Laborem Edge: Digital Marketing Agency © 2020

Search Vs Traditional Marketing

“Let us go now you and I, on a trip when the cloud existed only in the sky” – T.S. Elliot

Back when the internet was nothing more than an idea, back when Nike unveiled the “Just Do It” campaign and raked in hundreds of millions of dollars.

To the days when marketing was a shot in the dark and commercials like the Alka-Seltzer “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” ended up becoming historical marketing landmarks. A simpler time in the world, but not for marketing.

Today traditional marketing is getting more creative and it has to be to stand out, but there’s a new form of marketing. It’s more effective (if done correctly), more measurable, less expensive, less risky and has a larger audience. Its name is Marketing… Search Marketing.

Search Marketing isn’t just a Buzz Word

People throw around this term like cheap candy on the fourth of July. We’re tired of that buzz word junk where you’re being sold on a term you don’t even fully understand. So, Search Marketing is a broad term that encompasses S(earch) E(ngine) O(ptimization) and Search Ads (such as Google Ads).

SEO vs. Search Ads.

SEO involves organically increasing your rank on google to increase natural clicks on your website without paying for them. Search ads is like buying the fast pass at Disney World so you get to jump straight to the front of the line, while SEO is like befriending mickey mouse himself so you get to the front of the line without paying 90$. Search ads are the PPC (pay-per-click) style of marketing where the user bids on certain search keywords and then their website will show up with a little Ad Icon. This is the quick way to generate clicks and leads but it will cost you and end up being less effective in the long run. For example, the other day I searched “iCarly full episodes” (A kids show from the early 2000’s, don’t judge me) and Hulu was the first result, I thought “perfect, I have Hulu” but to my dismay they didn’t even have the show. This is called “wasted spend” and we’ll get into that in a separate article (comment below, if you’d like to learn more about how to not waste money on Search Ads).

Companies can place bids on just about any search term, relevant or not and if they’re the highest bidder at the time then they’ll end up at the top of your search. If they use the correct search terms then this is extremely effective, because the top 5 search results get 75% of user clicks. On the other hand, when done incorrectly they can end up like Hulu, paying for mindless clicks not valuable leads. This is an important point to remember; clicks do not necessarily = leads.

SEO on the other hand is a process of making Google happy and like your website more so that you end up at the top of the search lists. You’ll still be below websites who are bidding on that search but you’re consistently at the top. Leading to more clicks on a day to day basis without having to pay for bids

We all know traditional marketing, it’s the ads for anything, anywhere and pretty much everywhere, except the internet. We see them on TV, Roads (billboards), Radios, Magazines, Newspapers, and pretty much anything you can look at or listen to. Search is the sniper and traditional is the guy in the helicopter aiming at anything that moves. It’s effective for certain goals such as wide spread brand awareness. It’s the risk it for the biscuit move of marketing, it can pay off big like the Nike campaign or it can blow up in your face like the “New Coke” ads from 1985 which caused a huge loss in revenue. Traditional Marketing has many issues such as; price, measurability, lack of interaction, riskier and harder to update.


Traditional ads can be much more expensive, like the whopping 5 million it costs for a 30 second Super Bowl ad. For certain companies this can be a great thing because it reaches a large market, but not all companies have a large market they want to reach, or the capital to be buying expensive ads. These ads are also pricey to produce, having to pay actors, directors, film crews and such. We recently got to see Donald Miller of StoryBrand speak live and he said, “unless your company is doing 500m in revenue, you shouldn’t be spending money on brand awareness”. That’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but we get his point.

Lack of Measurability

It’s hard to tell exactly how well an ad has done when doing traditional campaigns, broadly you might be able to see the traffic and feel in increase in sales it’s caused but you cannot tell if it was directly from a certain ad or placement of ad. Measurement is abundant in digital and search marketing, there’s plenty of data points to take from any ad posted and you can immediately see what is or isn’t working.
Lack of Interaction

In traditional marketing, marketers are able to directly broadcast to consumers but it lacks the ability to specifically target individuals, and customize or personalize. Along with this consumers can’t just click on a commercial and learn more, they’d have to put in a lot more work on their part, and customers today are all about ease and efficiency.

Harder to Update

When marketing on traditional platforms it is much harder to change and update ads on the fly. For example, if you post a commercial and there’s something people don’t like about it then you can’t just change that part, you’d have to spend a substantial amount of money re-filming or just drop it and count it as a loss. Whereas with search ads you change and edit them on the fly. In fact, it’s a rule of thumb that we constantly be A/B testing ads against each other so we can always be learning and improving them for our clients.

Search Counters the Flaws of Traditional

With search marketing you can combat all the downsides of traditional marketing. Through Google ads you can easily set a budget and define how much you’re willing to bid on a search, and you only pay when your link is clicked on. Therefore, you’re only paying to get potential customers to your website, and with an effective landing page you’re much more likely to convert a customer. Furthermore, Google will only outbid the next offer by only one cent to save you money. Also it doesn’t have the risks of traditional marketing because of your ability to change and remove it almost instantly. Once you air a commercial or post a print ad there’s no going back, too many have already seen it and it’s permanent aka ‘printed’.
Brand Awareness vs. Performance Marketing

Traditional marketing is much more effective for brand awareness, or building brand recognition through advertisement. This is due to its mass audience and creative nature. But the future is performance, where marketers are creating campaigns that are judged based on how they impact net profit and return on marketing dollars invested. Traditional marketing is traditional because it used to work, not that it doesn’t anymore but today people are more focused on convenience not brand loyalty. So is it still worth it to invest an extensive amount of money in brand awareness just to have Amazon ship them a cheaper product in 2 days?

Direct, Proven Results

Traditional marketing is for companies with extensive amounts of money and products or services that apply to the general consumer, like Amazon. But Jeff Bezos isn’t reading this, (unless you are Jeff, call us we’d love to help you out with marketing) this is for the everyday business owner who wants results, and search provides direct and proven results.

Reach out to ask for a FREE opportunity analysis showing how much business we can generate for you in your market. We look forward to hearing from you.

Not sure how to turn bad reviews into positive marketing? Click here for a copy of our Free Negative Review Response Guide.

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