Raging on, the age-old debate over traditional versus digital advertising has continued to captivate the marketing world, and leading voices in the field are calling for a strategic blend of both approaches to achieve the most effective brand advertising.
Traditionally, the marketing landscape has relied on tried-and-true methods such as newspaper ads, radio jingles, and television commercials. These avenues offer the advantage of reaching a broad audience base but may lack the precision needed to target specific demographics. In this regard, traditional advertising shines by broadcasting messages widely, gradually immersing the audience through repeated exposure.
However, the digital era has ushered in a new wave of consumer-brand interactions.
With smartphones, tablets, laptops, and PCs, consumers have gone online, making interactions more personal, immediate, and intimate, brands now have the ability to forge deeper and more relevant relationships with their audience.
This digital revolution has fundamentally altered the consumer journey. No longer does product or service awareness invariably lead to in-store purchases, instead, consumers first encounter brands online, leaving behind a rich digital trail that advertisers can leverage to create multiple touchpoints throughout the consumer journey.
Despite the undeniable allure of digital marketing, there is a growing concern that advertisers are quickly overlooking traditional media, spurring experts to, again, caution against this one-sided approach.
Richard Iweanoge, CEO of Papyrus Digital Solutions Limited, offered a nuanced perspective. In his submission, Iweanoge emphasized the merits and drawbacks of various advertising platforms, highlighting that each medium has its unique strengths and limitations.
Stressing the importance of aligning advertising strategies with the platform’s expectations, whether traditional or digital, he said “Whether it’s traditional or digital, it’s like fishing; you throw your net out there and hope to catch some fish. Majority of the fish will not get in there but some will. The conversion rate may be low but that’s the nature of advertising. You cast your net wide while you catch a few. Platforms will advise you frankly on what to expect. As long as you are doing up to the platform’s expectations, you are fine.”
Highlighting challenges such as power supply and data access, Rotimi Bankole, Managing Director of SBI Media Limited noted that while the digital landscape is evolving, the integration of traditional and digital should be strategic and product-specific.
“The key is to find the right mix of digital and traditional, depending on the brand and its audience,” he stated.
Sharing his viewpoint, Stanislaus Martins, Regional Director Meta for Africa, Ad Dynamo by Aleph and President, Association of Digital Marketing Professionals (ADMARP), underlined the importance of data-driven decisions.
Martins believes that brands should adapt to changing consumer behaviors and preferences, with research guiding their choices. He revealed “It is a bit premature to put the channel or platform before your audience and the problem you are trying to solve, the reverse should be the case. The best CMOs make data based decisions. If research shows that your target audience is spending more time on digital channels, then it probably makes sense to play more in digital, while you embrace a more integrated approach – Be ready to move things around as you see the channel driving more impact for your campaign. At the end of the day, there is no one size fits all for brands, all brands need to adapt to the changing behaviour of their audience.”
On her part, Biodun Adefila, COO of SO & U, emphasized the importance of flexibility as consumers’ habits evolve.
In Adefila’s opinion, brands must align with changing behaviors, using both traditional and digital channels as needed. Success depends on how well these platforms are integrated into marketing strategies.
In the same vein, Category Development Manager at Nestlé, Rukevwe Toka advised brands to cultivate an intimate understanding of their consumers, from needs to habits and preferences. According to Toka, this knowledge guides the selection of the right channels for effective communication.
Also providing insight into the subject matter, solutions manager at Meta, Oti Ukubeyinje underscored the need for marketers to adapt to the times while aligning advertising efforts with sales strategies.
Noting that the choice between digital and traditional should reflect the brand’s sales outlets, Oti shared “I don’t know any mass-market brand that’s completely ditching digital. If your target audience is predominantly found on digital platforms, it makes sense to shift your budget to where the audience is, but if you look at emerging markets, there’s still a huge population of consumers that are not yet fully present on digital, so you can’t abandon it. In fact, it’s a function of the end-to-end omni-channel strategy, really.”
Meanwhile, VP Growth and Membership at ADMARP, Nelson Oshodi recommends aligning media budgets with specific marketing goals, audience demographics, and industry verticals.
Oshodi believes that the mix should be customized to maximize the impact of brand advertising.
Founder of Aimone Creative Agency, Aizehi Itua also stressed the importance of measuring the impact of traditional media with advanced technology.
Sharing that an integrated approach ensures brands maintain a presence in consumers’ minds, Itua pointed out that marketers must weave their marketing strategies in order to maintain a larger share of consumers’ minds and wallets.
“As a result, an integrated approach is required. Marketers can better measure the impact of traditional media thanks to advanced technology and rapid data fluency. It is all about finding the right balance and maximizing the strengths of each platform,” he stated.
In a closing statement, Global Brand Communications Lead at Beiersdorf, Temitayo Ige, simplified the approach: “Start with your consumer and work backwards.” Ige believes brands should go where their consumers are, not necessarily where the competition is.
submissions in this article were culled from a Marketing Edge Interview