Consumer trends and the way we absorb content are constantly shifting, and as a marketer trying to keep up can give you some serious whiplash.  With so many options, how do you choose which channels to invest in for your media mix?  And on top of that, how do you keep track of consumer behavior when it is constantly in flux?  When a single ­social influencer like Kylie Jenner can cause Snapchat’s stock to lose $1.3 billion from a single tweet (CNN), it becomes pretty apparent that the way we communicate with customers has changed.

Advances in communication have made our great big world feel a lot smaller and communicating with each other has never been easier.  Suddenly events and people on the other side of the world don’t feel as far away, and globally we’re so much more connected.  But on the flip side, when there are literally hundreds of ways to communicate a message, knowing which channel to add to your media mix can be a challenge.

So how do you navigate these choppy waters?  And what form of communication should you choose to form a connection with your target audience?  Of course, the answer varies but for the most part you shouldn’t be putting all your eggs in one basket.  Here is a breakdown of some popular advertising mediums as well as trends to know before you shake up your media mix.

Traditional Advertising

Television, radio, billboards, print

There was a time where the whole family would gather in front a television to watch the nightly news or a popular film being featured on one of the major network channels.  Flash forward to 2018 and if your family is anything like mine you are all in different rooms utilizing different forms of media.  A traditional television commercial just doesn’t have the same impact as it once did, in fact, two-thirds of consumers under the age of 35 are using streaming services rather than watching cable programming (CMO). Traditional advertising such as radio and print are also seeing diminishing returns in the digital age as consumers switch to streaming services like Spotify and tend to use online blogs to consume their news and content.

So does that mean that traditional advertising is dead?  Most marketers would say no.  Billboards are still highly effective and reach millions of Americans sitting in traffic every year, and commercial spots are still seeing a lot of success, especially when aired during live events.  And although newspaper and magazine readership has declined, print advertising is still effective with older audiences and is a lot more affordable than it used to be.  So to sum it up, traditional advertising still has a lot to offer but the consensus of most marketers is that you shouldn’t rely solely on traditional channels in your advertising efforts.

Digital Marketing

Social media, blogs, email, search engines, website

Digital Marketing is one of those buzzwords you hear a lot and encompasses any form of marketing that occurs online. This form of advertising began to take off in the 90’s, and then exploded in the 2000’s with the widespread use of social media platforms and Google.  Although there is still a place for traditional advertising, if you aren’t incorporating digital marketing into your communication strategy you are missing out.  According to PEW, 68% of US adults regularly use Facebook, and 73% visit Youtube.  Among young adults Snapchat and Instagram reign supreme with 71% visiting the platforms at least once a day.  Social media marketing is one of the most effective forms of advertising and a channel that should be a part of your strategy. Through social you can also drive traffic to your website, landing pages and blogs to further your content marketing reach.

Along with social, SEO marketing falls under this category and is critical to your business.  Consumers often use search engines like Google to find product and services and also conduct research on product by searching the blogosphere.  Your website showing up above your competitors in search could very well make or break your business, making SEO efforts well worth the cost.

Your customers are spending on average over 10 hours daily (Neilsen) in front of screens, so if you want to reach them then it’s time to get digital.  That being said, if adults over 65 are part of your target market then digital alone may not be your answer.  Successful media mixes should incorporate both!  But either way you slice it, you can expect digital advertising is here to stay and will only continue to shift and grow.

gift bags

Physical Marketing

Mailers, promotional products

Physical marketing efforts aren’t as well known as digital and traditional, but that doesn’t mean this channel is any less effective.  Some studies show that on average we can encounter as many as 4,000 ads per day and with all the advertising clutter, physical marketing can be a great way to reach your audience and be memorable.  Branded merchandise such as a branded t-shirt or a Bluetooth speaker are physical reminders of your brand that will be kept and repeatedly used.  On top of that, impressively 85% of people who receive a promotional product can recall the brand name (ASI)!

Another perk – promotional products are also the most highly regarded form of advertising.  A video ad on Youtube or a commercial during your favorite show can often generate negative feelings, while promotional products are perceived as a gift that is often useful for the customer.  Physical marketing strategies are effective at generating an emotional response which makes for a memorable impression.

Promotional products can be mailers you send to prospects, or giveaways at a trade show.  They can range from a koozie, to a brand name luggage set and are able to be highly targeted based on geographic location and audience.  Promotional products are also budget-friendly and on average cost only .07 cents per impression!  And while promotional products are often overlooked by marketers, don’t underestimate the power of promotions in your media mix.


So… which channel is right for you?  The best marketing gurus know strategically picking several channels is the way to go.  By mixing traditional, digital, and physical advertising mediums you are able to reach your audience much better than relying on one mode of communication alone.

Sarah Radin

Ready to remix your media mix and talk about physical marketing? Contact us!