Digital Marketing has become a vital part of the marketing mix, but traditional media still plays an important role.

If you work in marketing, you will probably have had to make decisions about where to spend your budget and which media will give you the best return on your investment.  Depending on what you’re communicating and what your objectives are, some media are undoubtedly more effective than others.

If, for example, you’re a brand whose audience is considered a ‘business’ one, you will probably consider business pages in national or regional newspapers, poster sites in areas with a high volume of commercial property, perhaps some digital out of home in high footfall commuter hubs, and a combination of online advertising and social media marketing (including relevant hashtags) to reach your target customers.

On the other hand, if you’re promoting a product to a consumer audience you might opt for some of your budget to be spent on local or national radio advertising, accompanied by in-store activity, bus sides, press and online activity (eg in competitions or prize draws).

The common thread running through both of the above scenarios is that they include a number of different media elements, or to put it into marketing speak: ‘customer touchpoints’.  Campaigns should seek to communicate a message, and then reinforce that message where it’s most likely to be seen by the most relevant audience.

Media planners and buyers can give an educated overview of where budget should be spent.  Sometimes it is simply understanding which location is best for reaching which demographic, and sometimes it is about having a knowledge of statistics that show budget spent, frequency of message versus audience reached.  Marketers can’t always have this depth of information to hand, and that is why a media specialist can become an invaluable partner or resource for the team, not least because they often have the power to negotiate better rates with the media owners.

The newest advertising channels are those that are online, and they have been growing in importance over a number of years.  Social media platforms, in particular, have become a crucial way to interact with customers, providing an extra level of customer service, ability to communicate new offerings and build relationships.

The danger with any new media however, is that you might believe that your budget should go solely into those new areas leaving all traditional media behind.  This is generally a mistake. Online advertising and social media marketing work most effectively when they support an overall strategy combining other elements.  Online rarely stands in isolation from other media.  Rather it should reinforce, and sometimes bring to life in a more dynamic, visual way, a marketing message being communicated elsewhere as part of an integrated campaign.

In a media landscape that is increasingly fragmented, marketers need to present a consistent brand experience across all channels and that includes consistency of copy and imagery in order to make a real impact.