Digital Marketing Vs Traditional Marketing Platforms: What Can a Small Business Really Afford to Do?

digital marketing vs television advertisingI came across Rohan Ayyar’s recent article in Entrepreneur in which he highlights traditional marketing platforms that still resonate in the digital marketing world. I agree that digital marketing has overtaken traditional marketing spend for many companies; they’d be foolish not to move toward more digital marketing initiatives.

As for the traditional marketing platforms that still hold their value, not all are affordable to the small and medium sized company. Ayyar briefly addresses television, billboards and events, PR, and radio as he highlights the staying power of these platforms. What’s so attractive about digital marketing is that it levels the playing field for small businesses competing with larger ones. So, over the next four blog posts, I’m going to take a closer look at the costs associated with television, billboards/events, PR, radio and online with a small business perspective.

Today, let’s look at television. As Ayyar points out U.S. consumers spend about 27 hours per week watching television and that television—broadcast and cable—advertising is worth it if you can afford it. We’ve seen the rise of programs like Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, Fargo, and others. But what are the pros and cons with television advertising?

“When television advertising works, it influences online activity. Video ads on websites, social media and game aps are increasing, which is a tip of the hat to how well television advertising works.”

Television Advertising Pros

Attention Getting. Television ads usually reach viewers when they’re already attentive (i.e. watching their favorite shows). A good example of the magnitude of viewers paying attention can be seen in the number of people voting for participants in The Voice or American Idol.

Show and Tell at Its Best. Television as a medium is wonderful for sharing a product or service with a large audience quickly. Television advertising also lets a company reveal its personality and brand, which is a good way to connect with consumers.

Television Reaches a Large Audience. In addition to broadcast television, cable television programming is gaining attention from the public and there is an opportunity to purchase lower cost ads to reach a cable TV audience.

Television Carries Credibility. Believe it or not, being on television is still seen as a sign of prestige in America…and that translates into credibility.

Strong Call to Action Can Drive Online Activity. There’s a growing number of people who go online while watching television. In fact, according to Nielsen, 84% of smartphone and tablet owners say they use their devices as second-screens while watching TV at the same time.

Television Advertising Cons

Television Ads Cost Money. The average cost  of producing a national, 30-second TV commercial is about $300,000. That number goes down for local markets and will be based on number of viewers you want to reach, the number of times the ad airs, and when the ad airs.

Multiple Touch Points Required. Like all marketing platforms, television advertising requires multiple airings to influence viewer purchasing behavior.

Creative and Well-Written Scripts Cost Money. We can all think of a creative ad that simply stays with us long after the ad was aired. Those types of ads come with a price tag. Not only do good ads come from good scripts, they are also well-produced to avoid looking cheap or tacky—or making your product and company look worse than it really is.

Little Room for Change. Television ads, once they’re produced, are not easy to change with a new offer or deal. That would require reshooting the ad—an undertaking that is time-consuming.

Targeting is Broad. Television simply doesn’t target specific groups very well. There are niche programs, which could provide some targeting, but they may not be a company’s target market.

DVR Systems Use. Many television viewers are now DVRing programs to fast forward through commercials. That could mean an ad gets passed up.

Bottom Line

Each small business owner will have to make his/her own decision about television advertising. As a society, we are a visual audience. When television advertising works, it influences online activity. Video ads on websites, social media and game aps are increasing, which is a tip of the hat to how well television advertising works.

But, and this is a BIG “but,” television advertising is expensive. Don’t be fooled by production companies swooping in to offer your small business a deal. And, don’t spend money you don’t have or cannot justify with a strong return on investment. There’s nothing worse than unsuccessful television ads—for a small business budget, reputation, and business health.

Stay tuned for my next blog taking a closer look at billboards and events as a way to promote your small business.

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