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Should You Invest In Digital or Traditional Advertising for Generating Sales?

should you choose digital or traditional advertising for lead gen

Everyone loves digital advertising for its tracking capability vs traditional advertising. It’s easier to prove digital marketing ROI vs traditional advertising because digital makes the invisible buyer visible. But is this focus on clicks causing you to miss conversions? Let’s talk about that today.

You Can’t Sell To Invisible Buyers

In our zeal to prove marketing effectiveness are we missing out on prospective sales prospects? As any reader of this blog knows, I’m a big fan of the invisible sale. We used to live in a world where we had to push our messages out via advertising because there was no other way to communicate with prospective buyers.

Fast forward to today, and that’s hardly the case. Or is it?

Take SEO for instance. Everyone loves SEO because it’s so ROI based. And we like to think that Google is the answer to all sales prospecting problems. Why? Because there are an infinite number of stats and blog posts produced every year telling us this fact ad nauseam. But ask yourself this question.

How can you search for something you aren’t aware of?

That’s the Achilles Heel of search and the primary benefit of advertising. So while yes, the consumers of traditional advertising are by and large invisible to us, those traditional ads can be the missing key to converting the invisible buyer into a very visible sales lead.

Sure you could run digital ads. Can anyone say banner blindness? And that banner blindness is going to extend to all forms of digital ads, including the current flavor of the week — video.

In an effort to drive ad spend, digital publications are creating ever more intrusive digital ads, up to and including ads that actually stand between the buyer and the content they want to consume. Think YouTube pre-roll that you can’t skip. Or just visit Forbes.com, probably the worst offender IMO.

value of digital vs traditional advertising

Seriously? Can you even read the article?

Again, ask yourself. How would this make you feel? Does it make you pay attention to the ad(s)? Or would you spend your time looking for a way to escape this advertising intrusion in hopes of actually reading the article you want to read?

Seeing The Invisible Buyer

You’re far more likely to discover a new brand via traditional advertising then any other format IMO. Yes, there are numerous examples of “viral” successes… but if you need a million people to know about your product tomorrow, buy a few ads.

BUT support that buy with smart digital marketing. Ask yourself, upon seeing the ad, what will the prospective buyers’ response be? What will they do next?

Chances are that different sales prospects will react differently. Some will turn to Google and search for the product they just saw. Others might turn to social media to see if anyone they know has used or heard about the product or company advertised. Still others might ask their friends. And finally, a decent portion will do nothing. They’ll just file the information away in their brain basket to be retrieved another day upon exposure to the product or company.

Is your brand always located in close proximity to your sales prospect? Is your brand or content available in all of those places they might turn to? Are you ready for them to take the next step?

Converting Invisible Buyers

Is there a case where less traceable but more stumleable [yes I made this word up] media efforts strategically make more sense?

I think yes.

Certainly for brand new products… especially ones that introduce the sales prospect to an entirely new category of products. Think products like iPhone, or Alexa Speakers. Or services like XXXXXXX

You’re not going to Google these things because you don’t even know you need them. Thus you lack the search intent required to form a search query.

And yes, while you may eventually discover them via Word-of-Mouth or maybe Social Media, it’s going to be a pretty slow rollout.

So while it’s been in vogue to poo poo traditional advertising for some time now, keep one thing in mind as you plan next year’s marketing budget.

At the end of the day, it’s really not about clicks…. it’s about conversions. Make your marketing investments accordingly.

The Invisible Sale

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About Tom Martin

Tom is 20+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and digital gadgets that helps digitally challenged companies create innovative and effective digital marketing strategies. He is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale and a contributing writer for Advertising Age. Tom guides clients through the digital marketing maze and helps companies teach their sales force how to Painlessly Prospect their way to more sales. Connect with him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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