Why Traditional Marketing Is Dying But May Never Go Away

Andrew Rizvi, MSc Digital Marketing Management Student


Traditional advertising might finally be dying right before our very eyes. But despite various claims of traditional advertising going away forever, it’s still managed to stick around as a viable marketing medium, and there are even proponents who argue that traditional advertising will never go away. 

To begin with, when comparing digital to traditional advertising, some recent statistics show that, in 2017, digital ad spend jumped to £186 billion worldwide (41% of the market), as opposed to TV ads that reached only 35% of the market. Moreover, digital ad spend will keep growing steadily in the next few years and is expected to reach 50% of the market by 2020. This is due to digital advertising offering non-interruptive content and a constant stream of new concepts such as social commerce, compared to traditional and being able to measure their success via analytic tools, rather than not being able to measure the impact and therefore control growth of their audience.

However, there are a few reasons as to why digital advertisement will never be able to completely replace traditional advertisement and here are a few facts that must be considered despite its deficiency’s in comparison: 

  • People are still watching TV, listening to the radio, and reading newspapers massively 
  • Traditional marketing targets wider audiences and builds trust, as it is here for quite some time 
  • People don’t like aggressive digital ads. HubSpot says that 91% of people say ads are more intrusive today than two years ago. And, as a result, the number of users worldwide downloading Adblocker Plus has reached 300 million in 2016, costing publishers more than £17 billion.  
  • Not all digital ads are targeted. In one of his posts, Mark Ritson describes online ads as “Google’s highly stupid and imprecise advertising” and that’s true. People don’t install adblockers because they want to get rid of all ads. They want to eliminate those that have nothing to do with them. The HubSpot’s report mentioned above claims that 77% of consumers would rather filter their ads than completely block them. 

Traditional Content Is Only Temporary 

Unlike online content, traditional content is only temporary. Consumers cannot search for magazines, newspapers and TV shows once they have been published or finished airing. Whereas, internet content is forever and is a constant stream of marketing. All blogs posted and social media content will still be accessible for many years later, for as long as the servers are up. This allows for a company to maintain its presence and gather feedback for campaigns simultaneously, compared to traditional forms of marketing and therefore maintain customer relations post-purchase. Despite digital consumers becoming smarter towards what they want to see in their ads and therefore making all levels of the customer journey important, not just the pre and purchasing stage.

Traditional Marketing Is Not Targeted   

Traditional marketing more often then not involves producing content for the masses. However, they are not able to speak to a specific audience and have the reach of the internet. Now, digital marketing allows marketers to target a specific market with accuracy. For example, with the use of email marketing, digital marketers can also personalize their emails to the recipient, and track the actions of the recipient after these emails are sent using digital analytic tools such as ConvertKit and OptinMonster to optimise customer engagement.

Traditional Marketing Is Hard to Track  

The old format of traditional marketing doesn’t allow marketers to track their progress and their marketing returns from a particular channel. For example, they are not able to analyse the increase or decrease in revenue from an advertisement in a shopping mall. Whereas, digital marketing allows you to analyse the return on investment for an ad on a platform. This would then help to learn from experiences, to then put into future digital campaigns. That information can be now gained from multiple digital tools such as Google Analytics and Hotjar, that allow for campaigns to have been monitored by stats and figures constantly.  

There are many factors as to why traditional marketing has gradually declined in popularity in use, as explained above over the past decade and the constant introduction of new digital tools. With next generations millennials becoming to increasingly distrust traditional forms of advertising, digital marketing has become more accessible and trustworthy and in contrast others a constant stream of interaction. With traditional advertisement spending and effectiveness seemingly on an endless downwards trajectory companies are adapting and finding ways of cost- effective marketing tools, with constant updates in technology allowing for development. Instead of traditional ads dying, they are evolving. 

In a nutshell, the only way for brands to survive in this evolving digital environment is to adapt to the changes and start implementing digital marketing strategies using analytic tool to measure success. This is because spending a vast amount of resources on traditional marketing, without having the metrics to back up how successful the campaign isn’t enough anymore with the forever changing landscape of marketing. 

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