Is Traditional Media the White Elephant in the room?

Is Traditional Media the White Elephant in the room?

A recent study finds traditional media bests Social Networking in driving online traffic. Am I opening a can of worms with my first D.I.G. blog, or are there others out there that can attest to this?

I am currently employed as a Digital Solutions Account Manager for the largest Newspaper in West Palm Beach DMA. I know the challenges all too well, yet studies like this continue to prove that traditional media remains effective if used correctly.

More often than not, I go on calls where clients or prospects are complaining that their ads ‘aren’t working’. Many are desperate for sales and want to abandon their strategy and figure out how to get better results with smaller budgets using the internet/social media.

The mindset that ‘nobody reads the paper’, or that ‘radio has lost its audience to Pandora’ or that ‘TV commercials are skipped on DVR recorders’ is so prevalent, and has been pounded so deeply into their psyche, advertisers are convinced it’s time for a change.

Except, they don’t want to change, they want to completely abandon their traditional buy, and put it all into digital. As a Digital rep you may think I would welcome that, but all too often an account without a solid foundation, that shifts its strategy too quickly, is bound to fail for a myriad of reasons which I will D.I.G. deeper into on future blogs.

For now, lets’ focus on this study and whey traditional media has proven more effective at driving online traffic than it’s social media counterpart. For starters, let’s look at why it fails to do so. In yesterday’s A section of the newspaper I counted 22 advertisers, of which, only 1 offered a QR code, and none had any value-added reason to visit their site or to ‘Like’ on FB or follow on Twitter…NONE!

The types of advertisers ranged from one-shop operations to national chains. I challenge you to conduct the same experiment in your local paper and send me your observations. By contrast most radio ads I hear, and to lesser extent TV ads, do include a strong call to-internet action, which give each ad a ‘second life’ online.

If an advertiser wants to begin the shift to digital, it starts with traditional. The awareness stage of any campaign cannot simply be ‘skipped’. Traditional media continues to be a tremendous resource in this stage with its ability to engage a large audience. It is a key trigger to increase brand awareness, which triggers related Google searches, which places your prospect securely in the buying funnel. If you lead them to a well crafted landing page, FB page or Twitter account, and you can reach this prospect, for life! Give them a valid reason to join you in the digital space and reaching them can cost you substantially less in the future with better results.

I am all for increasing your digital footprint but not without the foundational support of traditional media. For smaller businesses in the world of retail, blogging every day and creating your own content is not always an option. Leaning on proven outlets with built in audiences is a better approach, as you start to shift your focus one step at a time.

Check out the study here, let us know what you think, and how you are leveraging traditional media to grow your online footprint.