I’m going to write this in first person, as my perspective as having experienced both; is the basis for this article. In the vernacular of “a long story short”; I have experienced cute young ladies selling copiers dropping by, received lots of mailers and brochures at work, attended lots of conventions, received “tons” of junk mail (still do of course), and still watch TV and listen to radio; (although I often fast forward through the TV commercials..due to the DVR).
Now, with all that “traditional” experience, I now co-own a company that:
- Provides internet marketing (SEM, SEO, CRO, Site design, PPC, blogs, tweets, and much more?) as a service to clients,
- Does essentially all its own marketing on line, and
- Is quite successful
We consistently get new and qualified leads every day. They qualify themselves as they have seen our web site, and already believe they may need (or want) our service. They send us their contact information and often some background on why they need the service, their specifics, etc. All is a head start on closing a sale. No, closing is not a given, but it sure beats the return from direct mail or passing out brochures and trinkets at a convention. It also does not require travel, a hotel, lugging a booth around, smiling at strangers, and more, all of which I have experienced; and I know some of you continue to do so.
Of course I Googled (Given that is a verb, the power of the internet is demonstrated) the subject at hand; and there is a TON of information on the subject. For the most part, those writing on the internet are very much expounding on the power of “on line”; especially vs. the “old fashioned” methods. The obvious advantages include:
- Cost benefit (bang for the buck)
- Measurability (Ever heard of Google Analytics?)
- International in nature
- It is interactive (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
- Shopping is quick and easy at home
- Levels the playing field some (little guy can seem/look/feel big(ger))
- And much more of course
Now, does that mean traditional marketing is dead? Although one can find articles that say so… I don’t; and it depends on one’s definition of “traditional”. For example, direct mail has taken a large hit. I slammed conventions a little above, but many people still like to look their customers (or vendors) in the eye and shake their hand. My Dad made deals with handshakes; and I’m not that far removed from that era; trust and integrity still have a very important place in marketing and commerce in general.? One cannot get the same from an email or a Tweet!
Also, people still read magazines and newspapers. “Print media” in general is struggling however; and their peak may be over, but they are a long way from dead. And we still watch TV and listen to the radio. Radio commercials are still effective, especially for local commerce.
I see email blasts as somewhat in between, and depending on the quality of one’s “database”, may or may not be effective. In one sense, they are like direct mail (junk mail) and easily canned or deleted. On the other hand, if the audience is somewhat “qualified”; they certainly can generate some new leads. For example, former clients or leads are likely fairly well qualified.
And the two can at times, work in concert or supplement each other. We recently spent considerable time with a group of “strategic partners” developing a business plan for an online marketplace. (If autotrader.com can do it..) Anyway, my point is that even though SEO was a major part of the planned success of the venture, we included plans for traditional marketing (including email blasts, magazine articles (on line as well), and conventions), especially for the “ramp up” period. In this case (starting out new), the traditional is likely to provide some faster exposure and traffic than the SEO.
And there are disadvantages to internet marketing, believe it or not. For example:
- The lack of “personal touch”
- Privacy is often a concern on the internet in general
- It does leave your company more vulnerable to mistakes as it is all hanging out there.
- You will not reach a certain demographic (that is not on the internet or still watching only the 6 o’clock news).
- While not necessarily a negative, internet marketing, like so many things has to be done right to be effective. (A subject of another dissertation)
In short, my experience tells me they both have their place. However, internet marketing is the “wave of the future” and is good, very good, especially if done right. I remember shaking hands at conventions; and remember getting business from that activity, but I see new leads in my inbox everyday and don’t leave my desk.
I want to conclude with a couple quotes from my “Googling” of the subject matter; from a thread in LinkedIn. These quotes illustrate the international nature of the internet, as well as the wealth of knowledge and expertise we have literally “at our fingertips”; on any given subject.
This starts with a question from Salima Nasir, an HR executive at Ephlux, a company in Pakistan. He simply asked:? “What according to you is the rationale behind its (internet marketing) worldwide success in comparison to conventional marketing methods? This was posted 2 days prior to my writing this article; and there were 22 answers at the time.
One answer, from Indra Chandon, a Director at Semantia Pty Ldt, in Australia included this: ” interactivity has certainly changed the options and outcomes (the ability to make the marketing conversation 2-way at a relatively low cost has open whole new ways of engaging with customers), advances in large data set management as geeky as that sounds means consumers feel like they have control (our ability to search through mind-blowingly huge amounts of data quickly, as well as use market targeting strategies that work in this data landscape means you can have billions of marketing messages all floating around at the same time ready to be found by that one highly niched customer), and socialisation has slipped marketing messages into our everday lives at a more thinly sliced level (having technology that adds value to our daily lives has meant that people more willingly share and connect with each other, making viral marketing seamless) in fact in many ways consumers have become sales people and marketers.”
Now this guy (geeky or not) knows about this subject, and is possibly someone who has even more answers; and is now exposed to the world. Of interest and in conclusion; internet marketing can be complicated and culturally diverse; and at the same time, offer very effective international exposure for whatever wares you might want to sell and/or find out about.
We must analyze what we are marketing, and who our target audience is and use all types of marketing when it seems called for. However, internet marketing is very likely to continue to grow exponentially as technology continues to explode and the world shrinks.
Build a good web site and have it optimized by someone who knows what they are doing.? Very likely you will be glad you did.