5 Things Digital Marketers Can Learn from Traditional Marketers

i-love-myself-thats-all-that-mattersDigital marketers can learn a lot from traditional marketers. There, I said it.

I know we in the digital space are extremely passionate and like to think of ourselves as the best at everything, and while that’s true in large part, there are some key areas where we can and should learn more from the traditional side of the tracks.

For example, it’s truly remarkable how often I hear a variation of this phrase: “If only the client would just give us all of their TV advertising dollars – then we could really drive some revenue, and it would be trackable!”

Statements like this camouflage a larger problem. A significant group exists within our industry that thinks digital, by itself, creates ultimate value for brands.

Sure, convergence means that we’ll eventually stop having this conversation altogether, but today, the fact remains that we as digital marketers can definitely learn a few things from the “big boys,” and an attitude of wanting to learn from those who have been at it longer than us will inevitably help our industry continue to gain ground and credibility.

With the immediacy of digital channels, one has the potential to make huge mistakes in the form of not thinking through important items like targeting, customer experience, and many other aspects of holistic planning. Traditional marketers have been doing this for years, and they’ve been doing an excellent job at it. One could argue that they lack ultimate ability to holistically plan for digital, but hey, that’s our job.  

Digital, in and of itself, is such a massive ecosystem, that we really do become the traditional agencies in the sense that we control many different vehicles and many different customer touch points. So why wouldn’t we try to work with and learn as much from those who have come before us?

Here are some tips to bring a more traditional mindset to the game before you launch into a new campaign or new client plan.

1. Start With “Who” & “Why” Rather Than Where & How

Don’t get ahead of yourself – determining who you’re going to be speaking to and why they should listen to you (what is the value to the consumer?) is the first step. Today, especially in our digital world, there are no more opportunities to drive the consumer – he/she drives us.

2. Look Holistically at Your Client’s Other Channels

Messaging, if at all possible, should be cohesive across the board as should customer experience and value proposition. It’s very confusing if, for instance, a brand promotes different core values in different channels.

3. Read

Forgive me, but we need to stop only reading about digital. Study other forms of marketing and promotion, especially those that have arisen in the last 25 years or so. You would be surprised at the level of value this information can provide you in your daily digital job.

4. Begin With Collaboration Between Your Agency & Others That Your Client Might Retain

Don't wait until you’re forced – reach out now and start those conversations. You never know when the next great idea is going to happen.

5. Drop the Cynicism

Often our biggest obstacle is one we construct ourselves: blindness. Clients want us to lead, yes, but they do not want us to preach. They want their agencies to collaborate thereby producing results that are truly best-in-class. There is zero room for turf warfare.

This Isn't Rocket Science

It's absolutely imperative that we as digital marketers constantly show ourselves to be the most open-minded, most collaborative marketers in the space. Not only will these tips result in better working relationships with other agencies, they will also result in happier clients.

About the author


Blake Suggs joined iProspect in 2005, already having completed a successful career in retail management. He transitioned to agency work and quickly began offering his hands-on expertise and strategic insight to clients representing the travel, retail and energy sectors.

Suggs is a Client Services Director and heads up fully-integrated interactive campaigns and specializes in finding new and innovative ways for clients to reach their target markets and increase revenue online. An expert in cross-tactic strategy, he ensures the successful integration of multiple campaign channels, including paid search, SEO, feeds, media and conversion optimization techniques across his client roster.

Suggs has offered his strategic insight, campaign creation and implementation oversight to clients including Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Bass Pro Shop, Charming Shoppes, Reliant Energy, Wingate by Wyndham, Sears Service Live, Hawthorn Suites and Handango. Mr. Suggs lives in Chicago and received his B.A. in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin. He has written for Hotel Executive Magazine.

iProspect is a leading global digital performance marketing agency.  The company helps many of the world's most successful brands maximize their online marketing ROI through research, pay-per-click management, search engine optimization, performance display, comparison shopping management, local search, mobile, social media management, and other related services.