Is traditional marketing dead? What MBA program students should know

September 13, 2018

Online advertising is becoming dominant, but does that mean that traditional media should be forgotten about? Here’s what MBA program students should know.

Newspaper on laptop

The gradual move away from traditional media is becoming more and more evident in many areas. Rather than relying on television, people are streaming their favorite content on Netflix. Instead of reading a paper, people can find the latest news on their smartphone or tablet. Spotify and podcast apps allow us to listen to whatever we want, rather than relying on conventional radio stations.

Advertisers have also had to move with the times to keep up with the digital age. Indeed, for the first time ever, more money was spent around the world on digital advertising in 2017 than TV. Traditional marketing may not be dying out, but it certainly must adapt to stay relevant. Here are some useful insights on current trends for those eager to learn more about the future of marketing.

The reasons for the decline of traditional marketing

There’s no clear definition of traditional media, but let’s assume it includes television, radio, print (newspapers, flyers, etc.) and billboards. Digital media challenges these forms because the internet allows consumers to instantly interact with advertisers.

The content advertised through traditional marketing is also temporary. People have become used to on-demand content, and they can access details about a particular advertiser much more quickly by viewing an ad on a digital platform.

Modern consumers are also increasingly skeptical about the information they receive through the media and advertising. When they’re exposed to this content online, it’s much easier for them to find out more by clicking on the ad. This option isn’t available to consumers through most traditional marketing techniques.

Happy young woman looking at her smartphone outdoors
Consumers like the instant interaction that comes with online advertising

How mobile content is starting to make laptops irrelevant

The laptop was a revelation around the turn of the century, as portable computing started to become affordable for the masses. Even this technology is starting to become bulky however, as people rely increasingly on their phones for most of the online activities they want to carry out.

This is also reflected in advertising. In 2016, the amount of users accessing web content from smartphones and tablets overtook conventional computers for the first time. Professionals with an MBA in marketing must therefore focus on creating online content which is suitable for viewing on mobile devices.

Girl holding smartphone with big sale concept on screen
Advertising should be designed separately for smartphones and laptops

How pros with an MBA in marketing maintain the interest of modern consumers

Social media presence is crucial for companies who want to stay relevant in the business world. You’ll struggle to find any business that doesn’t have an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or another similar site.

Students in any MBA program must respect the power that this channel has when it comes to advertising. 33% of time spent by consumers online is through social media, compared to just 13% for online press. Companies must therefore maintain a consistent brand and produce original content to keep their consumers interested on an ongoing basis. This interactivity is something that traditional marketing can’t offer, and it’s one of the reasons why it will find it very difficult to recapture the support of advertisers.

However, there is still room for some more traditional approaches. Email marketing campaigns, for instance, have been around for so long that some would argue that they should be considered a traditional advertising technique. While receiving dozens of promotional emails every day may frustrate many consumers, it is proof that tried and tested techniques still have an impact. According to Smart Insights, traffic from such campaigns has a 4.3% conversion rate, even higher than social media.

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