Ask business owners where they stand on traditional media and digital marketing, and you'll get a full spectrum of answers. Some owners will be fully invested in digital as the future. Others will be holding on dearly to the old way of doing things, waiting for the Internet craze to pass. The majority will be somewhere in the middle: not wanting to be stuck in the past but not entirely sure that digital is the only answer.
The more we learn about how these two types of media function, the more obvious it's becoming that both traditional and digital media serve an irreplaceable purpose. In fact, effective digital strategies can leverage both traditional marketing and paid search to produce a product greater than the sum of its constituent parts.
Driving Search Queries Through Traditional Media
Traditional media — which includes television spots, radio ads, billboards, direct mail and other strategies — is great at building awareness. The problem is that awareness is far removed from the conversions for which those businesses strive. At the very top of the sales funnel, traditional marketing can be effective, but only so long as you don't depend on it to spurn widespread conversions.
This makes traditional media a risky expense if it's the only media you plan to use. It's harder to produce or measure a strong ROI, which is why digital solutions can serve as a perfect complement. For proof, look no further than the way a single commercial spot drives search queries in the few minutes following its broadcast. According to an article in Search Engine Land, "We continued to observe core non-brand search terms generate 25–30 percent incremental visitors while maintaining normal conversion rates, resulting in great performance."
Consumer awareness is heightened by traditional media, and this drives consumers to go online and search for more information. In essence, they've been advanced further into the sales funnel, and they are using their digital tools to take the next step. This is where digital strategy comes into play. By increasing your paid search spending and targeting consumers spurred on by traditional marketing, you can meet those consumers farther down the funnel and help guide them in their purchasing decisions. By nurturing them through the process, your sales-ready leads could increase by as much as 50 percent, while you secure a cost reduction of up to 33 percent, according to Forrester research reported at Online Marketing Institute.
Investing in Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is a very important asset for businesses, especially with so much media demanding consumers' attention. Standing out to media-saturated consumers means you've done a great job of distinguishing your brand and honing in on your target audience. Digital strategies, such as retargeting, show that brand awareness can bring in healthy returns, even if they're sometimes difficult to track and quantify.
Traditional media is effective at this, especially when you're spending your money in the right way. A deep understanding of your target audience and where you can find them will help you leverage traditional strategies successfully. When this brand awareness is cultivated, it will be easier for your paid search ads, display ads and other digital strategies to grab consumers' attention. That's a big victory for any business.