San Francisco advertising innovator Howard Gossage once said that, "The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes it's an ad." That’s very true, and if you’re using traditional marketing alone then whether or not people are reading your ad, listening to your radio jingle, or perusing your billboard display is really just hit or miss.
Traditional Marketing Isn’t All Bad, It’s Just Disappearing...
Some forms of traditional marketing are hard to ignore, like a criminal lawyer or dentist who uses the entire back section of the telephone book to advertise their services. The advantage of such a huge space is that it allows for a creative mix of text and images that create a feeling that’s friendly yet professional. However, when is the last time you received a phone book on your doorstep?
Taking a look at other forms of traditional advertising like newspaper ads, radio jingles, and even billboards, they often get overlooked. And adding insult to injury, there is only a chance that they will even reach your targeted demographic in the first place. That’s because finding the demographics involves conducting surveys and working off basic assumption from data collected in previous years.
Using the Four P’s in a Digital Format
Marketing students are taught something called The Four P’s, a set of variables designed to produce optimal results. It covers the basic needs of a marketing plan, including the needs of the customer and the promotion of the services or products being offered to the appropriate demographics. Here are The Four P’s as they apply to digital marketing.
Product – The product is what the company is selling, whether it is a tangible good or some kind of a service, such as ones related to the legal, medical, or financial industries. It also includes packaging. In the case of retail items, it means how the goods are literally packaged and shipped.
But in both cases it also includes the advertising.
Place – In marketing, placement begins with the location of your business as well as how you describe it, such as having a brass plate on the door or a sign in front of a shop. It also includes logistics, meaning the flow of products or services between you and the customer. This could include shipping goods across the country or halfway around the world, performing surgery at a hospital, or representing someone in court.
Price – This is how much money a consumer can expect to pay to buy products or hire professional services. But it goes beyond how much you as a business charge for those things. It also includes collections, discounts and, in the case of professional services person such as an accountant or a criminal defense attorney, extras like free consultations.
Promotion – Promoting your goods or services not only means telling others about them, but also means persuading people to spend money on them. Advertising, special sales, direct marketing, and other techniques that interact with consumers are all forms of promotion.
Social Networking for Professional Services
Millions of people use social networks, so it is only logical that businesses would use them as marketing tools. They are free to use, and it is an easy way to make use of The Four P’s. But when it comes to social media, it can still be beneficial to use it in conjunction with traditional marketing methods.
It seems the more that companies use online marketing, the worse that the reputation for traditional advertising gets. However, when the two are used in a mixed-media advertising campaign then it helps add to the overall brand and builds trust between the company and its consumers.
Using Social Networks as a Communication Tool
For example, a lawyer advertising on the back of the telephone book can use that as a link between consumers and the firm’s social networking page. Once on the social media site, the consumers can communicate directly with the business professional, asking questions about things like free consultations, fees, and whether or not the services will even help their situation.
Additional Benefits of Online Marketing
Business people who use online marketing will find that it’s convenient. Like lawyers and doctors who work a variety of hours outside the typical 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday workweek, online marketing can take place at any time, day or night. Another benefit is that online marketing allows professionals to reach consumers around the globe, unlike traditional advertising which often targets demographics in a local geographic area.
Digital marketing is less expensive. For example, a chiropractic office or law firm can host a WordPress blog on their site. When adding fresh content to the blog, they can use SEO techniques that help bring their site to a higher place in Google’s natural search rankings. That’s because Google loves sites that frequently add fresh, natural content.
Becky James-Muth is a freelancer of all trades, providing writing, graphic design, and transcription services for her clients. She really enjoys the research part of her job because it allows her to peruse sites like www.bgs.com and read the blog entries there. When she’s not working Becky enjoys spending time with her family which includes her husband and their two teenage sons.