The Paper Boy

Marketing Matters: Is Old School Marketing Still Worth The Investment?

Recently I had read an article on Entrepreneur.com discussing why old school marketing shouldn’t be forgotten when getting the word out about your business and services. It’s a very interesting topic as some businesses still use the old-fashioned marketing approach while others have completely gone to social media, and there are some individual companies who have incorporated both into their marketing strategy. But is it worth the investment of time and money to advertise your business as if it was still 1999 by creating radio ads and having your business’ information published in the yellow pages and newspapers. Probably not, and here’s why.

The writer of the article even acknowledged that 73% of people ages 18 and older use social media, leaving the remaining 27% who either don’t use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, or aren’t regular users on these sites from a day-to-day basis. While many of this 27%, and even some of the 73%, still read the newspaper and listen to the radio, both of these marketing outlets are a dying breed. As we’ve seen over the past decade newspapers have shrunk as the same information that can be printed on paper is published on the internet and social media sites, where it can be read on a laptop or smart phone.

When it comes to the radio, there aren’t many small businesses advertising, and that’s never been a primary marketing strategy for these smaller companies to begin with. Along with social media and websites, small businesses are more apt to advertise on podcasts as that is becoming the new form of AM and FM radio. While social media marketing is constantly improving and growing, podcasts and other forms of information and entertainment haven’t reached their potential yet. It shouldn’t be discouraged to advertise the old-fashioned way, but is it smart? No. Potential customer numbers are dwindling, marketing in newspapers, yellow pages, and on the radio are expensive, as opposed to social media marketing that is free, or at worst a few dollars out of your pockets.

Another reason to explore different marketing options other than newspapers and radio ads is because of the new generation of customers and potential clients. These 20 to 30 somethings are on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; they’re not sitting at a table during breakfast reading the newspaper before the entire family goes off to work or school. Looking at marketing from a 20th century perspective will neither grow your business or your clientele, leaving you in a tough spot as you’ll be spending more money on advertising than bringing in revenue and profits.

One of the biggest issues with marketing the old way is that it’s hard to track what forms of advertising is working, as it’s more difficult to track ROI. To say that a company should invest any amount of time with this older approach might be a stretch, as it isn’t cost effective and these marketing strategies aren’t targeting a growing audience.

What makes social media marketing unique is that it can be personal. The business owner or company can talk to the customer directly and in a timely manner. ┬áBy doing this they’ll know what the consumer wants and what attracts them. Many small businesses still haven’t converted over to social media marketing, and not only are they wasting $2000 or more a month, they’re not seeing any fruits from their marketing labor.

If companies want to go the traditional route, the most effective form of old-fashioned marketing is the E-mail newsletter. Even today that is still the most effective way of reaching customers, both new and current. I recommend that all businesses have this in their arsenal, as e-mail subscription lists are a goldmine and a great opportunity to expand the customer base.

I want to know what you think. Should businesses still look to the old ways of marketing and spend endless amounts of money on a form of advertising that has no guarantee of working in 2014? Should newspaper ads and radio commercials still be on the back burner for businesses and companies? Or are there other ways of marketing that haven’t been exploited yet that these companies can get into before the rush? This is definitely an important topic and one that every business owner should think about and discuss.

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