit of broad reach and high frequency. There are also great creative opportunities for large format outdoor ad spaces. Despite the advantages, outdoor still carries a hefty price tag with creative, production and media costs attached.
Advantages of traditional media
There are many other forms of traditional media that may assist in telling your business’s story, without breaking the bank. Below you’ll find some affordable and effective traditional marketing opportunities suitable for businesses.
- Direct mail
Direct mail saw a decline in popularity due to the sheer volume of mail being received, plus privacy concerns relating to personal information. However, it is beginning to have a renaissance. As many businesses have turned away from it, it has once again become something of a novelty and when executed well, can have great cut through. Both print and electronic direct mail present one of the most highly targeted approaches to advertising, which may lead to more sales. They also have the added advantage of being measurable, allowing businesses to determine their return on investment.
Face to face marketing tactics are also difficult to replace because they allow potential customers to establish an emotional connection with your business immediately. These tactics include networking and events. Networking has been used as a sales tool by professionals in businesses both large and small. By speaking directly to potential clients, you can communicate the selling points of your business and build an instant personal connection that is more likely to lead to long term brand loyalty.
Similarly, a display stand at relevant events such as trade shows and exhibitions is a great way to showcase your product or service and give people the physical experience of interacting with your brand.
Point of sale signage and sales collateral remain relatively low cost options and are important tools for businesses such as retailers. Likewise printed collateral, like brochures, while declining in popularity over the past few years, is a high involvement media and can be a cost effective targeted medium for businesses.
Another cost effective way to get more exposure for your business is to contribute articles to publications your audience reads. If you position yourself and your business as an expert, people will begin to trust your brand and view it positively. Articles written by experts have a higher perceived value in print publications than ads and retain the attention of the reader much longer than a typical advertisement. Think about your audience’s interests and try to provide information they will find useful.
The golden rules are to always understand how each marketing tactic adds value to the customer experience, to truly understand your target markets, learn and evolve your offering from available data and consider digital channels as part of a holistic strategic approach.
About Pulse Marketing
Pulse Marketing is full-service marketing and advertising agency, famous for their passion and committed to delivering great ideas and powerful results in the areas of marketing, creative, digital and social.
Q&A: Professor Loredana Padurean, Asia School of Business
As someone who is creating Asia Pacific’s business leaders of the future, what do you believe are the essential skills leaders require?
In many ways, we need leaders who are Renaissance women/men or polymaths, as opposed to specialists of an industry or a field. A polymath is a person with profound knowledge, proficiency and expertise in multiple fields and today’s leaders have to be able to combine various ideas, look at problems in novel and useful ways, and develop a broad and yet still deep set of skills, talents, and knowledge.
You’ve coined ‘smart’ and ‘sharp’ as skills of the future. What are these?
They are replacements for ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills, a concept coined by a US Army doctor in 1972 who observed that his pupils had different skills: dealing with machinery required ‘hard’ skills, while dealing with people and paper were ‘soft’ skills. This concept has served us well since, but I find it too binary, not to mention the semantic implications of the words themselves.
Soft implies gentle, delicate, mild, quiet, tender, weak. However, there is nothing soft in navigating competing perspectives and cultures, handling and delivering critical feedback or dealing with office politics. Instead, I prefer to call these skills ‘smart’. Hard implies rigid, difficult, heavy, static. But how can we think of engineering or software development as static or rigid? I believe ‘sharp’ is more apt as such skills need constant updating or sharpening.
I think it’s time to reflect on these classifications, because we can drastically change someone’s perspective by how we choose to talk about and frame something.
How important are smart skills in leadership today?
Smart skills are more important than ever because we live in a world of extreme diversity: generational, ethical, value-based, gender, etc. Gone are the days when giving an order was an effective act of leadership. I personally work with people from five different continents and across five different generations, therefore as leaders, we need to know how to adapt, motivate, inspire and connect. We need to increase our investment in learning about them in action, especially as smart skills are more difficult to develop.
I believe that a successful leader today has to be both smart and sharp. Take cognitive readiness, one of my top 10 smart skills. In order to be cognitive ready, one has to master system dynamics, one of my top 10 sharp skills. Also, did you know that one of the primary reasons why digital transformation fails is not the absence of digital literacy, a sharp skill, but the need for more validation and adaptability, both smart skills. So, instead of thinking of these skills as binary, I prefer to think of them as the yin and yang; co-existing and complementing each other.
So, you can teach leaders smart skills then?
Yes, you can, via a combination of the classroom experience, plus an action component supported by deeply embedded reflection. At ASB we call this Action Learning, and we teach it both in the MBA and in the executive programs. For example, in teaching a leader emotional maturity as a smart skill, first they need to learn what it is, and then act on it, before reflecting on what we did and how we did it. And then to repeat it, but this time with more expertise and awareness. It’s not easy, but that’s why my favourite mantra is ‘the job is easy, the people are not’.
Discover Professor Padurean's successful skills for a digital transformation here