Is Traditional Media Dead?

Radio, newspaper, and television. Marketing tools of the past, right? Maybe not. Online, digital, and mobile are certainly at the forefront of marketers’ minds these days. The ability to directly track the performance and return on investment (ROI) of these digital marketing efforts is highly beneficial, and often necessary for brands with smaller budgets. However, we shouldn’t be so quick to write off traditional advertising all together. Studies show that it still plays an important role in attracting customers.


Take, for example, American’s overall media consumption rate. It’s on the rise and, surprisingly, traditional media (print, radio, tv, billboards, etc.) is at the forefront. Studies show that the average person listens to 112 minutes of radio and watches nearly five hours of television per day. Based on these numbers, and assuming radio ads roughly 30 seconds each, the average listener hears at least 32 ads per hour. When it comes to television, the average person will be subject to about 13 ads per every hour of television watched. When you combine these traditional ad numbers with the millions of adults who tune into television and radio on any given day, the ROI of traditional advertisements is astronomical.


Not only do people still consume traditional media, but it also remains a trusted source for information. According to a MarketingSherpa study, 82% of consumers say they usually trust print advertising and 80% say they trust television advertising when making a purchasing decision. This study also found that traditional advertisements have a high engagement rate. More than 50% “often” or “always” watch tv ads from companies they like as well as read the print ads they receive in the mail.


Just because traditional marketing is at the forefront doesn’t mean you should abandon your digital marketing efforts either. In fact, combining both strategies to form an integrated marketing campaign can strengthen your marketing efforts and increase brand visibility.

What is an Integrated Marketing Campaign?

While digital and social media have opened new opportunities for communication, there will most likely always be a place for traditional media. Integration is the key to marketing success. So what does an “integrated” marketing strategy look like? In the past, it was a strategic mix of television, radio, and print in order to reach your customers everywhere, all the time. Today, an “integrated” strategy combines digital and traditional approaches to reach your audience wherever they are and in a way that makes them stop and listen to what you have to say. While the concept is simple, the execution can be challenging.

What Do I Need Before Starting My Integrated Marketing Campaign?

The method behind seamlessly integrating all of your marketing efforts will differ depending on your goals and your industry. But, first and foremost it is always necessary that your branding is consistent everywhere. This means ensuring that messaging is consistent and that the same colors, fonts, style, and taglines are used across all platforms. Integrate traditional and digital by mentioning your website URL in radio ads and/or having it appear in both print and television advertisements.

Where can I advertise?

The general rule of thumb to keep in mind with traditional advertisements is that the more places consumers see your ads, the more likely they are to remember your product. Here are five strategic ways to combine your digital and traditional marketing efforts.


Magazines are a good place to start when it comes to traditional media. Magazines are often targeted toward a very niche demographic, so these can be a great place to reach very specific target markets. For an integrated marketing campaign, most magazines also have a digital platform to advertise on as well, whether it be a website or social media. Be sure to ask about how to combine both services, especially if you’re targeting a niche market.

Billboards and Geotargeting

Billboards remain one of the top ways to advertise in specific markets as they can reach over 90% of the population. Combined with a geotargeted banner ad to hit consumers smartphones after they pass the billboard will make for an extra-strong marketing message.


Recently, Tallwave ran a strategic out-of-home (OOH) and digital campaign for our construction project management software client to create a “takeover” strategy during their top competitor’s conference in Downtown Phoenix. This campaign combined strategically placed digital display units along with animation and traditional billboards surrounding the conference venue, as well as at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. This strategy helped raise brand awareness as conference attendees arrived in Arizona and as they attended the conference. Each billboard featured a vanity URL, sending users to an interactive landing page with detailed product information and a short form fill. This allowed us to capture their information and continue to drive them through the marketing funnel.


In addition to the traditional OOH placements, Tallwave created a geofencing campaign to target users on their mobile devices as they were at the competitor’s conference. This helped increase overall awareness and allowed users to further interact with the brand. Following the conference, a 30-day retargeting campaign was created with new messaging to continuously engage users.


Although newspapers have been largely moving towards digital publications, newspapers are still a great place to advertise. Depending on your market and target audience, newspaper ads can be an inexpensive way to promote your business or services. These types of traditional advertisements fare well with small businesses or if your budget is small. You can also negotiate online components, like banner ads or social media posts for an integrated marketing campaign.


Although it seems like streaming services are taking over, we mentioned before that traditional television consumption is still high. Due to the increasing popularity of streaming services, running television advertisements has become cheaper. Depending on your budget and your audience, you can strategize the visuals for your commercials and determine the best time to run your ads. For an integrated marketing campaign, you can reuse the same content to run ads on social channels or video streaming platforms.


Traditional media is not dead and continues to play a vital role in today’s marketing mix. Strategically combining traditional and digital marketing efforts gives your brand the best of both worlds and allows you to reach a wider audience. With more and more brands straying away from traditional advertising, it is opening more opportunities to leverage these platforms in order to uniquely tell your story and really stand out to consumers. If you are in need of some strategic direction, reach out to us – we can help!

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