The Future of Advertising — Is Traditional Advertising Over/Dead?

What does the future hold for advertising? Some experts claim that traditional advertising is dead. Others say that there will always be a place for traditional advertising. There is one school of thought that says that traditional advertising is only the kind that pushes the sale — “stop in today” or “limited time only, act now!” Another school of thought says that all forms of customer contact and engagement are intended to lead to the sale. So, while the closing statement in a blog post may be worded differently than a TV commercial, the intent is the same. “Okay consumer, you’ve got the information, now BUY SOMETHING.”

Traditional, or offline, advertising presents one major dilemma for marketers — tracking. Online and pay-per-click advertising gives marketers an easy way to track results. But how can you track print, radio, and television advertising? You have to start thinking just like your customers. You already know who your target audience is, and where they go to consume online content. But you need to know how they think, and what they do with offline content.

Radio and TV ads often include promo codes for visitors and buyers to use when they visit a website. The problem is when people, like me, forget the promo code. I’ve visited websites multiple times and even made purchases after hearing or seeing an ad. But I realize the company doesn’t really know where I came from. They get false numbers about what sources are driving their web visits.

Print and display advertisements with QR codes make it easier to track offline advertising results. (And makes it easier for buyers to use the discount and promo codes!) Smart marketers incorporate them on all of their print and offline advertising. My QR scanner is my second brain. I can browse through magazine ads while waiting in the doctor’s office, then search for information online later. And, I don’t have to remember any details. QR codes do for traditional advertising what smartphones do for us, making it easier to get and stay connected with our favorite brands.

Traditional advertising is not dead. However, modern technology combined with today’s marketing techniques have given new life to traditional modes of advertising. Just like doctors use the latest scientific discoveries along with medical technology to extend our lives, savvy marketers are using technology along with pull marketing strategies, like QR codes, to give traditional forms of offline advertising new life.

Ronn Torossian is CEO & Founder of 5WPR & one of America’s most notable PR executives. He is the Author of best-selling PR book, “For Immediate Release.“

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