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Why Traditional Media Advertising Is Losing You Money (And How To Fix It)

You’ve probably heard it before: Newspapers, TV and radio are dead, killed off by the internet.

Although a lot has changed recently in what’s known as “traditional media”, there has not been a total shift away from this type of media to the internet.

Media businesses in print, TV, and radio have been slow to embrace change because their main sources of revenue have also been slow to change. For instance, many people who are 65 years and older still read a daily newspaper.

Traditional newspapers are caught in the trap of trying to maintain an outdated model based on subscriptions and print ads, while trying to successfully transition into digital. Unfortunately, overhead for print media is high, and new revenue has been hard to find through paywalls and online display ads.

Meanwhile, traditional TV watching has dropped drastically over the last decade. One recent study found almost one half of Millennials and Gen Xers don’t watch traditional TV. Rather, they are more likely to watch on-demand video on streaming platforms, with young adults viewing approximately 30 hours of streaming video per week. This change makes these generations far less reachable through traditional TV advertising, particularly as subscription services like HBO Max don’t even have advertising.

So – what’s the solution?

The short answer: If you want to reach more people for less money, switch to digital.

For business owners, the inefficiency of traditional media can mean a lower return on advertising investments. Sadly, if your business is overly reliant on traditional media, you’re probably losing money.

“What really separates digital advertising from many other forms of traditional media is that it is more cost effective, targetable and most importantly measurable,” says Rick Fickhesen, the Director of Sales at Step Out Buffalo. “Digital advertising allows a brand to get in front of the consumer at all stages of the buying cycle, while being able to track results allows you to know what is and isn’t working.”

Chuck Kluckhohn, Co-Founder of Step Out Buffalo, admits there’s a learning curve for companies looking to adopt digital advertising.

“There is a huge upside for small businesses that figure out digital advertising,” he says, “but to reap the benefits, people need to invest some time and energy.”

With this is mind, consider the following ways that traditional media advertising could be costing you money – and how switching to digital can give you more bang for less buck.

Save actual dollars – it just makes cents 😉

Traditional is more expensive. One of the primary benefits of digital media is how cost-effective it is compared to traditional media. Sponsored posts, email marketing, social media marketing and internet banner advertisements are all quite inexpensive to make. By comparison, traditional media ads can require a large investment. For example, a full-page, full-color newspaper ad can cost several thousand dollars, while a multi-channel digital campaign can cost a few hundred dollars.

Reach higher quality customers and get a higher return on investment

Traditional can’t target. While traditional media is more of a spray-and-pray approach, targeted marketing allows a company to reach customers who are most likely to be interested in its products and services.

Targeted marketing via digital media is very effective if a campaign’s primary focus is reaching specific target audiences. With a digital media campaign, companies can create content specifically for certain genders, ethnicities, languages, age groups, locations, interests and/or income levels. When you add in the fact that digital media ads are cost effective to produce and post, it allows for a number of different marketing campaigns, each of which can be suited to a specific target group.

Get real time data + the ability to change things as needed

Traditional can’t measure. Digital media marketing technology allows a company to track ads, evaluate in real time, and make changes to optimize advertising efforts moving forward. Everything from changing a few phrases or an artwork image could be done cheaply and swiftly.

Even better, each change to an ad can be quantified by click-through and conversion rates. Digital tools help companies recognize exactly what is working and what isn’t. With traditional ads, it takes a much longer to not only see how they pan out initially, but also the impacts of each change.

Increase follower counts (yes, it’s really that important)

Traditional can’t integrate with social media. While a newspaper or TV ad can mention a company’s social media profiles, these types of advertising don’t integrate well with a company’s own social media marketing.

Digital advertising, on the other hand, can dovetail neatly with a brand’s social profiles and drive-up follower counts, which, Kluckhohn says, “will pay dividends for years to come.”

“This is where Step Out Buffalo can really help get businesses up to speed,” he adds. “We like to think of ourselves as a megaphone for businesses to amplify their own social media and email programs.” The perk of boosting these numbers? You have a 24/7 direct line of access to people who like your business and want to support you – which can help grow your profits exponentially.


Want to learn more about how Step Out Buffalo’s digital advertising options can boost your business for less? Contact us!

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Step Out Buffalo Business

Step Out Buffalo Business is a business focused publication featuring tips and tricks for entrepreneurs and small business people in Buffalo & Western New York by the team at Step Out Buffalo. We write what we know and when we don't know, we ask an expert in the field. We've gained our knowledge through experience growing businesses in various industries.

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