Traditional Advertising Versus Online Advertising

Believe it or not, many businesses still do not have an online presence, nor do they understand or appreciate the value associated with having an online presence, i.e. website. Over the past decade, phone books have slowly faded away being replaced by internet searches for businesses, products and services. If your business does not have an online presence, you are completely missing out on the internet traffic. Just as important, your online presence can be compared to your resume. Your online presence reflects what you have to offer, hopefully explains the products or services you offer, and provides credibility to your existence and professionalism.

From a strategic marketing viewpoint, traditional marketing and your online marketing tactics must be aligned and working together cohesively. For example, traditional marketing should list the website address of the product or service for the user to do their research or offer convenience by ordering online. Traditional marketing (direct mail, newspaper ads, tv/radio advertising, etc) can still be an effective method for some businesses, although this type of marketing is taking a back seat to online marketing. In addition, traditional marketing is often much more expensive than online marketing.

To explain this in more detail, we’ll compare a direct mail campaign, marketing to a specific zip code, vs placing an advertisement on Google’s search engine, known as pay-per-click advertising. In a direct mail campaign, the cost of the advertisement includes the ad design, ad production costs, and ad delivery costs. The two significant issues with this form of advertising; first, these ads are being distributed to a consumer who may not have any need or desire for your product or service, and second, the tracking and return on investment of this method of advertising is very cumbersome and difficult to calculate. On the flip side, online advertising still may incur the ad design costs but does not have any production or physical distribution costs. It’s distribution costs are incurred when a visitor on the web clicks on the ad. The major difference and significant advantage of online advertising relates to the fact that the ad is only served to visitors seeking your product or service based on your defined list of keywords. Additionally, each ad’s cost, tracking, and return on investment can be easily managed and reported. As such, you know whether or not your specific advertisement was effective for the costs incurred.

Which advertising method is most advantageous for your business can depend on the product or service you offer. However, it must be reiterated that traditional marketing and online marketing must be aligned in your organization to maximize effectiveness and profitability. And, if you’re not aggressively pursuing online advertising as a marketing channel, we suggest you make this a priority.

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