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Traditional marketing in a digital age

Traditional marketing and advertising is an umbrella term that refers to non-digital methods. These include print marketing, direct mail marketing, broadcast and TV marketing, telemarketing, in-person sales force and OOH marketing (billboards and signage) just to name a few! However, in an increasingly digital age, many companies are adopting more contemporary, digital marketing stategies, leading us to ask the question: What is the role of traditional marketing methods in a digital age?

Straight away it's worth noting that many companies are not completely abandoning traditional methods, but are instead increasing the proportion of their marketing stategy that utilises digital technology. US markerters even slightly increased their spending on traditional marketing methods between February 2019 and February 2020 (Statistica, 2021), indicating that traditional marketing is far from redundant. Is this still all sounding a bit too theoretical? Well you are exposed to traditional marketing methods everyday! In magazines and newspapers, radio adverts, TV adverts, posters and billboards in buses, trains, the Underground... the examples are endless.

CAMSoc was privlaged to speak with Emma Mitchell about the role that traditional marketing methods play in her position as a Marketing Executive for a health and

safety and employment law management consultancy.

Hi Emma, thanks for chatting with us today. Please could you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Emma, I’m from Bedfordshire, and I’m a Marketing Executive for a health and

safety and employment law management consultancy. Before that, I was a Marketing

Manager for an international sporting goods company. I have over 3 years of marketing

experience in a broad marketing role, meaning that traditional and digital marketing have

equal importance to me. I studied English and Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent

University and always describe ‘falling’ into marketing by accident, as I had no idea what I

wanted to do when I graduated, but I’m so glad that I did.

How important are traditional marketing forms to your work?

All types of marketing are important to my role. In my experience, you should never rely on

just one form of marketing, even if it’s working really well for you. I’m a believer in integrated

marketing plans, which means using different marketing channels and tools in combination.

If you’re advertising on TV, this could and should be supported with a campaign on social

media, for example.

In your opinion, what is the main benefit of using traditional advertising methods?

Traditional advertising gives you another arm to your marketing strategy and opens up

avenues of opportunity. It can be just as creative as digital forms.

Let's get down to the million-dollar question... In an increasingly digital world, what do you think the future holds for traditional forms of marketing?

I think there will still be a place for traditional forms of marketing, even when there is a rise in

brands going digital. If you look at radio broadcasting or television advertising for example,

perhaps considered more traditional forms of media, both saw a rise in uptake during the

pandemic this year. Brands that may have not considered advertising in those spaces before

could suddenly see a value because of the increased amount of people tuning in. The most

important thing is to capitalise on where your audience is. In my current role, my audience

still read trade magazines and they still visit exhibitions, so there is still opportunity outside a

digital world. It doesn’t mean however, that traditional and digital forms of media can’t mix.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if your marketing is in either form. To me, it’s all marketing, and if it’s part of an intentional and integrated marketing plan, then it all matters.

What would be your top tip for our members who are interested in pursuing a

career in traditional media?

There are many specialist marketing roles out there for those who want to pursue very

specific types of marketing - for example, PPC (Pay Per Click), SEO (Search Engine

Optimisation) or UX (User Experience) - however, there is real value in being the type of

marketer who understands the broad spectrum of marketing, and this includes traditional

media. I’d encourage anyone wants to pursue a career in this area to start a passion project

in your chosen area. Not only can you use this to show prospective employers how

passionate you are, but it’s a chance to learn new skills and demonstrate that you are

committed to learning your craft. For a while, I had a blog and it helped me to gain editorial

skills, improve my planning and goal setting, and it helped set me apart from other

candidates because I had something physical that I could show.

Thank you so much for all your insight and advice! Where can our members connect with you?

You can find me on LinkedIn, feel free to come and say hi! I’m always available to answer

any questions on my experiences with marketing.

Connect with Emma on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emmaclmitchell/

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author only, and does not represent the views or opinions of CAMSoc as a whole or the University of Cambridge.


Statistica (2020): Change in digital marketing spending and traditional advertising according to CMOs in the United States from 2012 to 2020 https://www.statista.com/statistics/693449/digital-vs-traditional-marketing-budget-change-according-to-cmos-usa/