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How to marry traditional and digital marketing

5-minute read

Most marketing commentary these days focuses on digital marketing and that makes a lot of sense in 2015.

After all, the Internet and digital technologies have changed the way small businesses market their products and services. That said, there is still an important place for traditional marketing in promoting your business.

Marketing diversity, an opportunity for small business owners

A report in the Globe and Mail last September provided some data from IAB Canada on media advertising revenue in 2013.

Leading Canadian media Advertising revenue in 2013 % Growth over 2012 Market share
Digital $3.5 billion +14% 31%
Television $3.4 billion -2.3% 30%
Daily newspapers $1.7 billion -17% 15%
Radio $1.6 billion +.03% 14%
Magazines $558 million -2.7% 6%

Obviously, the growth in online advertising in recent years has been phenomenal. In fact, 2013 was the first year that digital surpassed TV as the leading advertising medium.

But the statistics also indicate that companies still see a role for traditional media in their marketing mix.

How to integrate digital with traditional marketing?

The reality today is that you shouldn’t focus solely on online marketing or traditional marketing but rather take an integrated approach. In other words, you want to use the right tools at the right time to find the right audience.

Here are some tips on how to do that:

1. Have a strategic vision for your marketing

Take a step back and plan your integrated marketing efforts before jumping into any type of execution (traditional or digital). You must decide how you want to position your company in your market based on your unique value proposition and your ideal customers. First ask yourself: Do we know enough about our market and our customers to make informed decisions on what the right marketing approaches should be? Or do we need to do some market research?

2. Create personas

It’s often a good idea to create personas, or fictitious characters, to help you define and understand what kind of customers you want and how to go about reaching them. A good place to start is by looking at the profile of your current customers.

3. Use CRM software

More companies should be using customer relationship management (CRM) systems to improve their marketing. You should ensure that both the digital and traditional marketers on your team are trained properly on this platform so they can benefit from its powerful tools to generate marketing insights.

4. Choose the right content channels

You can use your website to provide product information and value‑added content such as videos, testimonials, blogs, eBooks and white papers. We know this kind of online content is great for attracting an audience, adjusting messages and tracking how you’re doing. But, in some circumstances, a traditional medium—say a paper flyer—might do a better job. Does that flyer provide a more relevant and optimal experience for your prospective customers? Could you integrate the two by promoting your digital assets in the flyer with a line such as: “Head over to ABCCompany.ca/flyer for more information about our offers?”

Direct mail is another traditional channel that’s gotten a bad rap in recent years. But some people prefer getting mail from the companies they do business with. Canada Post has launched some new small business tools to help you do better direct mail campaigns. You can send informative mail that drives people back to your website with an offer. But make sure to craft a message that’s going to appeal to your customers. Just like with email, sending direct mail blindly is a pure waste of time and money.

5. Going beyond local

The goal of integrated marketing is to generate new customer opportunities for the sales team and help warm up the discussion before contact is made. Today, customers from outside your local market can find you online and often will know as much about your products and those of your competitors as your sales representatives do. Your team needs to be confident selling to new and potentially remote markets without having any face‑to‑face contact. They must have a clear understanding of all the messages being presented to customers through your various marketing channels. And they have to be prepared in advance for typical questions and objections from these potential customers.

6. Consider public relations

A PR strategy can provide you with inexpensive marketing and help you stand out from the competition. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have we developed a unique product or service?
  • Do we have ground-breaking technology?
  • Are we a leader in our industry?
  • Do we give back to our community?

If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, you might have a compelling story to present to the media. However, with the advent of social media, it’s more important than ever to be careful about what you say and claim about your company. Be truthful and let your marketing support your position.

7. Integrate traditional advertising with your online properties

In creating your traditional advertising, ask customers to visit your website and/or Facebook page for details of promotions, print coupons, register for contests, etc. Do not hesitate to add your website address to any advertising.

By integrating traditional and digital marketing strategies, you can attract more potential customers in their preferred way; equip and motivate your sales and marketing teams; and increase your chances of achieving your business goals.

Are you trying to balance traditional and digital marketing efforts in your business? How is it working? Leave us a comment.

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