6 Traditional Advertising Strategies That Still Work

Abandoning long-standing methods of advertising is not always the best choice for many businesses.

As technology continues to dominate modern culture, most business owners are trying their best to adapt their advertising methods to take advantage of the digital landscape.

Billions of dollars are spent by businesses on website design and development, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and the development and promotion of mobile apps, while at the same time, the use of more established advertising methods are neglected.

This is a bad business decision.


Is your advertising effective?

Abandoning long-standing methods of advertising is not always the best choice for many businesses. According to a survey conducted by Adobe, 47% of respondents believed traditional forms of marketing were effective, while only 18% thought the same about company websites.

A related study, conducted by the Shullman Research Center, found participants felt that classic advertising, like print ads, direct mailings, and TV ads, were still the best way to reach affluent target customers.

Although studies suggest classic advertising is far from the ineffectual dinosaur many entrepreneurs believe it to be, it is important to understand the advantages each advertising medium can provide for your business.


Radio Advertising

Even in an ever present digital world, radio continues to be popular. Radio has a huge appeal with over 91% of Americans above the age of 12 years old choosing to listen each week. Seven out of ten Americans listen to the radio on any given day.

Radio is even more popular with minorities: 91% of African-Americans listen to the radio an average of approximately 14 hours a week, and 93% of Hispanics listen for around 13 and a half hours weekly. Business owners can take advantage of radio reach in local or national markets by focusing on stations that best reach their demographic.


Newspapers and Magazine Advertising

Print is dead … or at least that is what most people, including industry insiders, believe. While it is true circulation of major publications has decreased in recent years, certain groups of readers continue to prefer newspapers and magazines over digital alternatives.

Newspapers still appeal to an older, wealthier, and better educated demographic. Although less than a quarter of all Americans under 45 read the daily paper, the percentage of readers significantly increases for those over age 45.


Photo: © Daria Minaeva
Photo: © Daria Minaeva

Approximately a third of all Americans who attended university or those who earn more than $50,000 a year continue to read the newspaper. For advertisers looking to reach this demographics, newspaper advertising is still a good idea.

Magazines appeal to tight niches of the marketplace, and offer businesses the ability to easily focus on a specific segment of dedicated readers. Since magazine readers are typically passionate about the magazine’s topic, relevant advertisements are not viewed as intrusive, but rather as value-added additions to the publication.

Since magazines are commonly saved, reread or shared, over time, a single advertisement is read multiple times (i.e., pass along readership). Advertising in a magazine can offer an ROI of 79%, expanding to 177% over 12 months.


TV Advertising

Billions of dollars are spent every year on TV ads, but do they work? The answer is complicated. With more and more people choosing to watch online TV networks like Netflix, streaming services like Hulur or DVRs to record programs, less people are watching live TV and the ads.

But TV advertising can still work if advertisers carefully choose programming that reaches their target.


Direct Marketing

Direct marketing enables you to communicate directly with customers and prospects through mail, email, texts, fliers, catalogs and other promotional material. It is a proven form of advertising in which physical marketing materials are provided to communicate information about a product or service.

For example, brochures, business cards, postcards, and flyers, are all still good methods of effective direct marketing. Businesses which choose to incorporate these types of marketing methods have the ability to offer potential customers extensive product or service information using a variety of versatile and cost effective solutions.

Unlike a website, this form of advertising is tangible, sharable, and communicates professionalism which is difficult to duplicate with a website alone. Brochures, business cards, postcards, and flyers are also ideal for tradeshows and inclusion in sales kits.


Direct Mail Advertising

The amount of “junk mail” homes and businesses receive has significantly declined over the last few years. The decline in the popularity of direct mail advertising is not a sign that this traditional form of advertising has finally died the death marketing experts predicted a decade ago.

It also doesn’t mean that direct mail is an ineffective marketing tactic. In fact, the reduction in direct mail may actually be an advantage for companies who aim to take this approach.

Since the decrease in the amount of direct mailing has hurt the bottom line of the post office, the USPS has made it cheaper and easier to conduct direct mailings. Innovative and creative use of direct mail advertising can set a company apart, and help to generate a generous ROI.


Outdoor Advertising

Many people wonder if outdoor advertising, such as billboards and display ads on taxis and buses still work as effective ways of marketing. The simple answer is, they do.

The Arbitron National In-Car Study provides some interesting facts on the effectiveness of outdoor advertising. According to the study, 71% of the respondents report they read outdoor advertising. Depending on the location of the ad, this can mean hundreds of thousands of people reading the advertisement everyday. When combined with the finding that 68% of the people in the study make buying decisions in their cars, outdoor advertising can be extremely effective in influencing consumers.


Whether you are interested in developing an advertising strategy for your startup, or you are looking for ways to increase sales of an established business, don’t spend all of your marketing budget on digital advertising. Traditional advertising methods work, and many still work better than newer digital advertising platforms.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Dustin Sun is the marketing manager at Express Colour, a printing company with many customers in the SME space. Having interacted with many small business owners, he knows many of the common misconceptions about marketing. As a geek, he enjoys reading, writing and sharing his knowledge. Connect with @codingcapuchin on Twitter.


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