Digital Marketing or Traditional Advertisements: Where is the balance tipping?

Digital Marketing or Traditional Advertisements: Where is the balance tipping?

Ajay Sudame | 13th May 2017
As world gets more and more connected through internet, communication channels undergo massive change. This blog examines how Digital Marketing is faring against Traditional advertising.
Digital Marketing vs Traditional Advertisement

Digital Marketing vs Traditional Advertisement

Digital or Online marketing a comparatively new phenomenon, till recently, was grabbing only eye-balls. But not anymore! Increasingly it has started eating into market share of traditional advertisements. As per this report in USA, last year money spent on Digital Marketing is more than TV ad-spend. Even in emerging markets like India the growth in digital ad-spend is outpacing conventional ad-spend by 3 times. Refer report here . And though digital ad-spend market share in India lags developed market like US by a big margin, the message is too clear to be missed. 

What’s happening? How come Digital Media is catching up so fast? Well there are many reasons, but one thing is sure. That this is not a recent phenomenon and is building up for quite some time. To drive my point home, would like to take you through an old experience of mine. In those days (2001) we used to deal in computer hardware and were dealers & service partners for one the top Indian IT brands. Our principal company had just launched a hi-end server, and in order to push sales of this particular server, they decided to have a print media campaign. And rightly the top publishing house was chosen; which published our first advert in the much acclaimed pink paper! This being one of the rarest occasions when, we were extended Ad support, the excitement was very high. On the day this advert was printed, I along with the local Sales Rep decided to find out how much response the Ad has generated. And for which, decided to check out on the Regional Manager. At 4 PM when we sat across him bubbling with anticipation, he responded with a poker face! Nothing there. After a little while he told us “Three Phone calls since morning…” For next two Monday’s two more half page adverts were issued. But response, more or less remained same. For many months that campaign was a joke amongst dealers and retailers. 

Are conventional advertisements serving the purpose they are meant to be? Are they having any direct impact on sales or revenue of an organisation? Or are they just useful to create a recall value? Well we are not sure!

I might sound condescending here or might look I am suggesting that the whole multi-billion advertisement industry is some kind of swindle. Which of course I am not. But I am sure many amongst us must have had an experience comparable to one described above and will relate to this story easily.And will kind of agree that big ad-spends is no  guarantee of a  success for a campaign. That said no one should have any doubt that Print and Television advertising is the most powerful way of making a message reach to public at large. But here I am trying to make a different point. Are conventional advertisements serving the purpose they are meant to be? Are they having any direct impact on sales or revenue of an organisation? Or are they just useful to create a recall value? Well we are not  sure!
But by now what we are sure about is, that Digital Media possesses many attributes which traditional media just doesn’t have. Some of those attributes are listed here below.
1)    Cost effective
2)    Level playing field (Digital Democracy)
3)    Simple to measure
4)    Real time results
5)    Highly interactive    
6)    Brand Development
7)    Far greater reach
8)    Possibility of going Viral
9)    Not Intrusive, yet persuasive
10)    Greater engagement
11)    Target Audience can choose receiving medium (Audio/Video/E-mail etc.)

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This doesn’t leave any doubt that Digital Marketing is having many advantages over Traditional advertising. Notwithstanding these, must be said that old advertising continues to hold sway in middle and lower income countries, as majority of population don’t have access to internet yet. So out of these two which medium is preferable? Well we recommend a hybrid approach. Which means that both can co-exist side by side. And can be used in different permutations and combinations as per the need. With increasing internet penetration every day it’s quite clear that a massive chunk, which was deprived till now will now have access to digital content. Which makes Digital media even more potent and attractive vis-à-vis traditional advertising. However this is not to suggest that, print and/or TV advertisement have lost all relevance. On global scale, it still carries the bigger chunk of advertisement pie. But it’s beyond doubt that Digital Marketing is the rising star and businesses need to treat it like that and start investing in Digital Marketing campaigns earnestly.