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Are Traditional Marketing Practices Really Dead?
By: Dana Severson
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Through the whole of my career, I’ve been accused of being many things. Stubborn, bullheaded, and unpredictable are just a few. But the one that just ruffles my feathers is traditionalist.
Because when it comes to marketing, “traditional” often translates into antiquated, out-of-date, or even obsolete. 
As marketers, we’re constantly tasked with finding new channels and opportunities to reach consumers. Just look at how many of us are adopting and adapting web 2.0, social media, mobile apps, search engines, and email to get the word out.
I wholeheartedly admit: these outlets work, some better than others — don’t get me started on the value of Twitter.
The reason is simple. A consumer’s decision journey is much different than it used to be; studies support that. He no longer uses an advertisement as his only means of selecting one product or service over the next. Instead, he’s an active participant in his purchase behavior, gathering opinions and information before ever forking over his dough.
But I also believe more “traditional” marketing channels still have a place in the marketing mix. So, yes, in a sense, I am a bit of a traditionalist.  
You see, I always get stuck on noise. When there’s lots of it, you risk getting lost or ignored.
The next time you open your mailbox (and I’m talking your “traditional” mailbox), count the number of letters, bills, and other items in it. Now, do the same for your inbox, and the search results of a product you want to purchase. What’s the noise looking like?
We’re often of the mindset that “If you build it, they will come.” But that’s rarely the case. If the consumer can’t find you, you’re not part of his buying decision.
Now, I’m not saying invest all of your marketing dollars in direct mail, print ads, POS signage, and other “traditional” channels. In today's marketing landscape, it would be foolish. A healthy portion of it should go to those places where potential customers spend most of their time. But do yourself a favor, and set some money aside to take advantage of the quieter channels — at least for those business not yet on a consumer's radar.
“Traditional” marketing isn’t dead…we’ve just left it behind, and the companies that realize how quiet these channels have become will have a better chance of standing out above all that other noise.


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About the Author
Dana Severson is a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant in the Twin Cities area. Find him at his website for a little downhome advice. 
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