3 ways digital and traditional marketing work together


3 ways digital and traditional marketing work together featured image

When digital marketing burst onto the scene, the advertising world went into a frenzy. Many were all too eager to announce that this meant the death of traditional advertising. Traditional was old, slow, yesterday’s news – digital was new, fast, and the next big thing. Pick the right side, or get left behind by the digital revolution. 

With the benefit of hindsight, we can say that these predictions were more than a little silly. Digital’s arrival was exciting, of course, and it has all kinds of benefits you can probably already guess. It’s nimble, it’s focused, it’s trackable. But as we’ve discussed previously, traditional advertising is incredibly powerful in its own right. (You can read our full deep dive here, but as a quick refresher: traditional has exceptionally wide reach and gravitas, and it has also been shown to literally stick better in people’s brains.) It’s even projected to grow.

Contrary to the overly-eager early predictions, there is no war between digital and traditional marketing. In fact – and you can probably already see where this is going – they’re perfectly suited to work together to reach your audience and deliver incredible results. With the right budget and strategy, you can combine the powers of both into an unstoppable campaign.

Here are 3 ways digital and traditional marketing work together.


Digital and traditional marketing strength #1: Utilize the strengths of old and new technologies

a baby and an old man

For hundreds of years, the best way to communicate across distances was by waiting to get a physical stamped envelope in your mailbox. Then telephones enabled faster communication. But then, email came on the scene and wiped out mail and phone calls completely. We ripped out our mailboxes and canceled our phone service, the end, and we all lived happily ever after. 

Obviously, that’s not what happened. We still get phone calls and physical mail, because the invention of email did not mean the death of all other forms of communication. Email has made certain things easier, but most of us still use the telephone and mail system to do many things, such as receiving official documents or doing taxes. There are some things that phone calls can do that emails can’t, and vice versa – and it’s the same with digital and traditional advertising. If you’re looking to very precisely track and retarget a very specific slice of the population, digital has your back. But if you’re looking to get your brand out there and get in front of a lot of people at once, then you should take advantage of the gravitas and reach of traditional advertising. 

It’s the 21st century – you’ve got options, so why limit yourself to just one or the other? You have the freedom to look at strategy holistically, determining which forms of media, old or new, are best for achieving your goals throughout the marketing funnel. Both forms have strengths and weaknesses. Using both means you get the advantages of both, easily outweighing any weak spots. It’s the best of both worlds. 


Digital and traditional marketing strength #2:

Keep up with your audience online and offline


If consumers only ever shopped online, it would make sense to limit your advertising to the digital arena. But that’s not reality. While it’s true that online activity is a big part of most people’s lives these days, that doesn’t mean that their lives are lived only online. Even in our changing world, people still pass billboards on the way to work, still grocery shop in person, and still receive physical mail. 

Digital advertising is a pro at turning an interested person into a customer. But traditional advertising can get your brand on their radar in the first place, convince them that you’re the real deal, or remind them of your existence just in time to make a purchase. If a successful advertising campaign is a falling set of dominoes in a row, all you have to do is remove a few of them, and the whole thing comes to a halt. 

Of course, there’s no way to know with pinpoint accuracy exactly which dominoes you need to keep in place to ensure success – after all, different people will be reached and convinced in different ways. But that’s where the partnership of digital and traditional can help you. Meet your audience in multiple places, online and offline, and you’ll maximize the effectiveness of your campaign. Someone whose eyes pass over a Facebook ad might be intrigued by seeing your brand on a billboard while they’re stuck in rush hour traffic, or vice versa. A diverse approach gives you more chances that they’ll not only see your brand, but remember it and become a customer. 

Your audience constantly moves across channels. It just makes sense to keep up with them, wherever they go.


Digital and traditional marketing strength #3:

Take advantage of unique strategic opportunities 

a billboard advertising soda next to a woman with a soda advertisement on her phone

Nowhere is the power of this combined approach more evident than in our work with the University of Notre Dame. A few years ago, they tasked us to fill their sales funnel with new potential students. They faced some unique challenges, such as not being allowed to put school signage on the exterior of their buildings. Rather than seeing this as an obstacle, our team was able to leverage the combined power of digital and traditional advertising to run a successful campaign.  

We strategically placed OOH posters at Chicago metro stations to get users thinking about Notre Dame. This harnessed the power of traditional advertising to get the brand on people’s radar and build up trustworthiness. Then we complemented the traditional strategy by utilizing the power of digital. We partnered with Cuebiq to determine whether a user was likely to have seen one of the posters. The user’s phone sent a location ping from a station where the posters were displayed. Once they left the station, we targeted them with a display or social ad, showing them a new, targeted ad while Notre Dame was likely already on their mind.   

The results speak for themselves. Of course, a purely digital or purely traditional strategy would have been effective to one degree or another. But by combining traditional and digital, we gained maximum exposure and ensured that Notre Dame consistently stayed top of mind, whether the audience was out and about or just looking at their phone.  


Digital and traditional marketing:

better together

Now that you’ve seen these 3 ways digital and traditional marketing work together, we think you’d agree you owe it to your brand to explore using the strengths of both. We don’t live our entire lives online, so why should your advertising? By limiting yourself to just one form of media, you’re limiting your audience – and potentially your results.

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How can digital and traditional marketing work together for you?