Should Small Businesses Pick Online or Traditional Marketing?

June 28th, 2016 by Kiersten Kampschroeder

Budget graphs

At some point every year, all marketers must ask themselves one very important question. Whether you’re with a small business, agency, or massive corporation, this question plays an integral role in how you shape that year’s marketing strategy:

Where Should My Budget Go?

It’s inevitable, and you need to decide how best to use the money you have to bring in the most valuable customers.

Now there’s no one answer to this question; it depends wholly on your overall business goals, target audience, internal capacity, and so much more. But I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money.

Online vs. Traditional Marketing

You’re not going to figure out every line item before first figuring out the higher level allocations. Here’s where I can offer some insight. The biggest follow-up question when considering marketing budgets these days is how to allocate between online and traditional marketing outlets.

This is a common point of contention, but here’s what Big Data has to say:

Online marketing and ad budgets are projected to surpass TV by 2019, taking the lead in highest allocation over radio, print, and cinema, as well.

Online will soon account for about 35% of marketing budgets, more than each other facet. I know, you’re probably saying, “but I thought online marketing was supposed to be cheaper than traditional.” For the most part, that’s true, and online marketing is shown to reach the same number of consumers at a much lower cost.

However, marketers and businesses alike are also still exploring and tapping into the myriad ways in which they can use the internet and technology to reach more consumers and increase their conversions. In conjunction, online businesses, marketing services, search engines, and tech companies are mining all the opportunities they can find to meet and expand upon that demand.

Search (SEO and PPC) and display advertising will take the largest shares of online marketing budgets through 2016.

Search graphic

There are differing opinions on which actually comes out on top, but sources seem to agree that these two remain the major contenders for your online marketing budget, primarily because of their ROI measurability and continuing advances in demographic targeting.

Do note that many marketers report they are still increasing their budget spending on email and social, so let’s not forget about these guys. Falling under the growing umbrella of content marketing, many marketers forecast the steady and growing demand for these outlets as they move focus toward consumer interaction and engagement.

Finally, there’s mobile. What is there to say about mobile except that it’s become such an integral part of all types of marketing? Regardless of where it falls in your hierarchy of expenditures, mobile implementation is a major consideration, representing 66% of the overall online marketing budget growth through 2019.

Only newspaper advertising is projected to decline by 2019, in traditional marketing outlets.

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Although they aren’t growing at the same rate, traditional marketing outlets still serve as a complement to expanding online endeavors. Digital TV, radio, and magazines still fall under traditional categories. Online advertising outlets are budget-wise and projected to grow at greater rates than their offline counterparts. However, the point here is that traditional marketing still plays an important role in brand recognition and now, more than ever, in driving users to convert online.

Ok, this is just a snapshot of the information available (special thanks to Big Data and the industry shift toward data-driven solutions). So, what does this mean with regard to the questions above?

These projections offer more than just numbers. Remember, marketing is a growing and complex industry. You have so many opportunities and so many choices to make for each campaign. Make sure you’re not missing out on any on- or offline.

By using online marketing teams to help your efforts, you can focus on what your business does best while still gaining traction and engaging with your consumers online.

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