Traditional Market vs Digital Market

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Category: Business and Industry

Date Submitted: 02/13/2013 11:22 PM

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In my previous post on traditional vs digital marketing for professional services firms, we identified two distinct models for developing new business. In the traditional approach you meet people, often through referrals or networking, and develop a relationship. As people come to trust you, typically through repeated interactions over time, you are in a position to do work for them.

In the digital marketing model, people find you, typically through paid or organic search, social networking, or after reading something you've published online. They become familiar with your work and develop trust because they find your approach helpful. Work follows.

Both approaches involve a trusting relationship, but they get there in very different ways. One cues off of a personal relationship, the other off of sampling your work. In one you find the prospect, in the other they find you.

So which is better for your professional services firm, traditional or digital marketing? How do you find the right mix? Let's start by analyzing the strengths and limitations of each approach to developing new business.

Strengths of Traditional Marketing

Tried and true. People are comfortable and familiar with it.

Locally oriented

Built on face-to-face interactions so you can learn a lot about potential clients

Limitations of Traditional Marketing

Limited access to distant markets

Long business development cycles are common

Hard to scale without adding significant overhead (people and offices)

Hard to measure and project results

Strengths of Digital Marketing

Geography is less important. Can go national or global more easily

Very scalable

Costs per opportunity decrease with scale

Shorter business development cycles are possible

Easier to measure and project results

Limitations of Digital Marketing

Global reach equals global competition

No local familiarity

Need to invest over time to see success

No face-to-face contact to read the prospect or reassure...