5 Reasons To Keep Traditional Media In The Mix

The following post was previously published in an earlier edition of Marketing Insider.

It’s estimated that this year, digital advertising will account for nearly 67% of all media spend, according to eMarketer. While during the first year of the pandemic ad spend was flat — as many brands either pulled their creative entirely or significantly reduced budgets in Q1 and Q2 — digital grew by almost 15%. It makes sense, given that digital media offers tight audience targeting capabilities due to an abundance of consumer data, as well as tracking opportunities.

If the campaign is structured correctly, tracking can deliver solid metrics and insight into ROI on the media spend. Comparatively, even though traditional media tracking capabilities have advanced, it’s still a guessing game to tie spend back to performance.

Coupled with the rise of digital, the media landscape is increasingly complicated. The best approach is an integrated one — utilizing both digital and traditional tactics. Here are five strengths of traditional media to consider when building an integrated campaign:



More real estate. Smart traditional media placements can complement your digital campaign, in many cases offering additional real estate for comprehensive storytelling. This is particularly good for brand campaigns. Out-of-home can be used strategically as location support, while print ads provide a tactile experience for brand engagement.

Added value. Traditional media offers far more opportunity for added value than digital. For example, no-charge bonus media schedules and promotions extend a campaign in-market beyond paid schedules, providing additional media weight at no additional cost. Experienced buyers can exceed the 3%-5% industry standard in added value, typically negotiating a 20%+ return, far outweighing digital.

Content alignment. Traditional broadcast and print media offer more content alignment opportunities, allowing the message to complement what audiences are already seeing. Negotiating fixed positions adjacent to this content through sponsorships and specific placement can help brands avoid getting lost in the clutter.

Endorsement opportunities. Endorsements promote credibility, particularly for campaigns meant for diverse audiences. By leveraging endorsements with “original influencers,” from DJs to on-air broadcast personalities, messaging is delivered by people whom audiences already trust, allowing paid content to come across naturally.

Internal alignment. It’s normal to want to see a campaign in-market once it launches. However, clients and their internal teams may not always be the target audience for a digital campaign, therefore not ever seeing it. By using smartly placed traditional awareness tactics that will be seen by internal teams, the campaign will gain support internally and encourage investment in the initiative.

While digital media is a critical component of paid campaign strategies, traditional media tactics still have unique strengths. Depending on location, demographics and other key qualifiers, there can be an argument made to focus on one over the other. Integrating both digital and traditional together can expand reach and engagement, while also increasing impact.

2 comments about "5 Reasons To Keep Traditional Media In The Mix".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 2, 2021 at 5:49 p.m.

    Andy, I agree with you and so do many large branding advertisers of the kind you see on national TV. Indeed, for these advertisers it's not a question of traditional media being utilized along with digital---it's the other way around---traditional media, namely TV, remains the basic platform while other media---magazines, for example, and digital video as another, add refinements like superior targeting when this is attainable. If you look at the ad spend data and take out the millions of small fry locals plus search, direct response and many other functions that fall uder the heading of sales promotion---not branding advertising---you will find that no matter what the overall ad spend tables appear to tell you, that the major branding advertisers allocate roughly 55-60% of their ad spend to TV and only 15-20% to digital. Used properly, the latter can be very helpful but as yet, digital hasn't taken over to the extent that we need to worry about whether traditional media has a place in a well orchestrated advertising plan. It clearly has one. 

  2. Ellen Seckler from EKS Marketing, August 10, 2021 at 2:50 p.m.

    I totally agree with this article. We as consumers and as marketers are not one dimensional. We consume content from many different sources and we should keep that in mind when planning campaigns and promotions for the brands we represent. All we read now is about digital but that doesn't mean we should ignore traditional media  Yes - digital offers us targeting and flexibility for change as well as great reporting but those benefits come at a cost and as such we should looks to create blended campaigns. As this article points out digital is often small space communication. Unless you are purchasing custom content there is often not enough space to tell a brand story and not enough space to truly see the beauty of a product. How can we even compare the impact of seeing a product on a full size highway billboard or cityscape versus a postage stamp size mobile ad?

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