Trying to Fit Digital Into the Traditional Marketing Box

New vs Old marketing

The most dangerous phrase in the language is, “We’ve always done it this way.”
– Grace Hopper, Rear Admiral US Navy

We work with a wide variety of small businesses that use an even wider variety of ways to reach their target customers. From billboards to Google AdWords, we’ve probably seen it all. We even have a customer that (successfully) reaches his customers with a giant roller skate car!

People often assume that we’re anti traditional marketing just because we deal with the “new” marketing. That’s not necessarily true. In fact, traditional marketing (print, TV, radio) can yield great results. It’s also true that Internet marketing should have a lower cost per customer acquisition.

However, you can waste just as much money on your Internet marketing as you can a billboard on the side of the highway or a TV commercial. I strongly believe that there is a significant shift in how we attract and find the attention of our customers (hint: it’s currently in your hand or pocket), but that doesn’t mean small business owners aren’t thinking different as well.

Updating Your Marketing Mindset

Before Internet marketing, people strategized to build out goals and achieve them with their print, television, and radio ads. Sure, some people rushed through without putting much thought behind it, but they ultimately just didn’t buy anymore ad space if they were misled by a publisher or agency.

The Internet has provided small businesses with a wealth of opportunity when it comes to reaching their customers. Unfortunately, the accessibility of the Internet has caused an increase in really bad marketing habits. Things that worked in print media, such as catalogue advertisements, were copied over into the digital world. The message didn’t match the medium, or what the customers ultimately demanded from companies to participate in that medium.

Grace Hopper served in the US Navy from 1943 to 1986. One of her most famous quotes between entrepreneurs is, “The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way'”.

If small businesses want take advantage of Internet marketing and the extreme opportunity that it can create, then they must learn look at things differently. What worked in print and TV, might not work in the digital world.

Is traditional marketing dead? Nope! Is customer acquisition more expensive with traditional marketing? Yes, in most cases, it’s a lot more expensive. Here’s the truth though; If you look at your traditional marketing and try to translate it over to the digital world, you’re going to end up wasting a lot of time and money.

Making the most of your Internet marketing means that you need to plan, strategize, and execute. It will require you to look at things with an open mind.

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About Kevin Ekmark

Kevin is a founding partner at TrustWorkz, Inc. He also blogs about marketing and leadership on his personal website. You can follow along or contact Kevin on Twitter via @KevinEkmark or on LinkedIn.