The world is increasingly digital. You probably check your email, social media, news or apps first thing in the morning and last thing before you go to bed, with many, many checks throughout the day. You can search for song lyrics and movie times and restaurant recommendations. As the “Internet of Things” continues to expand, we’re likely only to spend more and more of our time online.

Our expanding digital life is creating new opportunities for marketers. As consumers spend more time online, there is a greater opportunity to reach them through digital images and messaging. And as the Internet of Things transforms, nearly every industry (especially marketing) is transforming.

The most obvious transformation in marketing has been the development of digital marketing. The question is, does traditional marketing such as TV, Radio and Print (including newspapers, magazines and direct mail) still play a role? If so, when should you use one verses the other?

If you look at the history of marketing, as new technologies develop, new marketing tactics emerge.

These new tactics don’t replace old tactics, they take a “slice of the pie”. When radio emerged for example, newspaper advertising decreased but was still very much in play. When TV emerged, radio and print was still effective, just to a lesser extent. Today, digital marketing has emerged as a strong, new channel. But it’s not the only game in town. Some marketers have kicked non-digital channels to the curb but others recognize the benefits of reaching a targeted audience across multiple media, creating an impact that multiplies marketing effectiveness. Our mailboxes have become less crowded, giving those who mail, more time and attention from prospective clients. And let’s not forget the physical appeal and shelf life of an attractive and study print piece.

With print, you can target your message to certain audiences, demographics and locations based on a publication’s content. Direct mail can utilize overlay data to identify a very wide range of lifestyle, life stage and demographic information that even Google can’t provide. But of course, traditional media is not without it’s perils. For example, print is expensive and magazines and newspapers can reach only a very broad audience. Traditional media is also much harder to measure than digital making it more effective for brand building than direct response.

Benefits to using traditional marketing

• Traditional marketing best practices are well established and understood.
• Printed collateral has a long shelf life – it can be kept and viewed multiple times.
• Marketers can easily reach a highly targeted local audience with direct mail.
• Traditional marketing can reach people who are not online regularly or who are not online at certain times, such as on an airplane (but even that, is changing).

The deeper benefits of digital marketing

In some cases, digital marketing is simply the digital expression of traditional marketing. For example, a billboard or magazine ad can easily be transformed into a digital banner ad. But that is where the similarity ends. Digital banner ads are highly target able by placement, search history, website visit history, look-alike audience, exact location, certain demographics and many other attributes. Banner ads are also interactive. Unlike a print ads that are a form of one-way mirror (for lack of a better analogy) banner ads are like a window in that they allow for immediate interaction between the prospect and advertiser. They can achieve both brand building and direct response by attracting visitors who click.

Digital marketing also includes advertisements on social media channels …even entire social media channels themselves. Digital marketing allows brands and influencers to interact with consumers directly, receiving feedback and broadcasting a response to questions or comments. It allows a brand to respond quickly and stay current. And with digital marketing, you can measure engagement immediately and exactly.

Benefits to using digital marketing

• Customer engagement — interact directly with the customer and let the customer spread your message through social media.
• Digital marketing typically is less expensive than traditional marketing.
• Easily measure results in real time, allowing you to keep what works and adjust what’s not working as well.
• Digital marketing provides access to a much larger audience.
• Level playing field — You can reach a large audience without being a multi-million-dollar enterprise.

Our principal, Anthony LoFrisco, Jr. is a career marketing professional with significant experience in traditional marketing at companies like Time, Inc., T. Rowe Price and Cendant. His last 15 years have been spent in digital marketing, 12 of which have been leading AdEdge Digital Marketing, an award-winning digital agency. If you’d like to learn more about how digital marketing can improve your business or how to integrate it with your traditional marketing effort, feel free to give us a call at (203) 682-4585, email us at or Contact Us.