Traditional College Media in a Digital World


Relevance of Traditional Marketing in a Digital World

In an increasingly digital world, it comes as no surprise that digital marketing is on the rise. According to Statista, digital advertising expenditures in the U.S. are estimated to increase in the coming years from 129 billion in 2019 to nearly 188 billion by the end of 2022. Digital marketing is becoming a foundational part of many marketing campaigns, but what does this mean for more “traditional” offline marketing methods? They are still very relevant and crucial in reaching your target audience, especially college students. As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly abates in the U.S., it’s time to revisit the benefits of more traditional college media to complement digital marketing efforts in your next campaign.


Have you ever gotten an ad on your smartphone for something you were just talking about or searching for? Did it feel a little creepy? Or maybe you saw an ad online and couldn’t tell whether it was a scam. While digital retargeting methods such as the first scenario can be effective, they are not as authentic as offline methods. It is easier to tell the difference between scams and authentic products when you see an advertisement in person. Therefore, it’s easier to trust a brand or company once you lay eyes on its ad in person rather than online.

For college students, digital marketing tactics do help keep brands at the forefront of their minds. However, the last thing a college student wants is to feel targeted by an ad; they typically will ignore it. Sometimes an out-of-home ad they consistently see on their walk to class or a flyer handed to them in passing will be more memorable for a college student.

Face-to-face Interactions

Consumers can better assess the quality of the product and what the company is about when it is directly advertised to them by another person. Face-to-face interactions offer numerous benefits. One being that they grant faster and more transparent feedback about the product from potential customers. Non-verbal cues can help determine whether a customer’s response to the product is truthful or not. Someone may leave a comment on an influencer’s post saying they will check out the product. Unfortunately, though, these comments lack their tone of voice. Nor can you read their facial expression? This is where offline marketing differentiates itself from digital. It provides meaningful and reliable feedback about the product or service you are advertising from face-to-face interactions.

Secondly, offline advertising methods better enforce word-of-mouth. You are more likely to trust the opinion of someone you know when they tell you about a product rather than a stranger online. This rings true for digital methods as well; however, say you’re walking around with a friend outside, and you see a billboard for a beauty product you love. You will likely bring the product up to your friend, who can also see the billboard, rather than if you had seen the ad on your phone. In-person advertisements can sometimes help spark conversations about products in a way digital ads cannot.

While digital marketing projects to growth in the coming years, it is imperative to remember the benefits of traditional marketing. These traditional methods can accompany digital efforts for your next campaign. Traditional college media helps achieve reach in ways that can’t be replaced by the increasing amounts of technology we use every day.

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