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Are Traditional Marketing Channels Past Their Prime? [Infographic]

Today’s brands are on an endless quest for the latest, fastest, and sleekest marketing tools to make even the most time-honored companies feel like agile, young startups. But when it comes to local marketing, traditional channels (e.g., coupons, radio, and Yellow Pages ads) are keeping up with the digital and social whippersnappers. In “The State of Local Marketing” report, local marketing automation platform provider BrandMuscle Inc. analyzes which channels are still with it and which ones should simply retire.

TV and radio are broadcast classics. Sixty-five percent of local affiliates—which includes agents, dealers, and franchisees—use radio, according to the report. In fact, this channel comprised 12% of their total spending in 2013. Of those leveraging radio, 68% claim to be somewhat or very satisfied with the results they’ve seen. As for those who don’t use it, 85% cite cost as the main reason. In regards to television, 50% of respondents leverage it, and 65% of these users are somewhat or very satisfied with the results. Television accounted for 6% of local affiliates’ total spend in 2013. But like radio, cost is a main deterrent for not tuning into TV. In fact, 93% list cost as the key factor for not leveraging TV. Other oldie-but-goodie channels in use today include coupons (83%), newspapers (63%), and Yellow Pages ads (61%). Of those traditional channels, newspaper accounted for the highest spend in 2013—with local affiliates allocating 15% of their total budgets to it.

In terms of more personalized channels, direct mail and email continue to leave a legacy. Eighty-one percent of local affiliates send direct mail, which comprised 7% of total spend in 2013. What’s more, respondents seem to be happy with this conventional communication. According to the report, 75% are somewhat or very pleased with the channel’s results. And although email is constantly evolving, its performance remains reliable. Seventy-two percent of respondents use email. The channel accounted for 1% of total spend in 2013, and 76% of the respondents who use email are somewhat or very satisfied with the results. Still, these channels that have withstood the test of time face their fair share of challenges. Of the approximate one fifth of respondents who don’t use direct mail, 70% cite cost as the primary reason. And as for the 28% who don’t use email, 56% say that it’s too complicated.

But what about those newfangled digital and social channels? Nearly three fourths of local affiliates (72%) have a website, according to the report. Of those who do, 73% are somewhat or very satisfied. As for the 28% who don’t, 55% say it’s because websites are too complicated. Paid search also garners a lot of attention; 60% of respondents use it and it accounted for 10% the total spend in 2013. Seventy-three percent of paid search users are somewhat or very satisfied with the results. But for those who don’t use it, 46% say it’s because it’s too complicated. In addition to websites and paid search, local affiliates are also using social media. However, they have their preferences. For instance, 63% of respondents use Facebook, but only 43% use Twitter. And although 71% and 61% of respondents are somewhat or highly satisfied with the results that they gleaned from Facebook and Twitter, respectively, not a penny of the 2013 spend was dedicated to either platform.

When creating a marketing strategy that will last through the ages, it’s important to have a mix of traditional and new-age channels.

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