Traditional vs Digital Marketing Strategy

As all the clients who know us realise, Dentons does two forms of marketing and promotion for businesses. We publish localised print directories of goods and services, and also offer a national online directory, along with digital media services like web development, SEO and social media advertising.

What many don’t know – and we are often asked the question! – is why we still, 50 years on from publishing our first directory for Bath in 1967, offer the print option, when the digital arm of our business is so successful and ‘obviously’ the focus of the future.

There is extremely good evidence available to support the contention that there is still great value in marketing through physical media like our print directories. Ideally, for full exposure, small businesses in particular should be investing their marketing budget and effort into both the virtual and physical media.

Let’s get technical: branding agency Millward Brown commissioned a study  using Neuroscience – carried out by Bangor University – to find out how the brain processes physical marketing materials compared to digital material presented on a screen.

Interestingly, it was found that “tangible materials leave a deeper footprint in the brain”, and “physical materials produced more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater internalisation of the ads”.

Basically it means that while consumers are being bombarded from all sides with digital advertising which undoubtedly works, print advertising has a distinctly unique effect on our brains, revealing that “there is something special about the physical medium”.

Neuroscience aside, there are other benefits related to print advertising, especially for micro-businesses, local services and tradespeople tied to a particular area. Whether you put your message out on flyers, billboards, in local newspapers or in directories like the Dentons books, you are gaining an immediate captive audience (in the South West this would be the 32% of households that don’t use the Internet); an audience that you may well have missed on social media or through a website. Your advert in such media also has staying power – the hard copy can be kept and referred to when it is needed, instead of disappearing into the ether after appearing momentarily on a social media timeline.

The mere fact that tens of thousands of businesses across the South West of England advertise in our print directories (and come back year after year when we update them) is in itself proof that they are enjoying a return on their investment.

Of course there are huge benefits in digital marketing too, especially as the online media evolve to allow for ever closer targeting of your brand message to specific locations and demographics. Ideally you should be using both physical and virtual media for your marketing. The two can work to complement each other – for example your advertisement in the Dentons print directory for your area can contain your business website address, which leads the potential customer on to your online presence. Also, every listing in our print directories is automatically included in our national online searchable database,

Straightforward traditional advertising – in newspapers, magazines, directories, radio stations – still has an important place, echoing your promotional efforts online, and vice versa. Good old-fashioned PR works a treat too, so it’s wise to develop a good relationship with your local media representatives both through social media and in person.

Here at Dentons we may now be known as a full digital marketing agency, but we began life as directory publishers and fully intend to keep on expanding our stable of 24 compact, handy directories which cover more than 50 local areas in central and south west England.

Contact Dentons for help with marketing your business. We’ll give you the best of both worlds!