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Why Traditional Media Still Matters


September 19, 2013

One of the biggest struggles in media in recent years has been the shift to digital media. According to, digital is set to surpass TV in time spent with US media. The toughest aspect of this for a media planner like me is that Digital is broken into online and mobile, making the most important aspect of today’s media plan the traditional media buy.

At this point in the media world, you need to include digital aspects, whether it be SEM, digital display, video pre-roll, native advertising etc. – this way, your messaging can be found when people are doing research before the point of purchase. The traditional media buy will still be the key to creating demand for your product or service.

The start of the NFL Season is a perfect example of how traditional TV is a powerful tool. The prime time season openers for Sunday Night Football (NBC) captured 23.2 million in the covenant adults 18-49 demographic. For a national campaign, a digital plan will not be able to produce those numbers in such a key demographic using one ad. In return, it builds demand for the product or service which is then searched for online.

TV is still the biggest media when it comes to impressions in a 15 to 30 second window. But when talking about traditional media, more than just TV is effective.

Radio has been impacted by digital media mostly due to the increasing users on Pandora and Spotify. The use of internet radio users has increased over the years and, from experience with advertising on internet radio, it can be very effective. There are a large number of internet users that use it in conjunction with traditional radio. Studies show that 90-93% of the Americans still listen to broadcast radio, proving it can still be an effective vehicle during key drive times.

Outdoor can still be extremely effective when targeting geographically as well. The huge benefit is reaching your target markets in a precise location and giving them the exact information they want. Digital is extremely local, but the negative when comparing to outdoor is that the ad may show up when the ad may not be geographically relevant.

Digital and traditional media plans need to work in conjunction with one another in order to leverage a successful campaign. As consumers, we are seeing more advertisements on a daily basis than ever before. The way to make an impact is to have an integrated plan across multiple vehicles, but using each vehicle in the most effective way. A perfectly integrated marketing plan uses traditional media to build the demand, while then using digital advertising hone the focus on your specific brand.