We know this is a dumb question. But, believe it or not, a lot of businesses are starting to ask themselves, “Is traditional advertising still the way to go?”
“Why do I need to pay to advertise?” some say. “I’ll just open up a Facebook account and people will find me.”
Let’s be honest. You know how difficult it is to find your best friend from high school on Facebook. What makes you think consumers will be able to find a product that they don’t even know they need?
This is one of the biggest pitfalls of marketing in the digital age. Businesses automatically assume that social media is the new cure-all for everything advertising.
Don’t get us wrong—it’s definitely a big deal and you need to be using it as a part of your marketing strategy. The digital revolution has changed everything: TV, radio, retail, and especially advertising.
But think about it. Are those media gone? Have people stopped watching TV? Have people stopped listening to the radio? No, they haven’t. It’s interesting to hear people say that TV is dead, or that radio is old news, or that print media is trash. If this is the case, then why are companies pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into advertising on these media every year?
Because they’re not dead. They’re alive and well, and some would say that they’re stronger than ever.
Why Stick with Traditional Advertising?
So, we’ve established that advertising isn’t dead, at least in its traditional sense. If you’re still on the fence about traditional advertising, how about we look at how much companies have spent on radio advertising in the last five years.
No. You’re reading it right. That’s an increase of almost one billion dollars in radio ad spending from 2010 to 2014. Billion with a ‘b.’ Spending isn’t slowing down, either. The amount of money that companies spend on radio advertising is projected to increase by another billion dollars by 2019.
So why are companies, big and small, pouring billions of dollars into radio and television advertising every year?
Traditional Advertising Works
Advertising has been around for . . . Hmm, how long? Thousands of years? If you go to Pompeii, you can still see graffiti on the walls from different worker groups endorsing certain political candidates. Archaeologists have even found advertisements in ancient Egypt tracing back 3,000 years.
Advertising in its modern sense can be traced back to sometime around the late 1800s, when circulating publications began selling everything from houses and ovens to toy trains and straight razors.
But as time went on, advertising became a science. Ad men all over the world would form hypotheses on what would push product and put them into practice. If something worked: “Great!” If it didn’t: “Lets scrap it and try something new.”
Through this trial and error, we arrive at advertising in its current state. We know what works, and we know what doesn’t.
That doesn’t mean we’re still not trying out new hypotheses—millennials and generation Z are throwing the world on its head—but some of the most creative minds in industry are cranking out new layouts, headlines, and creative every day based on the core principles that have worked for a century.
Casting Your Net
So how do you know which ‘theory’ of advertising works best for you and your company?
There are three extremes of the advertising world. We’ll call them ‘the new,’ ‘the excessive,’ and ‘the one that works.’
- Get yourself a Facebook page and do nothing, hoping that your target, by some divine intervention, finds you and your product.
- Get on every single billboard, bus stop, web page, TV channel, and radio station, spending millions of dollars to get a lot of attention, but wasting a lot of money in the process.
- Go to someone who can make your target find you.
Imagine you’re out on a lake and wondering how to catch the most fish.
Well, you can make a net the size of a fish. This wouldn’t take very long, and you could get quite a few throws with it over the course of the day. But in all honesty, you’d probably end up dying of starvation before you got a fish.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, you could make a net the size of the lake and toss it in. This wouldn’t make much sense, would it? How much time, effort, and money would it take to craft this gigantic net? How many times would your net get caught in something? You’d get a lot of fish, sure, but it would take you a heck of a lot of effort, and you’d probably end up heading to McDonald’s before you finished bringing in the net.
How about this: you hire 10 pro fishermen at once. They’ve got boats. They’ve got fish finders. They’ve got so many bells and whistles to put at the end of their lines that they can’t get a single cast out without reeling in a three pounder. They can find the best spots with the most fish all around the lake.
Which one of these sounds like the way you’ll get the most fish?
An ad agency is like the pro fishermen. We don’t cast the widest net possible. That would be more than inefficient. We also don’t cast a net so tiny that it wastes our time and yours.
We know where to go to get you the most bang for your buck. We don’t use just a net. We use every tool at our disposal, diversifying our technique to ensure that you get as many fish as possible.
Oh. Sorry. We’re not talking about fish anymore. We’re talking about business. So replace ‘fish’ with ‘sales.’
So why is traditional advertising still relevant? Because if you’re just making a Facebook page and waiting for your target to find you, you’re casting a fish-sized net into a mile-long lake. Sure, you might catch a fish, but it’s going to take you a long time to have that one fish that’s the perfect size for your net come up right at your feet.
You need to diversify your technique and hit your target as often and in as many places as possible.
That’s why we don’t just specialize in one specific area of advertising. We take all aspects—radio, TV, print, social media, events, digital—and craft the perfect campaign for your product or service. Don’t waste your time and money trying to make the perfect net. Leave it to the pros.