Wednesday 7 August 2013

Why Online Marketing Is Just As Important As Traditional Marketing

The marketing landscape is evolving rapidly. Even a few years ago, most marketing budgets were focused on market research, print, and other traditional outlets. But in 2013, online marketing is just as important - if not more so - than traditional marketing. Here's a closer look at why, and what you need to know to make the most of this rapidly evolving opportunity.

How people access information has changed

Even in rural America and developing countries, the internet is becoming pervasive. For example, according to Pew Internet, nearly half of all Americans own smartphones and a third own tablets. These devices are on pace to account for more internet searches than computers.

Now marketers don't just need to capture people's attention online - but they need to make the most of mobile opportunities. When you consider that mobile devices are connected to the internet all the time and almost always with your customers, you start to see how powerful this marketing opportunity is. Mobile marketing is in its relative infancy, so it's a great way for brands to get traction quickly.

Online marketing give us better customer data

It's hard to measure the effectiveness of print advertising without using complex tracking mechanisms or waiting days or even weeks to get statistics. Online marketing allows us to access instant information about customers and campaign performance. Want to know how people are finding your site? Google can tell you.

Need data on who is visiting your website - including demographics and what they're doing there? Your analytics packages has all the information you need. Want to know if your headline is effective? Just check your click through rates on your email marketing program. Access to real-time customer data helps you sell better by being able to quickly adapt campaigns that aren't working and replicate efforts that are really effective.

Innovation is happening online

The most innovative space in marketing is online. Between the proliferation of video, audio and visual campaigns and the rapid development of mobile technology, some of the most creative marketing is happening on the internet. Companies that want to build brands that reach new customers quickly, that win awards, and that go viral are focusing on the web and using consultants like Cloverleaf.

Innovation isn't just happening in terms of the platform or packaging of the marketing materials. Much of the innovation that's happening is also focusing on content. Apps are allowing for creative deployment and delivery of sales and informational content. Brands are moving in the direction of sponsored content, which is being widely consumed alongside more "editorial journalism." This changing the rules for how brands reach customers and disseminate information.

Online marketing dollars go further than traditional marketing

In many ways, online marketing is cheaper than traditional marketing. While an ad in a newspaper or magazine can cost thousands, you can often advertise on the websites of those publications for a fraction of the cost.

Because online advertising can be broken down into views or clicks - whereas a print or radio ad takes up all the real estate available in a specific issue or time slot - brands are able to access more affordable advertising options on high traffic social media sites, top tier media, and niche specific online destinations.

Social media strategies help you gain customers

Finally, social media strategies are an essential piece on any marketing strategy today. Traditional marketing allowed you to push out your content; social media requires that you engage. But it also enables you to start a dialogue with customers and prospects. Social media is one of the most authentic and immediate strategies that marketers can use to reach their audience. The channel is effective for sharing information as well as gathering marketing intelligence.

While marketing dollars may continue to be stretched, it's important that every marketing strategy have an online component. Many companies are finding that online marketing is more effective than other traditional methods, helps campaigns scale quickly and attract new audiences. What's your most effective marketing investment? Let us know in the comments below.

About The Author: Elizabeth Alton is a freelance business and technology writer. She covers trends related to small business, entrepreneurs, and the evolving digital landscape.

Related articles:
Online Marketing Strategies Small Businesses Can Use
Adding Real Marketing Value To Brands
Attract More Customers! 10 Internet Marketing Strategies For Small Business Owners
Traditional Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing For Beginners
A Beginner's Guide To Online Marketing

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