Advertising is NOT dead

notdeadOK, I’m a new media person and love digital marketing, but let’s make one thing clear “traditional advertising is not dead”.  While more brands are shifting dollars to digital they may be making a huge mistake as consumers just don’t have time to go to every website that strikes their interest.

Last Spring I consulted with a gourmet ice cream company that wanted to announce some new flavors to gain awareness and sell through.  When I joined the marketing team they had spent most of their budget online via targeted ads and social media.  After 6 weeks, although the analytics were good, sell through at retailers was lagging.


The first thing we learned was that awareness of the new flavors was high, but not at the moment of truth (in store conversion).  I recommended that we try a test of spot cable in two markets along with decals on grocers freezer doors coupled with a regional FSI drop.  The result?  The new flavors sold out in both markets, even though these products were premium priced.  Needless to say we reduced the digital spend in favor of more traditional advertising.

The Barcelona Creative Group states “the key is to integrate traditional advertising and digital advertising to develop powerful, integrated marketing campaigns. Traditional advertising is not dead. It is merely facing a great deal of competition from other forms of advertising in modern times. Like many other facets of life, advertising has been irreversibly changed by technology – consequently, advertisers have been forced to adapt. Balancing the free form messaging of social media with the control, consistency and reach of traditional media can offer the best of both worlds.


PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that advertisers spent $63.8 billion on TV, about 75% more than they did on online ads and on all other traditional media combined. In addition, TV is expected to see healthy growth through 2017.  Old media is hardly dead. In fact, to put the matter into perspective, only about 23 percent of all U.S. advertising revenues in 2012 came from digital media, a 3 percent increase over 2011. Although many newspapers and print publications are struggling and TV viewership has declined radically from peak levels–today’s shows typically claim only about 40 percent to 50 percent of the viewers their counterparts did a couple of decades ago, while newspaper ad revenues have declined by about 50 percent since 2005–old media remains a highly viable and effective tool. One needs to look only as far as the stack of mail order catalogs that stream in during the winter holidays to recognize the ongoing role of paper and print. Likewise, paper coupons predominate, and billboards still abound.


The key for marketers is not to fall into the hype of digital or mobile but to understand where ad dollars are going to lead to conversion vs. interruption. Sure, digital can be important, but traditional advertising still can provide a higher ROI.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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