Conventional thinking is a powerful thing. And today’s conventional thinking says traditional advertising is a waste of time, treasure and talent.

But to us, it’s not old media that’s dead— it’s old thinking. And old thinking never sees new opportunities—even in familiar places.

Choosing media isn’t a fixed equation. Every client has its own needs, its own position in the marketplace and, of course, its own budget. And all of those things factor into the media plan.

An established company looking to nurture relationships with clients—both existing and prospective—has little need for TV, radio or newspapers. It’s better served by the highly targeted opportunities available online.

On the other hand, a company with a brand new idea that needs to be introduced and explained quickly to a large number of people is ideally suited for so-called “traditional” media. TV, radio and print can educate, excite and direct consumers to more detailed sources of information. We all know traditional media—especially TV—remains superior at generating emotion. And feelings, more often than facts, open wallets.

The real harm, from our perspective, is thinking in terms of online OR offline as discreet options. We should be devising ways for them to work together. If you’re not convinced, consider the following evidence:

By some estimates, nearly 70% of website visits are triggered by paid media. And about half of those are directly generated by TV advertising. Even if those numbers are high, having 50% of web visits triggered by paid media would still be impressive.

Traditional media is also a great way to generate word-of-mouth, both online and offline. Studies have shown that more than 70% of discussions about marketing are started by TV, radio and print advertising, with TV being the biggest driver of marketing-generated conversations.

At the end of the day, results are really what we should be selling. And closing our minds to media options that some distant authority (probably one with a strong online interest) deems tired or wasteful or, worst of all, dead seems like a deadly idea—for us and our clients.


Posted by Andrew Smith, president of initiate-it, a fully committed, fully prepared, full-service agency in Richmond, Virginia. Andrew founded initiate-it in 2011 after spending 20 years learning the business from inside large and small agencies and in-house corporate marketing departments.

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