SmartEtailing Blog

Digital or Traditional Marketing?

By Ryan Atkinson

Navigating the world of marketing as a small-business owner can be a daunting experience. Every day the world changes and marketers need to adapt to the new rules of the land. So, where does an independent bicycle retailer put its limited marketing resources?

Digital or traditional?

Think about providing a mix, rather than trying to do digital or traditional marketing only.

Rather than thinking in terms of whether to pursue a digital strategy as opposed to a traditional marketing one, it can be more productive to adapt your approach according to the needs of your business, a specific product promotion or the time of the year.

Digital marketing offers low costs and access to large audiences. But driving page views from a digital-only approach may fall short in generating sufficient traffic to your store.

Because of its different ways to engage the audience, traditional marketing remains an important growth driver for many successful businesses and a key part of their marketing mix.

According to the Direct Marketing Association's Statistical Fact Book 2014, almost 80 percent of consumers will act on direct mail immediately compared with 45 percent who say they deal with email straight away.

Direct mail prices may be higher but you get the opportunity to engage your prospects faster and in a different setting.

The offer you have on the table is another factor in deciding the proper channel. The DMA found that direct mail is the preferred channel for receiving marketing from local shops (51 percent) and banks (49 percent), while email is favored for events and competitions (50 percent each).

Instead of trying to find one solution for your problems, think of the context for each campaign, your goals and financial constraints.

Do the math.

Invest the time to gain a full understanding of your marketing's return on investment. Having a clear idea of the campaign's costs, the number of sales generated, how large the sales were and who purchased the product or service can help you invest your marketing budget wisely.

Maybe a direct mail campaign attracts a different type of customer who buys more, so your returns can be greater. Perhaps certain keywords bring more visitors to your website but those visitors are rarely buyers.

Analyzing in-depth the return on investment from different channels and the outcomes by customer type is a great starting point for optimizing your marketing spending.

Be active.

One thing is certain, you need to be active and engaged with your marketing if you want to compete for customer attention and spending. We recommend the balanced approach between digital and traditional marketing, with traditional marketing like direct mail playing a crucial role at times when you want to drive serious traffic to your business -- not just clicks to your site.


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