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Making The Mix: Balancing Traditional And Digital Media

By Rob Hawse

While many will try to tell you that traditional print media is a dinosaur on its way to extinction and digital marketing is taking over the world…don’t believe the conspirators. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Without question, digital marketing campaigns are becoming more and more popular and have distinct advantages over traditional forms of media. They are much better at capturing, tracking, and analyzing user data and converting this information into tangible metrics. Often they are simply more affordable.

Even though digital is on a continual rise and new platforms are created almost daily, traditional marketing vehicles such as TV commercials, print ads, and outdoor billboards have delivered success for many years. A one size fits all approach to marketing and campaigns is shortsighted. A healthy balance of digital and traditional media that leverages each strength and advantage gives you the best chances for a successful marketing initiative.

But there is another aspect to finding the right mix of print and digital.

It’s less about your business and more about the customer.

Knowing who they are, which channels they operate in, their purchase habits…it is the customer you need to have on top of mind when considering a balanced marketing mix.

Understanding these details will help you determine how to reach customers with a balance of print and digital that provides the strongest visibility in the best places. Look to create a variety of impressions in several venues to get the best returns from your marketing campaigns. Avoid wasting time and money on programs that won’t reach your target customers by first completing research to ensure that any opportunity you are considering will help you connect both on and offline.

We know that digital is continuing to climb the charts. The next question to ask…what traditional forms of media are making an impact? One example of print media that is still highly successful in this new digital age is direct mail. While the stack of mail in the office is getting smaller and smaller, and the digital content influx is filling your inbox to capacity, a direct mail piece will stand out. It gets noticed, picked up, and read. There is nothing more impactful than being able to touch, flip, unfold, and feel a piece of communication. The tactile nature of a well conceived and executed piece of direct mail makes a wonderful impression. And the results can be trackable via codes or other messaging prompts back to online platforms. This example is a great way to demonstrate how a traditional form of media can lead the way to newer, highly scalable forms of media like digital.

No matter what your marketing mix is, all media types should be used in complementary ways to create the ubiquitous and ideal “integrated marketing” matrix. Traditional and digital media should be treated with equal relevance and importance. Essentially, what it all boils down to is reach, frequency, and engagement. If digital media and online platforms are not part of your traditional mix by now, saying you are behind the curve would be an understatement. You run the risk of becoming the proverbial dinosaur. And, we all know what happened to them.

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