Online Marketing vs. Traditional Advertising

Okay, so I’m working on business presentations for two different groups that I need to give this month. One is a 10 minute with the option for Powerpoint or other electronic visuals, the other is a 7 minute with no visuals unless I hand them out the old fashioned way. They say that art mirrors life, and in this case I guess it does. The 10 minute business presentation that can accommodate the electronics I have likened to online marketing, and the other business presentation we’ll call traditional marketing. 

keyboard-150x150In order to chose a topic for the presentations, I start with the questions we often receive from clients and prospects who hope to make the most of their marketing budgets. The top two questions involve Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing.  The tie-in topic that comes to mind immediately is how is marketing changing how people shop, and what makes Internet marketing different than traditional advertising?  SEO and its relationship to Social Media are two HUGE factors in the new world of Marketing.

We know that more and more people (88% was the last number I’ve seen) go online to a Search Engine (Google being the most popular), to research a product or service before making a purchase. Well, that’s one clear difference between Internet marketing and traditional advertising – INFORMATION. Today, it’s so easy to see what OTHERS say about a company’s service record, performance standards, and customer satisfaction. In the past, all customers had to rely on was what the COMPANY said about itself and its products.

Another big difference is ACTIVITY. When you place an ad in the newspaper, and a reader comes across your ad while they’re reading the sports section, you’ve not necessarily hit the reader at the time of their need for your product or service (even though smart marketers will place targeted ads in specific sections).  But when a web-surfer enters a search phrase or keyword into Google, they’re ACTIVELY seeking a product or service (not just stumbling upon it). These people are READY TO BUY in most cases or very close to making a decision.

Typewriter-Antique-150x150So where does today’s business owner need to be focusing his/her marketing budget and attention? They need to be findable, and they need to be engaging. They still need a website, they need to carefully choose keywords and apply these words to the onsite optimization of their website, they need to add fresh, relevant content to their website either through new pages, articles, and/or a blog, they need to be present on social media platforms and ENGAGE their fans, friends and customers, and they need to get onto other blogs, read and comment thoughtfully, and add a link back to their own site. Basically, today’s marketing holds completely new and different opportunities for companies.

These opportunities look like this: small companies can look big, big companies can look small, local companies can stand out and target specific areas and neighborhoods, targeted marketing can be done right down to what people are talking about NOW, this minute, rather than at press-time. Companies have the opportunity to monitor and manage their reputation in addition to offering customer service unlike the world has ever known. Business owners can react instantly to changes in the market, trends and demands — all because of online marketing.  Companies also have a unique opportunity to test, adjust, and measure results so fast, that thousands of dollars can be saved in advertising. Companies have an incredible responsibility to become transparent, to share their problems and allow their customers to help solve them – in the end… people buy from people… and a transparent company exposes the men (and women) behind the curtain.

Some might believe that all this new opportunity would result in the elimination of the professional marketer. I doubt that. Business owners still wear too many hats, and the reaction time required means almost constant monitoring by professionals who know the company culture as well as the owner. The professional marketer’s job is becoming more of a partnership every day. The key here is to not just attract visitors, fans and friends, but engage them and ultimately CONVERT them into paying customers. To convert, you need to engage on a human level. You need your company to stand out and deliver.

A blog can do this for your business. Planned and implemented correctly, a blog is the perfect solution to the question above: what makes online and traditional marketing different? A well written, targeted, transparent blog allows you to:

- Add new content using your choice of keywords,
which in turn: enhances your search engine rankings
- Open your company up to two-way communication,
which in turn: engages customers and prospects
- Monitor your reputation
which in turn: allows you to manage it – albeit transparently!
-  Meet the needs of your customers
which in turn, converts visitors and prospects

So…in the bout between Online Marketing vs. Traditional Advertising, who’s corner will your company be found in?