Why merging traditional and digital marketing is vital for business sustainability

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to accelerate digital transformations. Some will have facilitated remote working almost overnight when the UK lockdown was announced in mid-March. Consumers have increasingly moved online in the time since, compelling marketers to rethink their strategies even while aspects of normal life return.

Despite many looking to cut budgets, it’s expected the allocation of spend to digital channels will increase. Around 85% of UK-based marketers have seen a faster adoption of digital services since the pandemic began, with many habits expected to stick as people’s preferences evolve.

Could this spell the end of traditional marketing as we know it? Or does a combination of online and offline methods offer the best foundations for long-term business success?

The dawn of the digital age

The pandemic has only confirmed a shift that began with the invention of the internet. Tasks such as communication, research and shopping moved first to computers and then to our smartphones, while social media has created an entirely new facet to everyday life. Today, nearly 60% of the world’s inhabitants are online.

While many traditional industries have fallen away, businesses have had to embrace technology or risk being left behind. Traditional marketing methods such as print, TV and out-of-home advertising are no longer viewed as enough – and there are compelling reasons why marketers have shifted their focus.

Digital marketing enables brands to meet customers where they (increasingly) are. Whether making searches, browsing websites, posting on social media or reading emails, each touchpoint in the online journey allows businesses to collect data, measure performance and optimise their marketing efforts.

Compare that to a print or billboard advertisement for example. Brands have little to tell them of a campaign’s effectiveness other than whether sales pick up in the period after it goes out. Make that ad digital and you’ll know how many people are seeing it, whether they take action and much more – all in real time.

This level of information empowers marketers to make adjustments and increase their returns on the fly. So why do traditional marketing methods still hold value? It’s simple – not everyone is online all the time.

How traditional and digital marketing can work together

Rather than picking one or the other, combining offline and online marketing tactics helps businesses cover all bases and appeal to as many people as possible. And by integrating new with old in one holistic approach, one channel can improve the performance of another and vice versa.

One way to do this is through intelligent call tracking. By using software to understand which online channels are driving traditional phone call sales, marketers can complete their data view and reallocate budget to enhance performance further.

Another example is advertising your local events or in-store promotions online. An online event page or offer page can target potential visitors and provide all the information they need to drop by – as well as helping you gauge interest.

Other options are using direct mail and email to increase reach and buying billboard space to promote online channels. What marketing mix could work best for your business?

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