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In today’s increasingly digital world, many business leaders are leveraging digital marketing tactics as the primary way to reach potential customers. But, the truth is that traditional marketing tactics still work. For example, many brands have started investing in direct mail marketing campaigns again as a way to overcome the crowded inboxes of email.

Digital or Traditional—Trick Question?

I’m often asked by business leaders which marketing tactics they should use to reach new customers. But, the truth is that it’s a bit of a trick question.

By viewing marketing as consisting of two separate disciplines—‘digital’ and ‘traditional’—business owners and marketers are missing a trick. Today, the best results occur when brands combine the right mix of tactics to achieve their goals. Some campaigns may be ‘digital.’ Some of them may be ‘traditional.’ But, all of them are marketing—and, that’s the point.

How to Maximize Every Channel—Digital or Traditional

So, how do you develop a plan that maximizes the effectiveness of each channel? Here are a few keys:

  1. Start with a clear understanding of campaign objectives. What are you ultimately trying to achieve? Once you define that, you can begin to create goals for each channel that align with your objectives. For example, if your objective is to drive awareness of your brand, you may have goals for social sharing and likes on social media channels. If the objective is to generate leads, your goals may include the number or percentage of leads generated by each channel. Start with what you’re trying to achieve first.
  2. Plan your campaigns based on the preferences of your audience—their pain points and stage in the sales process. If you want to earn people’s attention in today’s increasingly noisy world, your marketing messages must be personal and relevant for the people you’re trying to reach. Why are they interested in hearing from your business right now? Using what you know about them (demographic information, pain points, etc,)—along with where they are in the buyer’s journey—will enable you to pinpoint which channels will help you reach them.
  3. Use data to develop your strategy. If you’re not sure which channel to use, your data might be able to help you find the answer. Which campaigns have worked in the past? Which channels seemed to resonate most with the audience you’re trying to reach? Rather than going with your gut, take time to evaluate past campaigns and really try to determine why certain campaigns worked and others didn’t.
  4. Consider how each channel plays into your overall strategy. Just because you can do something on every channel doesn’t mean you should. By evaluating data and segmenting your audience, you can identify the right channels for the right audiences and coordinate those channels to work together.

Are you trying to determine whether to invest in digital or traditional campaigns? The best marketing execution is most often a combination of both tactics, developed from an understanding of customer behavior and expectations. When you take time to define their preferences in light of your overarching objectives, you’ll be a lot closer to developing a marketing plan that delivers.