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Traditional Marketing Isn’t Dead: How to Use it in the Digital Age

If you do a quick Google search of “traditional marketing,” it’s easy to notice the approach is on the decline. Articles question if traditional marketing is still alive, suggest your business should ditch it for digital or content marketing, share the disadvantages, etc.

Should you scrap traditional marketing tactics and beliefs now that we reach consumers through screens? Because social media connects nearly everyone, is it time to forget the principles of traditional marketing? Traditional marketing has launched some of the biggest companies in the world, all household names today. So, instead of leaving traditional marketing out to dry, principles and strategies should be updated and integrated into our digital strategies of the present.

Marketing: In Practice Since the Beginning of Time

When humans in ancient civilization began to trade and sell items, marketing was unknowingly born; one could argue it has literally been around for thousands of years. It was the incredible growth and innovation of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century that resulted in the concept of marketing we think of today.

Throughout the years, marketing adapted as technology advanced rapidly. In the early days, it was all about magazines, newspapers and billboards, all gaining popularity and readership through the 1900s. Radio advertising came into play in the 1920s, and the era of 1900s marketing revolved around the radio, television and phone calls.

The Since then, it has been a whirlwind of computers, laptops, smart phones, the internet and social media. It’s easy to get wrapped up in creating new strategies for new technologies, but let’s look at what we can learn from these 5 traditional marketing approaches.

Modern Lessons from 5 Traditional Marketing Techniques

Direct Mail

Direct mail marketing is using print materials such as postcards, magazines, letters catalogs and brochures to reach a geographically targeted audience. Think of the promotional postcards you receive in your mailbox – especially when elections draw near. These are examples of direct mail marketing. By using this approach, a business was able to take a less intrusive, decently cost-effective approach while reaching its intended audience.

Consider running an email marketing campaign for a high return on investment.

While sending direct mail can seem like an unnecessary cost with a lower return on investment that’s hard to measure, consider modernizing the tactic by sending e-newsletters via email. By creating a monthly or quarterly newsletter, you can directly reach your customers, and future customers, while promoting original content, and having a little fun – plus you won’t have to pay postage!

If you’re not sure you have enough to include for a monthly edition of a newsletter, think again! You can include recent blog posts you wrote, special announcements for your business, reminders of upcoming events, promotions of any deals currently running or even news articles related to your industry.

However you decide to run the campaign, your email newsletter should contain these 5 elements:

  1. An enticing subject line – arguably the most important element. If recipients aren’t compelled to open it, they won’t read the rest of your email!
  2. A strong visual appearance – choose colors that are and add in high-resolution photos to capture and keep attention.
  3. Concise, helpful content – ensure your newsletter is easy to read and offers value to readers. Consider adding an introduction where you can showcase your brand’s personality in a fun way, and provide a teaser of the newsletter’s content, enticing the recipient to keep reading.
  4. Clean text without typos or grammatical errors – have another set of eyes proofread before clicking send to guarantee a readable and professional email.
  5. A call to action – what do you want your readers to do after reading your newsletter? Share it with their friends? Contact you to for a free consultation? Make it clear how you’d like them to respond.


Broadcast marketing began in the 1920s when the first advertisement was sent over the radio waves, and continues to be an integral part of marketing to this day (remember how much we love ads?). Broadcast marketing certainly underwent changes with the invention of the television, giving marketers an exciting opportunity to utilize visuals alongside audio. This strategy is definitely more expensive, but instead of abandoning it, it could be innovated for new forms of media channels: videos and podcasts, more specifically connecting with influencers on these platforms.

When pitching to a podcast show or a video creator, remember it’s going to be a lot like a pitch to a journalist,

Creators on both YouTube and various podcast platforms have built audiences of hundreds of thousands and millions! Whether your company sells a gourmet snack, fun accessories or consulting services, there is probably someone talking about it in a video or a podcast. Consider sending pitches or samples to these , and in return your business could be promoted to a huge audience with shared interests, or a positive review from a credible source.Traditional Marketing Isn’t Dead: How to Use it in the Digital Age

Sending pitches and samples to an influencer is very similar to distributing media pitches to journalists writing for traditional outlets, and comes with a similar approach:

  1. Pitch to the right person: While you want to directly contact the person who will review or talk about your product or service, many times they are not the most effective person to contact. Instead, look to see if there is an agent or producer for such inquires.
  2. Make a strong connection: Show the value of your pitch by explaining why their audience would care. Include a brief summary at the beginning of the pitch to catch their attention.
  3. Include additional information about the product, company or service – but not too much! You want to give the writer enough information to decide if this is something they might cover, although you also need to keep it short. A good rule of thumb is to keep the entire pitch to 2-3 short paragraphs, so it fits on one computer screen or can be read easily on their mobile devices.
  4. Remember links: Add a URL to your company’s electronic press kit, about page or any products/services you mention so the recipient can easily learn more about you and your business.

Printed Handouts

Instead of plastering materials around town (which only works for brands seeking hyper-local business), create different types of visual content to be shared on your various social media channels. As an alternative of leaving handbills at the library, or posting flyer in restaurants, consider uploading an infographic on Facebook or a video on Instagram.

With various platforms, editing software and media types, the visuals you choose can be a difficult decision. Here is a breakdown of what kind of visual content you can create, and how to most effectively utilize them:


Images are your best bet on Facebook and Twitter, and are absolutely necessary for a presence on Instagram. The bigger and brighter the photo, the more alluring and engaging it is to whoever is scrolling through. When you can, include faces in your photos, too! They do not have to be celebrities, but these types of images are more clickable, and perform better on some social media sites’ algorithms. Depending on how many images you plan on posting or creating in a week, it might be worthwhile to invest in a membership with a premium stock photo website, like 123RF.


Videos are a big deal right now.

  1. Come up with content – take inspiration from blog posts you have already created and don’t be afraid to recycle content.
  2. Create notes – a script or list of bullet points will keep you focused and is an easy refresher while you’re filming.
  3. Practice – Run through it a few times before recording so you sound relaxed and natural.
  4. Record – Use a camera, webcam, or phone with a high quality camera for best results! Record a few takes so you can choose the best of the bunch.

Upload and share – Upload the video to YouTube and share it to all your social channels.


One of the most efficient ways to share information visually is through an , or a collection of statistics and facts displayed in an image. It is important to stay creative, don’t add too many features, and design ones that are visually appealing and flow.

No matter where you are posting visuals to, keep these guidelines in mind:

  1. Be consistent with color
  2. Show personality with typography
  3. Choose the right filter
  4. Don’t overlook positioning


I think we can all come to a general consensus of how awful and obnoxious telemarketers are. Telemarketing is defined as, “The practice of deliveringTraditional Marketing Isn’t Dead: How to Use it in the Digital Age

sales messages over the phone to convince consumers to buy a product or service.” While you certainly don’t want your target audience to label you as “annoying,” you can use the same principle of delivering a message over the phone by optimizing your content for mobile users.

Here are 5 steps you can take to make your content mobile friendly right now:

  1. Limit (or eliminate pop-up ads)
  2. Use percentages for width
  3. Make your website mobile responsive with queries
  4. Get distractions out of the way

Look to the future

Not only will users be happier whether scrolling from a desktop or a phone, your business will stay modern and relevant, all while boosting your SEO.

Traditional marketing has been the standard throughout the 20th century, so abandoning it altogether isn’t wise. With some readjusting however, we can take the principles that made traditional marketing succeed, and update them for the modern world to see successful results.

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