The Death of Traditional Advertising

The Harvard Business Review said it well enough: traditional marketing is dead. We are no longer in the cut-throat Mad Men type of advertisers (although I love that show).

The article mentions a 2011 study in which 600 CEOs and decision makers by the London-based Fournaise Marketing Group said 73% of “CMOs lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient business growth, 72% are tired of being asked for money without explaining how it will generate increased business, and 77% have had it with all the talk about brand equity that can’t be linked to actual firm equity or any other recognized financial metric.” That is insane! However, there is not one person today that can claim they have perfected the art of marketing – it is ever changing with the generations. Traditional marketing truly is dead – here’s why:


Your typical print ads and television commercials are forms of traditional advertising.  They used to be the bread and butter of any marketing campaign and come at a big price. A radio ad for instance, depending on the content and radio station, could cost anywhere from $500 to $8,000 a week.

For a small business, that week-long campaign could exceed your entire budget. On top of that, if you don’t get the results you want, you just wasted a lot of money. You can get more conversions with a $20 Facebook ad campaign with the right message than any radio ad. There is a tremendous difference in the cost to reach people.

Outbound vs. Inbound

Traditional advertising poses a lot of questions. Where do I place an ad? Who all will see my ad? You essentially just place your ad and pray that something will come out of it. Why are people putting so much into that rather than inbound marketing options?

We have the capability to market to EXACTLY who we want to market to. Facebook, for instance, provides the opportunity to choose your geographic credentials, your demographic credentials, and even your psychographic credentials through keywords and interests. On top of that, there is blogging, Twitter ads, Google AdWords, LinkedIn ads, and many others that can bring you more conversions than any traditional marketing measures.

Social Media is King

Forbes presented a study in 2013 that over 78% of sales people using social media outsell their peers. Considering Facebook has well over 1 billion users, social media is VERY powerful. It has many different uses too: engaging with customers, B2B sales, customer service, advertising, etc.

Nowadays, having a social media presence more important than licensing your business. Mashable provides an interesting article on how social media alone is responsible for well over 50% of all online sales. With the Millennial generation taking over and technology advancing, this will only increase.

In other words, all hail social media.

Quantity vs. Quality

I often hear people say things like “this will be great! So many people will see our brand!”

If you are more concerned about the amount of reach you are getting compared to the amount of engagement/conversions you are getting, you are doing wrong. It is ALWAYS more valuable to market to the right people, rather than marketing to as many people as possible.

Traditional advertising is outbound marketing – which essentially puts your brand in front of a bunch of eyeballs. Inbound marketing puts you in front of the right people. The people that matter and will buy your product or service. As I mentioned before, we have the technology to market to the right audience – we just have to use it the right way.

In essence: quality over quantity.

People Buy an Experience – Not a Sales Pitch

How many times have you scanned through the radio to find a station that had a good song on and wasn’t on an advertisement? I can personally say that when there are only ads on, I turn my radio off.

Now, how many times have you watched TV and turned it down when commercials are on or changed the channel? Do you even watch TV? I can guarantee there is a high majority of us that hate having ads interrupt our experience (or just watch Netflix like me).

People, especially Millennials, are now numb to the messages that a traditional advertisement provides. Not only that, they are seriously annoyed by sales pitches. They want to have an experience and buy an experience.

Google does an incredible job, in my opinion, of rattling the emotions of individuals – check out one of their advertisements.

To be completely candid, I almost cried – that’s good advertising.

How are you addressing marketing challenges?

Article by Michael Howard

The Death of Traditional Advertising

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