Is Traditional Advertising Dead?

Stack of newspapers

Apr 2, 2019 | Traditional Media

Short answer: No.

Please excuse our slightly off-the-cuff response, but this question is something we hear (or read) every single day since we’re in the marketing business. There are countless articles out there touting the demise of traditional advertising and why xyz strategy should be your new golden child.

While these articles have kernels of truth, many of them are missing a very important point: tactical advertising, just like other trends, is a pendulum. It may swing heavily one way, but that doesn’t mean it won’t swing back the other way sooner or later.

“While digital is king right now, I can’t see print going away anytime soon for our target audiences,” says Rachel Fox, Creative Director at SageAge Strategies. “We absolutely need to promote on both digital and traditional platforms with a unified message to reach all audiences across various channels. This makes for a well-rounded campaign, and we are able to take advantage of multiple tactics, so viewers see the messaging multiple times.”

But let’s go back to the original question for a minute. Is traditional advertising dead? We believe that’s the wrong question to ask. Instead, here’s what should be asked: “Does traditional advertising still have a place in today’s digital marketing world?”

And to that question, we can confidently answer: YES.

What an Integrated Marketing Strategy Really Means

We talk a lot about using integrated marketing strategy for reaching your customers. “Integrated,” when we’re talking about marketing strategy, means an approach that’s all-encompassing. It means being everywhere your leads are so you can reach them at any place, any time. At the beginning of the Advertising Age, this meant marketing on TV (the hot new thing), as well as radio and print. When the Internet (and smartphones) reared their heads, “integrated” meant online ads, SMS alerts and other incredibly targeted approaches. Now? “Integrated” means a thoughtful strategy that combines digital and traditional approaches to reach your audiences not just where they are, but also in a way that makes them stop and pay attention to what you’re saying.

According to an Adrants article about “7 Emerging Advertising Strategies for 2019,” more and more consumers are disregarding “traditional” digital ads through ad blockers and just plain old noise-reduction. Think about it. People are bombarded by 4,000to10,000 adseach day. Eventually, all that becomes white noise unless the advertising is filling a very specific need that they’re interested in right at that moment.

As the article states: “This doesn’t mean traditional advertising is dead, [it just means that] marketers are now better capable of properly placing [advertising] in the right place to provide value for the consumer.”

Shama Hyder, CEO of Zen Media, writes that integrated marketing “…[is] the process of aligning and coordinating a marketing organization to deliver a consistent, seamless, customer-centric content experience across all channels. ” The bolded words are our emphasis – note that she’s not saying, “across digital” or “across online platforms.” It’s all channels, which, to SageAge, means everything spanning from the hot new Reverse IP Append and geofencing to tried-and-true PPC and online ads to, yes, even traditional forms of advertising including print.

Hyder states that integrated campaigns that are spread across 4+ channels outperform single- or dual-channel campaigns by 300 percent, while a Digital Doughnut article states that the print marketing response rate in 2017 surged by 190% with 43% more customers responding to direct mail than in 2016.

Need more proof? Here are some additional reasons why print advertising should play a role in your integrated marketing campaign:

  • It’s consistently around for consumers to notice in a very physical sense
  • It’s a trusted source in that customers don’t have to worry about malware and ad tracking software
  • Consumers tend to read print actively, particularly if it’s in a form of media they like to consume, such as magazines and circulars
  • It extends your customer reach and allows you to mail information straight to the door of your exact consumer demographic

“The senior living space has a unique demographic that requires marketers to think with a holistic approach,” says Rachel. “Choosing a senior living community is a monumental decision, much like buying a home. While digital marketing is essential for an effective outreach strategy, print advertising can add that extra zing of credibility to make your community stand out from the rest of your competitors.”

For example, Rachel says, SageAge’s Reverse IP Append technology allows communities to send direct mail to potential leads who’ve visited your website or otherwise interacted with your brand online … even if those leads never filled out an information capture form. “Think how impactful it can be when your website visitor receives a postcard a few days later with additional information about your community. It will definitely make an impression, and that unexpected disruption will increase the chances of interaction,” says Rachel.

It’s also important to remember your audience. Adult children of your future residents are generally Gen X-ers or very young Boomers, meaning that they’re fairly savvy with the digital space. However, your future residents themselves are older Boomers and the Greatest Generation, both of whom may place a lot more importance on the role of traditional (read: print) advertising.

“By combining both digital and print advertising, you’ll ensure that your integrated marketing campaign is gaining the best of both worlds,” says Rachel. “A robust strategy that combines digital and social media alongside more traditional methods like direct mail and brochures will ensure your lead generation efforts are maximized for success.”

SageAge Strategies: Leaders in Integrated Marketing, Consulting and Lead Generation Solutions for Senior Living

At SageAge Strategies, our marketing team excels in helping senior living communities target prospective residents using a combination of traditional and digital techniques to develop an integrated marketing strategy that generates results. If you need assistance in any areas of marketing and integrated growth strategy to improve your business results, we invite you to contact us today to learn more about our proven strategies that have transformed other senior living communities like yours.

SageAge Strategies is a multiple-award-winning, strategic growth, marketing and consulting organization that operates exclusively in the unique senior living marketplace. For more information, please call or email Jason McCloud at 614.795.7373 / [email protected]. You can also visit us on our website at

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