Should you invest more in digital or traditional advertising?

I get questions like this all the time:

“Should I invest more in digital or traditional advertising?”
“Can digital offer the same reach and frequency as traditional media but at a lower price point?”
“Can we get the same or better results using digital advertising over traditional advertising?”

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At what point should you consider an advertising agency?

I heard a quote recently that I love:

 

As a small company, the question of whether or not to use an agency for marketing and advertising is one that is not considered often enough. I believe there is a misconception that agencies are expensive and that no one knows how to market your company better than you (the owner) does.  When you weigh the costs of bringing the marketing ‘in-house’ it may at first look like a cost-savings move.  But in fact, the majority of the time the media spend becomes less efficient and less effective, and some companies never fully recover.

With the advent of social media, there has been an increase in companies taking their marketing in-house. Now that this ‘free’ medium is out there which makes it easy to market, many are of the mindset that money can be saved, and real ROI can be increased.  We’re all for that, and it’s a big part of our ‘tradigital’ strategy, but often the savings of in-house marketing is lost in wasted efforts that deliver poor results, as many find out that social media is not so easy, and generating results is not ‘free’.

In addition, many owners and employees fall victim to the old adage, ‘you’re too close to the forest to see the trees’.  By this we mean that many owners often do the advertising or marketing that they like the best, not necessarily the one that their audience likes the best.  We always start with the target market (demo) and the available budget and work it backwards to insure that we’re buying the most cost-effective media that delivers the largest share of your audience, combined with the best strategy (why buy) with tactics (why buy now). 

Many times as an agency we find that the owners and those who are responsible for marketing really do have the right ideas, but it’s a matter of pulling out the best ones, and then executing on the back-end. Ultimately a collaborative process yields the best results, combining the best ideas, with proven copy writing and creative production that delivers results.  Add that to the buying power of any good agency, and you can also significantly save on the cost of the media.

An article written years ago by Tony Benjamin still has just as much merit today as it does when it was written. It’s entitled 10 Reasons to Think Small, as in a ‘small agency’. Here are the 10 points:

1. You get better creative
2. Small agencies are less expensive
3. Substance over surface
4. Clients are more important to small shops
5. At small agencies people aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty
6. Small agencies are apolitical
7. Small agencies are faster
8. Small agencies are friendlier
9. Small agencies make a client’s budget go further
10. Small agencies need every client

Future posts will elaborate on each one of these points, but if you own a company or are tasked with the marketing and advertising success of that company, pick up the phone and give your local small ad agency a call (our number is 561-683-0404…shameless plug!).  Most often an initial consultation is free, and you can determine if they are the right fit is for you.

We consider our agency to be an extension of your company. When you work with us, it’s like partnering with another company that is focused on one task – increasing business through the message you convey. The goal is to allow us to do our job, and in turn let you focus on your job of running the company, and growing your company.

Don’t think you’re too small for an agency, the money you think you’re saving could be costing you a great deal. To schedule a free consultation with b digital, please visit us online at bdigitalagency.com (A division of Baldrica Advertising and Marketing) or call 561-683-0404

Think of ‘Tradigital’ as a way of teaching an old dog, new tricks!

The more we have these ‘tradigital’ conversations with our clients, the more I see the light bulb go off in their heads. It’s almost as you can literally see a flip switched and all of a sudden ‘they get it’.

If you’re reading this and have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s great (read on!) and if you have been having tradigital conversations, than you probably know what I mean.

Let’s go back for a minute…tradigital is the integration of traditional media with digital for maximum results. Basically, we teach that traditional media is by no means dead, it’s just that the message needs to evolve to match the expectations of the audience.

If our plugged-in society, in general, ‘Googles’ everything, why are you giving them a phone number exclusively in your ads? Or, for that matter, sending them to an unprofessional website home page that doesn’t even feature the offer you are promoting?

A colleague of mine was recently telling me about a new account that had been advertising their product specials every week, in a half page ad. Because they had stores at each end of the market, they were buying two major newspapers, and spending about $150,000 per year to do so.

They first redesigned their website to make it professional and functional. Then they changed the ad in the paper to half-page, and basically promoted a call to action that asked the readers to visit the website and sign up for weekly specials via email. The owner was reluctent, he was ‘old-school’ and didn’t think you could use a newspaper ad to drive people online. Well, he did get about 50 calls from the portion of his customers that absolutely refused to change their old ways. However, in just over two weeks he has received over 2,400 email opt-ins!

In the past 6 years combined this retailer had not collected that much information from it’s customers. Here we are two weeks into a tradigital campaign and the opt-ins are increasing daily. Think of the power this retailer will have at it’s disposal once this list gets to 10,000 or 20,000 names.

Do you think he will keep advertising in the newspaper? Absolutley, because when you have a well-crafted ad, with a call to action that drives people to respond online, it works! At the same time, he was able to cut his advertising expense in half (sorry newspaper), and now has an available budget to do the same with radio or TV.

Tradigital can teach an old dog new tricks because you keep enough of the old to keep the dog happy, and then once they see that the ‘new’ is good, they quickly embrace it.

For more tradigital strategies contact John Garcia at b digital agency, inc / bdigitalagency.com

Do What you Do Best!

I am often told “don’t tell me how to run my business”. In fact, it might as well be the slogan of every small business in America. I absolutely agree, the question is – what business are you in?

If you’re a baker, a mechanic, a doctor, a restaurateur, whatever business you’re in, you’re only a ‘marketer’ if you’re in the marketing and advertising business. My point is, no matter how well you know your business, it does not qualify you to best ‘market’ your business.

Despite the millions of books and articles and even blogs like this one, the most successful businesses seem to have learned the golden rule…’Do What You Do Best!’ Those who don’t learn this, prefer to ‘do their own advertising’, or worse, they hire a marketing agency or rep, only to tell them what they want in their ads.

This is why the majority of newspaper ads look like a cluttered piece of mayhem with no clear call to action or visible headline, etc. Many TV and Radio ads just want to cram as much information as possible, and Billboards look more like graffiti than anything else.

Let me ask you, as a business owner, would you let me go into your business and tell you how to run it? Then why would you want to tell your marketing or advertising agency or media rep how your ads should look or sound like?

Even after many small business owners have failed miserably when it comes to their own marketing efforts, they still insist on calling the shots. Recently a new account tells me, “we lost a lot of money advertising and printing brochures on our last go-around” but he still wants to tell me what his billboard should look like.

I’m not sure if it’s the A type personality or the desire to control everything that hampers the ability of small business owners to let go of this part of their duties. Whatever it is, I can always tell when a local business has ‘made the switch’.

I’m not saying that all marketers get it right every time, but the basics of marketing and advertising are immediately recognizable. The clear message, the simple and creative approach, the clear call to action, and the better ones include the clear next step which should feature a ‘digital’ component such as a landing page, website or social network component.

I’ll summarize with this, if you want to take your business to the next level, you may want to consider a professional marketing agency. To be successful you need to give them as much information on your business as possible, and let them go to work. Otherwise, keep on ‘doing your own ads’ and then blame the media company or the rep when it doesn’t work.

If you’re ready to have this conversation, we would be happy to meet with you. Otherwise, we wish you well as you attempt to learn a new profession while trying to run your business.

“Hey, Traditional Media…If you can’t beat ‘em…join ‘em”

After working 6 years at the largest daily newspaper in Palm Beach County, I have first-hand witness of what technology can do. I actually saw the same thing happen in the recording industry, when I managed the sales and marketing for a record label in New York.

When I started in the music business, vinyl or ‘records’ as it is commonly known, was still the preferred method of choice for DJ’s throughout the world. In less than a 5 year span we saw a huge shift to CD’s, which created a whole new generation of sophisticated CD players and all the sales that came with it. It hence moved to MP3’s and the use of laptops. Now, many world-renowned DJ’s play their entire set using sophisticated Apps that cost only $24.99 on their iPads.

Technology proves again, you either adapt or get out of the way. Well, I’ve added one more option, if you can’t beat the technology, join it. I’m talking specifically to traditional media, such as TV, Radio and Newspapers.

Again, my experience with Newspapers saw Craigslist sweep across the nation, from West Coat to East, slowly destroying the holy grail of newspaper income, the Classifieds! Once Craigslist added your city to its list, you can rest assured that income was going to go away.

THERE’S NO NEED FOR THIS TO HAPPEN:

To me, although there are many complexities, there is one glaring and obvious solution. Traditional media needs to facilitate the ease of access to the internet by providing more content and features of what’s going on online.

For example, if the newspaper created a ‘Found it on Facebook’ section, which could even be ‘advertorial’ or ‘pay for play’, I believe it would be very successful. Why, because it’s much easier to look through a daily paper, and read this section, and find new and wonderful pages on Facebook, that are local and relevant, then it is to go on Facebook and search all over. Beyond that, the feature could alert you to things you may not have ever even thought to search for, and expose new opportunities you would have never found looking online.

I’ve heard rumors of TV commercials being more interactive. Featuring a few buttons you can press on your remote to ‘respond’ to the ad. This technology seems way behind to me, and needs to be fully developed and implemented soon. With all of the internet TV’s already on the market, the world is begging for commercials with coupons you can redeem with the push of your remote, as long as say you’re logged in to your Facebook account – now who’s old fashioned?!?

Radio is not as easy, but bottom line, effective radio ads have proven to drive more targeted traffic to a website than any other form of mass media. Unlike other forms of mass media, you listen to the radio, as you do other things. Vanity URL’s have replaced Vanity phone numbers, and most of the audience prefers to respond to ads online, on their own time. When was the last time you picked up a phone after you heard an ad on the radio?

Yet, most commercials do and say the same thing that they always have, and results are weakening. If traditional media featured the ‘digital world’ in such a way that people would find value in reading, watching and listening to the messages again, mass media would be much more relevant again, and our plugged in world would benefit tremendously.

Vol III – The new role of traditional media

In the last two blogs we introduced the Four Pillars of Social Media, and then gave you a ‘big-picture’ overview to set the right expectations and mind-frame when it comes to integrating digital strategies.
In this blog we are going to show you how to use traditional media, such as radio and TV to quickly drive up your audience on your website or social networking sites.

 

Despite all the talk about social networking, a new study has found that “Traditional media advertising remains a more effective driver of online traffic than the social networking equivalent,” reportsWARC.COM.

 
What this means is that, while to many, social media is still in it’s infancy, traditional media has very large footprints and thus can deliver a message to a large audience. This audience however is less interested in being forced to listen to an offer they don’t care about, and more interested in an opportunity to engage with or take the message one step further.

 
For example, rather than tell everyone about your great ‘one-day sale’ you are going to tell them to “Like” your Fan page where you can receive exclusive offers every day. Your goal now with mass media is to drive them to your social networking pages (or landing page, website, etc) so that you can build your own audience. We call this strategy ‘tradigital’ using traditional outlets to drive traffic online.
Looking at 2012, you may consider these two inverted triangles.

The Orange triangle signifies the amount of your budget being allocated to ‘outbound’ efforts. This will initially encompass about 80% to 90% of your allocation. Remember, the key difference is that you are now using this medium to drive traffic to your digital space.

 
By the time you reach the start of the 3rd quarter, you will see nearly a 50/50 split of ‘outbound’ efforts to ‘inbound’ efforts. By this time you will have built up a significant following, and you need to increase your efforts to keep your audience engaged and in return, talking about you.


By the end of the year, your allocation has completely flipped, and you are now driving the majority of your sales efforts via social media. This will be a very exciting time for you as you have learned to rely less on traditional media outlets and now have a built-in audience of loyal customers.

 
Sounds too good to be true, but we’ve seen it happen many times, and for some it has even outperformed our expectations. There are also times when it may take more than one year to reach the scenario above, but one thing is for sure, if you don’t start looking at it like this, you will never get there.

 
And let me close with this: You may be able to still get away with a 100% outbound strategy, but once the teens and twenty-somethings of the world become ‘old-enough’ to make a difference in your bottom line, how are you going to reach them, and the generation after that? Will you be relevant or irrelevant?

The Four Pillars of Social Media –

Is there such a thing as Social Media Baby Steps?

So, I’ve been helping local advertising companies in South Florida integrate their traditional marketing efforts with digital solutions for the past 6+ years, and now I am doing it for myself. After a successful career with The Palm Beach Post, I am tasked with creating the same synergy for” b digital agency”, an internet advertising agency in West Palm Beach, Fl.

Immediately, I am focused on what I call the ‘Four Pillars of Social Media’. These four pillars are made up of Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and You Tube. And if these are the Four Pillars than the cement foundation that they are built on is the almighty Blog! We also have a very close eye on Google+ since Google is such a dominant player in search, this latest product is showing promise and can soon be the Cornerstone of your Social Media efforts.

If you were looking for baby steps to make in this bold world of inbound marketing this would be your starting point. While you can ‘dabble’ in these efforts personally, you need to quickly decide just how much time you are willing to commit to inbound marketing on a daily basis, and if it makes sense to outsource as well.


Even with out-sourcing, there are no shortcuts. You may be able to take baby-steps by focusing on the foundation and four pillars described above, but to truly be successful it will require your consistent and dedicated personal attention. Whether that is you the owner, or you the marketing executive I offer one caveat: without skin in the game, you will be sadly disappointed.

I understand that a person can quickly become overwhelmed and spend time and effort on less beneficial efforts which only increase your frustration. In this blog series, The Four Pillars of Social Media, we will help you set the foundation and teach you how to create a strategy that requires a minimal amount of effort to achieve maximum results.
We will show you:
1) Where to actually start
2) How much time it takes to successfully update and manage your social media / outbound marketing campaigns.
3) How to set a 12 week strategy for each pillar
4) How to leverage your blog and properly position it for your audience.
5) The most effective tactics for each pillar.
6) How to work with a digital agency to maximize your return
7) When and where to use traditional / outbound marketing and advertising and how to truly integrate it with digital to grow your audience.
8) Outbound v. Inbound – the paradigm shift you need to fully understand and embrace.
If you’re a small to mid-sized company that has seen the return from your traditional advertising efforts dwindle in recent years, it’s time to stop ‘blaming the economy’. The fact is consumers don’t consume media the same way anymore, and the longer you wait to integrate a digital strategy the more difficult it will become for you to remain relevant and grow your company. If you would like to learn more sign up for our weekly blog below. To speak to one of our strategist or to schedule a free consultation, call or email us directly.