Traditional forms of marketing have had a pretty hard time over the past five years. Falling revenues, a mass exodus towards digital media and questions of their relevance in a modern online-based world. But now something interesting has happened – the tide has changed. Television and radio companies are announcing better results, the line between digital and traditional media has become increasingly blurred, and marketing experts and journalists are beginning to admit that traditional marketing still does, and always will, play an extremely important part in the marketing mix.

So why the sudden shift in focus?

What seems like quite a sudden shift in opinion is actually related to a number of ‘slow-burning’ factors, the most important of which is how technology, and more importantly the way in which we use technology, is changing. Mobile phones are a great example of this – the technological development and consumer uptake of new technology in this sector over the past 18 months has been astonishing.

We now live in a society where the Internet is widely accessible to the vast majority of the population at their fingertips and at any time. At the same time, the success of tablet devices such as the iPad has made the consumption of the Internet even more portable.

But how does this benefit traditional media and marketing methods? Surely this new technology will make it even more obsolete? Interestingly, the reality is actually quite the opposite.

The emergence of this portable online technology is blurring the lines between what we like to call ‘digital’ and what we call ‘traditional’ media and marketing channels. Let me give you a couple of examples:

1. The recent launch of The Daily, the first ever iPad only online newspaper is a joint venture between Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Apple. If you read The Daily on your iPad you’ll know that it’s laid out like a traditional newspaper (not a news website) – the only difference is it’s being displayed on your tablet device. This is an example of a traditional publishing company updating the way in which it’s content is consumed. So if you, as a company, decide to advertise in this publication are you advertising ‘traditionally’ or ‘digitally’? Hard to say really.

2. Imagine your standing at a bus stop and a billboard advertisement catches your eye. Let’s say it has an offer on it that you’d like to find out more about. You don’t have to wait until you get home to do it anymore (and let’s face it you would have forgotten by then anyway!), you can access it right now on your mobile phone. The chances are there may even be a barcode on the advert that you can scan using your mobile phone to take you straight the additional content. Either way the advertiser has caught your eye using the advert and, with the use of new technology, has managed to make you take action there and then. So if you, as a company, invest in an outdoor marketing campaign and lead customers to an online offer after they take immediate action are you advertising ‘traditionally’ or ‘digitally’? Again, it’s pretty hard to say.

These are just two examples. Think about how we now consume so many things differently – radio, newspapers, television, the Internet, shopping, promotions, etc. So the lines between traditional and digital marketing are becoming increasingly blurred. Digital technology, such as that I’ve just highlighted, is becoming completely ingrained into our society. It’s no longer the case that the Internet is an entity that we consume when at home on our computers or at work – it’s there at our fingertips all the time and it’s changing the way in which we do everything – even advertise our businesses.

Traditional marketing was never dead (hate to say I told you so!)

Actually I’m lying, I love to say I told you so! The point I’m making though is that traditional marketing has never been dead – when you think about it the idea that when something new comes along it automatically means the old is completely obsolete it’s pretty ridiculous really.

The best marketing results always arise for the companies that understand that a good marketing strategy is about pulling together online and offline marketing activities. Traditional media such as outdoor or television can be a great way of building a brand and engaging interest but how do you make the consumer take action and engage with you on an ongoing basis? That’s often where online marketing comes in and it’s through creating the perfect blend of online and offline channels that the best results come from. Multi-channel marketing strategies aren’t just reserved for the multi-billion pound companies either – this can still be done with more modest marketing budgets.