Sounding Off: Heidi McCrary “Is Traditional Advertising Still Relevant?”

Heidi_McCrary_2012Heidi McCrary is Managing Partner at Ad Shop, etc.

If you’ve ever rolled your eyes while closing yet another pop-up of Netflix on your computer screen, you’re not alone. Once again, Netflix caught your attention and guess what? YOU are their target prospect…that person who is computer savvy and probably comfortable receiving DVD’s by mail. Are they reaching your 80-year-old mother with their pop-up ads? Nope. And mom, who thought VHS tapes were too hard to use – will never use Netflix.

While all advertising has it’s place in the marketing world, it helps to know the benefits and the downside to the different ad mediums. What works for one client, doesn’t necessarily work for another. Case in point…

Print – The electronic media would like you to believe that this medium is soon to its grave but newspapers and magazines are simply evolving and defining themselves in a more niche fashion while including electronic (Internet) services to readers and advertisers. Newspaper readership may not be what it used to be, but it still serves a purpose by providing local news and niche information with tabloids featuring gardening, local sports, etc., to reach a niche audience.

Radio & TV – Although the electronic media is still a strong medium for reaching the masses, an avalanche of cable channels, satellite radio & mp3 players have splintered the audiences. This has resulted in smaller audiences but the reality is that people will always turn to the local TV and radio stations for their local news and community information. Radio’s greatest asset is its ability to reach a target audience – such as women between the ages of 25-54. Radio, as with any form of advertising is only successful with the right selling message and sufficient frequency.

Social Media – We’ve all heard about the explosion of Facebook and Twitter – with even TV icon, Betty White getting into the scene with the Facebook campaign that resulted in her Saturday Night Live hosting gig. The best part about social media is that it levels the playing field for the smaller business owner who may have limited funds for advertising. But with all the talk about how social media is the newest and greatest, it’s important to call it what it is…another marketing tool. Contrary to what your 15 year old tells you, not everyone is using it and its ability to talk to the masses is limited. It’s best used as a balance to advertising that you’re already doing.

Sponsorships & Event Marketing – In Southwest Michigan there are many festivals, organizations and community events that offer sponsorship opportunities. This unique form of marketing offers great image advertising and gives a local business owner a chance to connect with prospects on a more personal level. Smart business owners are always coming up with new ideas for bringing back current customers and bringing in new ones – with holiday open houses, theme nights and riding the coattails of area events. The idea is to keep marketing fresh and interesting.

So is traditional advertising still relevant? Absolutely! But the local business owner today needs to do more, whether that’s cross-promoting with nearby businesses, joining a networking group or writing a blog. People are harder to reach than ever before, for they are online and on the go. But you can reach them with your advertising message – just ask a local, successful business person.

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