Also featured in: Memphis Medical News
The competing allures of digital and traditional media advertising can feel like an either-or choice. Which is the better path for private medical practitioners to pursue?
Business leaders with a history of advertising in traditional media ― newspapers, direct mail, radio, and network television ― might hold affection for the special place these outlets occupy in popular culture. The digital media space, by contrast, is constantly evolving. “Digital media” refers to any advertising or content delivery that occurs online by way of a computer, digital display, or mobile device. Currently this includes websites, display ads, social media, email, streaming platforms, pre-roll video, and native content.
Used wisely, digital and traditional media can work together to enhance any of your practice’s marketing strategies. Each has its own strengths, and most agency media planners would agree that traditional and digital media complement one another. Deciding on the best strategy can be tricky. It’s important to justify competing recommendations with data when developing an integrated media plan.
Here are three reasons why both approaches can occupy a place in your practice’s media strategy today:
1. Traditional outlets still hold credibility
Traditional media generally refers to the tried-and-true advertising methods organizations have relied on for decades, such as radio, broadcast television, printed media, and billboards. These outlets still hold more credibility with older audiences, who are less accustomed to consuming media on a smartphone. While digital marketing dollars are steadily increasing, traditional marketing channels continue to offer important capabilities that digital channels can’t easily duplicate.
These forms of advertising can be both broad and targeted in their messaging and reach. Each medium has its own set of generally accepted rules, even some stereotypes. Despite negative perceptions, traditional media continues to provide data and trackable results for marketers.
Often, digital advertising methods lag behind traditional media in delivering information. This is first and foremost because digital ads can't accommodate as much text ― a significant constraint on any marketing campaign.
In small and medium-sized cities, your practice might be a community pillar. Advertising in traditional regional media outlets provides unique opportunities for your practice to solidify its community presence in ways digital media cannot.
2. Digital marketing reaches different demographics
Digital media refers to advertising or content delivery that occurs online, by way of a computer, digital display, or mobile device. Today, digital media takes many forms: websites, display ads, social media, email, streaming platforms, pre-roll video, native content, and more.
These outlets are essential to reaching younger demographic groups that grew up in the smartphone era. An organization whose product or service is geared toward younger consumers is more likely to reach its target audience by marketing through social media (think Instagram or TikTok) than terrestrial radio.
The digital advertising space is constantly changing. Programming, content, and messaging are more fragmented and disrupted than ever. As media consumption habits evolve, marketers must get creative in their quest to target specific consumers. This helps explain why the demand for digital marketing specialists surged over the last decade, and is expected to continue to grow into the 2020s.
Adapting to the evolution of digital media might not be intuitive to executives who are unfamiliar with the digital landscape. Given the constant advances in media, education is often an important first step in developing strategies. Marketers know they want to incorporate a diverse media mix, but at times do not know the best way to segment those efforts.
3. Achieving synergy
Today’s consumers are vastly different from those of the past, and successfully reaching them has never been more challenging. Spreading your marketing reach across the digital and traditional spaces can be a good way to learn how your customers consume advertising.
Even companies founded in the digital era have found value in traditional marketing strategies. In 2019, Amazon Prime Day was promoted as an omni-channel campaign, with an approximate television spend of $8.1 million, compared to a digital campaign buy of $5.9 million. Google and Facebook have also had very active branding campaigns using traditional media.
For smaller firms, traditional media is a perfect way to get your message out to a wider audience and use specific calls to action to encourage them to learn more online. Once a consumer engages with your website, app, or social media account, the interaction changes from awareness to active communication. Digital marketing then works in tandem to further engage specific audiences with personalized messages and create two-way communication opportunities.
While many practices are leaning toward a digital-first philosophy, our advice is to advocate against digital only. A combination of traditional and digital marketing strategies can effectively harness the power of all channels to broaden your brand’s reach. By viewing media as a unified category with an ever-expanding variety of available tactics, marketers can develop stronger campaigns with effective reach at the most efficient cost.