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Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing: How, When, and Why To Use Each Form

As we’ve shared in other blog posts, we don’t love the use of the phrase “traditional marketing” to refer to activities that marketing teams at organizations, and advertising agencies, employed prior to the arrival of the internet and the digital marketing tactics made possible by it, but it’s become a tradition now to use the word “traditional,” and it’s something we don’t see changing. As we just alluded to, digital marketing activities are those that require the internet for execution and/or present information in a digital fashion or on some form of digital media.

Per our blog post heading, the aim of this discussion is to provide some insight on the difference between traditional and digital marketing and when to use each form. Most organizations will benefit from employing a combination of traditional and digital marketing for the reasons outlined below.

What Is Digital Marketing?

As we expressed above, digital marketing activities are those that require the internet or other digital technology/platforms for execution. Unlike traditional marketing opportunities that are all about putting the idea of your products, services, and solutions in the heads of individuals who might be a good fit for them, many digital marketing activities, such as organic search/SEO, paid search advertising, and social media posting are focused on getting information in front of individuals who are actively searching for your particular organization and/or the products, services and solutions you provide. Digital marketing activities include:

  • E-mail marketing – sending an e-mail/e-blast to existing clients, or to prospective customers who meet your target-audience criteria, e.g., meet certain age, geography, income, gender, job title, industry, or other demographics.
  • Social media postingposting free/unpaid updates on various social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, and LinkedIn.
  • Display advertising/social media advertising – this includes running paid ads that are served up by a social media platform, such as Instagram or Facebook (you can buy ads on the two aforementioned platforms together) to people meeting the targeting requirements you set, such as those outlined above for e-mail marketing; plus, Google Ads offers display (image) advertising to allow you to reach individuals whose behaviors, interests, and demographics make them a good fit for your products and services.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – employing free/unpaid/organic tactics such as optimizing behind-the-scenes meta/SEO post and page title tags to ensure your website and Google My Business Profile rank as well as possible in Google and other search-engine results for relevant searches conducted by your target audiences.
  • Paid search advertising – think Google Ads or Bing Ads – these are ads that are served up a the top of search results for search terms used by target audiences that are relevant to the products, services, and solutions an organization offers. This former blog post addresses when it makes senses to employ paid search/paid SEO tactics.
  • Banner advertising – this is advertising that is bought from an external website that serves the same target audience your organization wants to reach.
  • Other – the above list is not exhaustive, but highlights the most common forms of digital marketing. Other examples of digital marketing include, but are not limited to, digital billboards or transit posters, and ads that run on a TV-type monitor at transit stations, such as subway stations.

So, What Is Traditional Marketing?

As we explain in our blog post about push vs. pull marketing, to us, many forms of traditional marketing are “push” activities. They are marketing vehicles and activities that reach your target audience(s) and put the idea about your product, service and solution in their heads. Examples of traditional target marketing activities/vehicles include:

  • Broadcast Advertising – radio and TV (network and cable — of course now, you can also run advertising on streaming channels and stations)
  • Print Advertising – magazine, newspapers, and other print publications
  • Direct Mail – a postcard or letter is mailed to a purchased or existing list of current or prospective clients
    • When the list is purchased, the names and addresses you obtain would meet certain criteria that you specify, like geography, age, gender, income, job title, industry, etc.
  • Outdoors Advertising – billboards (static poster, and now digital options as well)
  • Transit Advertising – posters and signage (static, and now digital options as well) that appear inside a bus, train, or subway car, or on train, bus, or subway platforms. You can also “wrap” a bus or train, or a bus stop kiosk, with your branding.
  • Mall or movie theater advertising – posters and signage (static, and now digital options as well) that are placed throughout mall corridors or advertising that appears at the beginning of a movie while one is waiting for a movie to start.
  • Event Attendance/Tabling – the aforementioned could refer to having a table at a community or some other event where prospective customers can walk up to your table to obtain information about your organization and your products and services.
  • Tradeshow Attendance/Booth – the aforementioned is all about setting up a booth at a trade show which is expected to draw your target audience, and sharing information about your products and services with booth visitors.
  • PR/Publicity – distributing press releases to gain media coverage of an announcement made by your organization, or pitching your story to media/reporters who serve your target audience in hopes the media/reporter will “cover” your story.
  • Other – the above list is not exhaustive, but highlights the most common forms of traditional marketing. Other examples of traditional marketing include but are not limited to distribution of branded, promotional items, and lobby merchandising (if your organization has physical locations that customers can visit).

Why Most Organizations Should Employ Both Traditional and Digital Marketing Tactics

As we’ve discussed with many of our clients, some target audience members may not be “online” regularly. Perhaps, their busy personal and work lives just don’t allow for them to be regularly viewing social media posts and profiles, and/or conducting search-engine searches. Or, they may just not like being online.

While, individuals who visit your social media profiles and/or land on your website because they conducted an appropriate search-engine search might be warmer/hotter leads — therefore, they may be more poised to buy your products, or engage you for your services/solutions in the near future — some other target audience members may need some prodding or reminders (delivered to them via traditional media) about your products, services, and solutions.

Sometimes, there’s just not enough people searching regularly related to the products, services, and solutions that your organization offers. Target audiences just don’t know you and/or your products and services exist. All the more reason to employ some traditional marketing tactics.

Free Marketing Brainstorm With Marketing Experts

Our Boston marketing agency has experience related to executing the majority of the digital marketing and traditional marketing tactics above. Unsure which tactics to execute when, or need more detail on what’s involved in executing them, and/or more information on production and media-buy costs?

Schedule a complimentary discussion with our expert marketing team today to brainstorm about your organization’s particular marketing opportunities and challenges.

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4 Free Google Accounts Each & Every For-Profit and Non-Profit Organization Needs

Regardless of whether your organization is for-profit or non-profit, because it’s highly likely you want target audiences to learn about your mission, products, services, and solutions, and you want to be able track which marketing and communications activities are creating awareness and sales/engagement, you’ll stand to benefit greatly from setting up and using the following four types of free Google accounts:

  1. A Google My Business Profile – this supports your organization being found locally by relevant searchers, since often Google will serve up a Google My Business Profile in lieu of a website for searches that include “near me” or the name of a city or town. You don’t want to miss on out on the opportunity to make target audiences aware of your organization!
  2. Google Analyticsa GA4 Google Analytics account will allow you to analyze which of your marketing activities are driving the most traffic to your website, e.g., Google Ads, social media advertising, organic social media posts, search-engine optimization tactics, or e-mail/e-newsletters.
  3. Google Search Console – this tool serves a couple of purposes. It allows you to see for which search terms Google is most frequently serving up your website. And, then, for which search terms for which Google serves up a listing (which includes a link to your website) are searchers then clicking on the link to visit your site. This free Google tool also lets you see, on average, where in Google Search results listings, a listing with a link to your site appears, and the % of people who click on a listing link when it is served up to them. You can also use your Google Search Console account to submit revised or new blog posts or website pages for indexing/crawling, so that you don’t have to wait for Google to find this new and revised content, and therefore, wait for Google to start serving it up in search results for relevant searches.
  4. Google Tag Manager – this tool allows you to set up tags that track various actions that a website visitor can take on your website. These tags basically “fire” and provide data to and in Google Analytics when visitors take actions like completing and submitting an inquiry form on your website, clicking on a hyperlinked e-mail address or phone number, scheduling an appointment, or purchasing something. Such desired actions by visitors are known as “conversions.” Without the use of a conversion-tracking tool like Google Tag Manager, you’re never going to know what marketing activities are causing website visitors to “convert,” and as a recent article about analyzing digital advertising results from Search Engine Land explains, that’s so important to understanding the effectiveness of various marketing activities and where to spend your marketing time and dollars.
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Need Help Setting Up Google Accounts?

Our team is always here to help. Contact our Boston digital marketing agency today for assistance or learn more about such services on our Google Analytics Set-up and Reporting and SEO services pages.

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Is Social Media Worth It?

On average, 110 individuals a month enter the question posed in our blog post title into Google. That’s over 1,300 individuals a year wondering whether they should be investing their time, energy, and money in social media.

Obviously, our Boston digital marketing agency and SEO company doesn’t know the intent behind the posing of this question. Are the searchers posing this question related to their personal use of social media or use of social media for their business? We’re guessing it’s a combination of both. That said, the purpose of this blog post is not to answer the question of how much time you should spend on social media related to your personal life, but rather, with a new year about to get underway, whether you should continue to invest time, energy, and money related to posting on social media and how much.

How Much Time & Energy Should My Organization Spend On Social Media?

The answer to the above is it all depends on the nature of your organization and the products and services you offer, plus the social media results you’ve seen to-date. I remember when organizations first started using social media to promote their businesses — I recall that happening in the early 2010’s. Both for-profit and non-profit organizations felt that if they didn’t jump on the social media bandwagon, they’d be left behind, have a huge competitive disadvantage, and maybe suffer great financial consequences. At the time I was in a marketing role at a health care organization, and quite honestly, I did champion the use of social media to create awareness of my organization’s services, but I don’t think I ever believed that social media was going to have an immediate, large impact on sales results. In many cases, as discussed below, social media has a less immediate impact and is more about creating awareness.

As a marketer, while I’ve often felt hesitant to voice the above and related thoughts about social media to other marketers, I’ve always been nervous and apprehensive about organizations moving too much of their marketing team’s or agency’s time and/or budget away from other traditional and digital marketing activities, and into organic social media activities vs. paid social media ones and/or investing too heavily in organic social media. Why? Because I just wasn’t seeing organic social media vs. social media ads moving the “conversion” needle, i.e., causing desired actions by target audiences, particularly when they visited an organization’s website.

Website Data Doesn’t Lie

For years now, I’ve been able to use various forms of Google Analytics to track either my employer’s or my clients’ website visitors — how they arrived on the site and what actions they took there. In many cases, very regular social media posting was driving very little traffic to their websites, and the traffic that was visiting their sites (due to clicking on a link to their website shared via a social media post or profile) wasn’t taking a desired action like completing a lead or inquiry form, or buying a product or service.

2024 Recommended Social Media Use By Businesses

So, what does that mean for organizations and their use of social media in the new year?

  • Consider how much time and money you have to spend on all forms of marketing, not just organic social media posting. Whether it be internal staff or an outside marketing consultant or agency that does the work, how many hours and what marketing $ budget will you have to spend in the new year for all forms of marketing?
  • Based on 2023’s time and $$ spend on social media (fees to agencies and/or consultants for their organic social media post work vs. social media advertising work and/or advertising buy), how much of your 2024 marketing budget and time would be spent on organic social media posting vs. social media advertising, and does it warrant that percentage of your overall marketing budget and time being spent on it? So, how will you know if it’s warranted? Ask yourself the following:
    • Do any sales or leads tracking systems, including Google Analytics (GA4) indicate that you are getting a sufficient number of inquiries or sales to justify the time and $$ associated with organic social media posting?
    • Do you often learn anecdotally from new and prospective clients that they learned about you on social media due to your posts or profile?
    • Does the product or service that you offer have a long lead time, i.e., do target audiences often take a long time and do a lot of research about your products and services before they make a decision, and therefore, is awareness creation among target audiences an important first step in the sales process?
    • Is your product or service one that target audiences tend to investigate on social media such as a consumer goods or consumer service one, like jewelry, clothing, a hairdresser, or a restaurant?

If you can answer “yes” to any of the questions above, then it’s likely you still want to have a fairly robust presence on social media in 2024 and, therefore, do want to continue to put out a steady stream of social media posts on the various platforms in which you participate. Keep in mind that daily posting is likely unnecessary and may actually be considered by target audiences as annoying. 3-5 posts a week is likely the ideal cadence for most organizations posting on social media.

Do I Need To Have A Social Media Profile On All Social Media Platforms?

The answer to the above is “no,” and if you do, it’s likely because you haven’t taken the time to really understand your particular target audiences and their social media preferences. Which profiles are they most likely to hang out on based on their age and interests — and are they personal platforms vs. professional ones like LinkedIn? Are there particular platforms like “X,” (formerly Twitter) or TikTok that your target audiences won’t/don’t visit and on which your organization wouldn’t want to have a profile simply because of all the negative press and sentiment associated with those platforms?

Add “first user source/medium” as a second dimension to your Google Analytics traffic acquisition report to determine which forms of social media are driving the most traffic to your website and/or your Google Analytics conversions/events reports (and add same “first user source/medium” dimension) to see which site visitors coming from social media are taking desired actions on your site. That will help you determine which platforms you should continue to post to most regularly, if at all (although don’t completely vacate a platform without encouraging visitors to follow you on another social media platform).

The Social Media Platform You Should Always Be Posting To

Being the SEO geeks and SEO experts that we are, we always say to our existing and prospective clients, “always think of your Google My Business Profile as another form of social media.” As we explain in our blog post about ranking locally, when Google decides to serve up your website in search engine results for relevant terms, depending on whether or not a geographic (city, town) or “near me” term was included in the search phrase, Google might serve up your website or it might serve up your Google My Business Profile.

To keep your Google My Business Profile ranking as well as possible in search results, be sure to keep it fresh/current, as Google rewards such profiles the way it does websites.

Need Help Related to 2024 Strategic Marketing Planning?

Need help figuring out where and how to spend your 2024 marketing $$ and time? Reach out for a complimentary discussion of your marketing challenges and opportunities.

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Blogging Is Still A Very Effective SEO Tactic

I recently watched a video from an SEO expert who stated that, for certain organizations, regular blogging may no longer be an effective SEO strategy.

The above is not what I’ve seen in the past and what I continue to see. My clients who make and take the time to write and post new blog posts on topics that their particular target audiences are interested in and need to better understand, continue to drive traffic to their website from audiences who have great potential to buy their products or use their services. And, they are driving those relevant audiences because they are ranking well on Google for desirable search terms (known as keywords) because Google is indexing their blog content and serving it up in search results in relevant geographies.

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How To Blog Effectively

Anyone can “blog,” but how do you blog effectively to support SEO and actual sales?

  • Employ a keyword planner tool, like Google Ads’, to determine on which high-volume keywords your target audiences are searching
  • Use tools like Ubersuggest, Google Trends, and Answer The Public to see what questions your audiences has or what they are searching most about, and create blog posts that speak to those searches and questions
  • Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to determine what new, or long-time, blog posts on your site individuals are visiting most and make sure that you:

Need Ideas About What To Blog About?

Our team can help you develop a blogging strategy that would include research to determine what you should be blogging about. Depending on the complexity of the products and services you offer, we can even write and post your blog posts for you and make sure they get crawled/indexed by Google.

Reach Out To Our Boston SEO Company Today!

We love a good complimentary discussion about any organization’s marketing challenges or opportunities — whether the organization be a nonprofit or for-profit. To-date, we’ve supported approximately 125 different brands, so there’s very few industries, products, or services for which we don’t have at least some relevant marketing experience; plus, we’re quick to learn new industries, products, and services. So, schedule your free call with our team of SEO experts today!

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Why You Can and You Can’t Stockpile SEO

As I shared with entrepreneur attendees of a recent webinar I gave with a colleague on “ensuring your website is your workhorse,” search engine optimization (SEO) is not a one and done activity. SEO should be viewed as an activity that continues as long as your business or organization does. That said, there are steps you can take to stockpile some SEO work, while knowing that you can’t fully stockpile SEO because of needing to respond to yet-unknown industry, life, world, and personal events that may impact your organization and the products, services, and solutions you offer. Think about the onset of the 2020 pandemic. None of us really saw that coming, right? And, we had to pivot and put out new information, and/or add or tweak products and services to better serve our customers in a new world/business landscape.

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How You Can Stockpile SEO

Google continues to reward websites who provide fresh/current “helpful content.” This was reinforced by their August 2023 algorithm update that indicated having “helpful content” was a key factor “the king of search engines” would continue to take into consideration when deciding which websites to serve high up in search results for relevant terms.

By creating an editorial calendar that documents future blog post topics for the next quarter, or more, and then, actually writing the posts and creating or identify images for use along with the posts, you can certainly get ahead of the SEO game — by doing all you can to have content that your target audience will value queued up for several or many months. The aforementioned is particularly true if your content management system (CMS)/website platform allows you to schedule posts to be published at a future date.

Why You Can’t Completely Stockpile SEO

As expressed in our blog post intro., there will always be unforeseen circumstances that arise that will cause you to want or need to put out new unanticipated content, or to add or change product, service, and solution offerings. Here’s an example: a blog post I wrote with a colleague about how to best employ social media during the pandemic. Could I have foreseen a need for this post months in advance, and therefore, created and scheduled this, i.e., stockpiled it? No. I don’t think anyone could have anticipated the severity and length of COVID’s impact on organizations and businesses many months in advance.

In sum, you can and should take time to create an editorial calendar detailing future blog post topics and publish dates, and you can and should write those in advance; plus, use CMS capabilities to schedule them to publish on your website at the right time. But, there will always be times when you’ll need to respond immediately to unexpected events that occur — either ones that may pose a challenge to you and your customers, or provide an opportunity for you and your customers that you’ll want to capitalize on quickly.

Need Help Building Out A Blog Post Editorial Calendar?

Not sure where to begin to figure out topics for future blog posts that will provide meaningful, beneficial information to prospective and existing clients?

Schedule a complimentary discussion with our digital marketing team of SEO experts to talk about how to create “helpful content.”

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XYZ Things To Do In Anytown

We recently wrote a blog post about local SEO (local search engine optimization) entitled “XYZ Near Me” reminding our readers about the importance of ranking for relevant “near me” terms, and what it means to rank for them. We’re keeping the “XYZ” theme going, but this time we’re expanding the geography factor a bit.

As we’ve shared many times on the main pages of our website and in blog posts, our Boston SEO company and digital marketing agency works with a very diverse client base, including for-profit organizations and nonprofit organizations, and organizations that offer tangible, consumer goods, as well as ones that offer services. Included in the aforementioned client mix, are organizations that offer “experiences.” To us, experiences, such as events, shows, and classes are sort of a hybrid between a service and a tangible good. You certainly take something home with you — lots of great priceless memories!

We currently are working with a number of clients offering such experiences. Several are nonprofit arts organizations offering one or several of the following: live music, theatrical performances or shows, classes, and art exhibits. One for-profit client providing a special experience is a perfume shop in New Orleans, offering both residents and tourists the opportunity to take a trip back in time to the Vieux Carre (Old Square) and to Paris via the experience of touring their historic French Quarter shop and choosing a fragrance for themselves, or as a gift or souvenir for someone else.

What do all of these organizations have in common beyond offering “experiences,” great memories, and valuable opportunities for bonding with friends and family? They all want and need to be found in search engines by searchers searching on “xyz things to do in their particular town/city/state region.” Why? Because both residents of, or individuals planning a business trip or vacation to, their area, often don’t know they and their fabulous experiences exist. Appropriate audiences for their particular experiences may not be searching on their name or even the particular experience they offer such as “live music,” but they definitely will be searching on “things list” terms such as the following:

  • fun things to do in Boston MA
  • unique things to do in Harvard Square
  • best things to do on Cape Cod
  • romantic things to do in New Orleans
  • special things to do in Boston Metrowest area

We think you get the picture!

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SEO company's blog post about experience-organization websites wanting to be found for "things lists," therefore things to do lists.

Highlighting The “Things List” You Want To Be Found For On Google

There are two ways you can call out to Google, and other search engines, the “things list” terms you want your website to be found and rank well for:

  • Be creative about including in your public-facing website content those things lists you think your website/organization deserves to be found for. Let’s say you offer dinner and live music in an intimate, cozy atmosphere, why not include a sentence like the following in your website content? “We’re often told by visitors (or customers) that attending one of our dinner shows should be at the top of the list of romantic things to do in Boston.”
  • Include the things list term you want to be found for in your behind-the-scenes SEO/meta page or SEO/post title tag along with a geographic trigger like “MA” or “Copley Place” or “Braintree.”

If you don’t know what things lists your particular target audiences are searching on most frequently and/or how to compose a post or page title tag (or where to enter them on your website), reach out to our SEO services company for help.

Highlighting Solutions To Problems To Support SEO

Being found for right things list terms, is just one of many examples of how your organization needs to think beyond the exact names of your particular products and services, and about the solutions to problems you offer. As we always call out in any informal or more-formal SEO training class we facilitate, many people who conduct a search engine search, are looking to identify an organization or individual who can solve their problem. So, as we recommended above related to appearing for the right things lists, you need to incorporate these solutions to problems in your website content and page title tags. For example, nutritionists might include phrases in content and tags like “how to lose weight,” or “how to have more energy.”

Reach Out For Help With SEO

You can learn more about our various one-time/one-off and ongoing SEO services on our SEO services page, but you can also schedule a free SEO Zoom or phone discussion about your particular challenges and opportunities to be found and rank well on Google, including those related to appearing for the right “things list” terms!

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Give The People What They Want

Recently, as the owner of a digital marketing agency with an SEO (search engine optimization) specialty who is always looking to improve on the SEO services we offer our clients, I signed up for a subscription to “Answer The Public.” I had learned about the tool via a free webinar offered by Neil Patel, a digital marketing expert I greatly admire and follow on LinkedIn, and one of Neil’s colleagues. The aforementioned tool allows you to see what questions individuals are asking related to the products, services, and solutions to problems that your organization offers, and to see how frequently, for a particular geography, individuals are searching Google for answers to those questions.

I’ve already used the tool numerous times with various clients to inform FAQs (frequently asked questions) on their websites, as well as topics for future blog posts. And, of course, I plan to use the tool to inform future blog posts for Results C & R too.

The data available via “Answer The Public” is so in keeping with the blog post we wrote last year about the algorithm change Google shared about placing greater emphasis on “helpful content” when determining which organizations’ websites to serve up high in search results for relevant queries.

When thinking about what to write about “Answer The Public,” the song below came to mind because isn’t that what helpful content, and answering the questions people want answered, all about? Giving people what they want and need?

Reach Out To Talk About Your Marketing Challenges and Opportunities and How Our SEO Services Might Address Them

I always love a great marketing and communications brainstorm, so reach out today to talk about your awareness-, sales-, and service-engagement- challenges. I’ll always give you an honest evaluation of whether I believe your organization would benefit from pull marketing tactics (like organic and paid SEO), push marketing tactics (like social media advertising), or both. Use my calendar app to schedule a complimentary discussion at a day and time that’s convenient for you, or e-mail me at gail.moraski@allintheresults.com.

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Why It’s Time To Get Back To Internet and SEO Basics

As we mentioned in this recent blog post, there’s so much discussion going on right now about whether or not, and how soon, AI (artificial intelligence) will impact how search engines like Google determine what websites, Google My Business Profiles/Google Search & Maps listings, or other digital properties to serve up in search results.

We think, now more than ever, it’s important to return to why the internet, via which individuals are able to access various digital properties, was first launched. Certainly and initially, the internet was created to allow for easier sharing of information. We believe that, regardless of the decade in which we find ourselves living and working, websites and other digital properties should still continue to support the internet’s initial mission, and therefore, focus on the target audiences they serve and what information those target audiences expect to find on the online property in-question. Plus, focus on what information would be most helpful to those audiences.

Image is a gray square that has "2 Best Practices For Digital Information-Sharing That Also Support SEO" as a header in dark turquoise letters. Underneath in the square two smaller headlines read "1. Be Authentic" and "2. Be Fresh (Keep Your Content Fresh, That Is!". The logo of our Boston digital marketing agency and Boston Digital marketing agency is at the bottom of the image, Results Communications and Research.

Two Best Practices For Digital Information Sharing That Also Support SEO

So, what are two practices that are critical to effective information sharing that also support SEO (search engine optimization)/being found on Google?

  1. As we called out in our “SEO Is Not For Sissies” blog post that we wrote seven years ago (2016), BE AUTHENTIC.
    • Provide the best User Experience (UX) by not overthinking, and being real and being honest about who your organization is and the services your offer. While you want external organizations to link to your site, don’t offer compensation for sites to do so. Google recognizes when the connection between organizations is forced vs. real and natural. In addition, don’t just write for SEO. Tell a good story, get people talking about you, be newsworthy, etc. Write about the things that matter most to you and your customers.
  2. BE FRESH. Keep your website and any other digital property’s content fresh by continuing to produce and share new, content relevant to both your organization and your target audiences. Visitors to your online properties aren’t going to return if there’s no new information to be gleaned from your site, and Google and other search engines are way more likely to serve up a competitor site for relevant search terms (keywords) if that competitor site has fresher, newer content. What’s an easy way to keep your content fresh? Create and post a bi-weekly or monthly blog post!

Even if the two digital information principles/best practices above are all you have time to attend to due to limited staff, time, or $, barring any kind of technical issues with your digital properties, as Boston digital marketing experts offering SEO services, we believe you’ll be well positioned to be found on Google by the people you want most to find you. Plus, you’ll be supporting the internet’s original mission to share beneficial information effectively!

Don’t Have Time To Ensure Your Website Content Is Authentic Or Fresh?

The team at our Boston digital marketing agency, Results Communications & Research, has a significant experience serving as the blog voice for many of our clients, in addition to writing our own blogs. Schedule a time to learn more about our one-time and ongoing SEO services, or learn more here.

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Should I Hire A Marketing Agency, A Marketing Consultant, Or A PR Firm?

Regardless of the size of your organization, it can be confusing to figure out what type of marketing agency or marketing consultant to hire to help you create awareness, and ultimately cause sales of your products, services, and solutions. The ability to market digitally/electronically — that came with wide-spread adoption of the internet — brought with it the following changes when it came to organizations engaging outside help for their marketing (outsourcing their marketing), whether it be for one-off/one-time work or ongoing work.

How Digital Marketing Leveled The Playing Field For Both Advertisers and Ad Agencies

  • Organizations who couldn’t afford the high costs associated with producing TV, radio, transit, or outdoors (billboards or other) advertising, found new, more affordable marketing activities were now available to them in the form of social media posting and advertising, tactics that support websites being found on Google and other search engines for desirable search phrases (organic search tactics/SEO tactics), paid search engine ads/marketing (SEM), e-blast and e-mail marketing, and more.
  • Since many organizations looking for marketing help no longer required the infrastructure and diverse skillsets associated with marketing tactics that involved large production activities and costs, some realized they no longer needed to hire a full-service large advertising agency — think the type of agency featured in the acclaimed TV series, “Mad Men,” or on “BeWitched,” as smaller marketing shops, like ours, could meet their digital marketing needs and/or traditional marketing needs related to activities that don’t require a lot of production, such as Public Relations (PR), or print advertising.

Getting back to whom your organization should consider hiring for ongoing marketing services or one-time/one-off marketing project work/help, here’s one Boston digital marketing agency’s, Boston SEO company’s, and Boston marketing consultant’s thoughts — yeah, we consider ourselves to be all of the aforementioned, and for clients who engage us for non-PR work, we can also be engaged for help with PR since our Principal has a great deal of PR experience.

This is a square gray image with our Boston digital marketing agency's logo (Results Communications & Research's) logo at the bottom. At the top of the image in big bold letters it says "Should I Hire An Ad Agency, A Digital Marketing Agency, Marketing Consultant, Or PR Firm?" Underneath That In A Dark Powder Blue It Says" Read One Marketing Professional's Thoughts."

How To Figure Out What Type Of Marketing Firm To Hire And Questions To Ask

Branding and Design Firm. A firm that refers to themselves as a branding/brand and design firm primarily focuses on helping you figure out the look and feel of your brand, including the logo, colors, and graphic elements that will be associated with your brand. They usually offer website design services, but not always. And, some do offer other digital marketing or traditional marketing services thru collaborations or partnerships with digital marketing agencies, advertising agencies, or marketing consultants, or marketing freelancers. So, if you know you will need particular digital and/or traditional marketing services after working with the branding firm to develop or execute a new brand identify for you, ask in advance if they offer those services, so you will know whether you will have the burden of hunting around after for someone to help with traditional and digital marketing services — particularly to drive traffic to any new site you engage them to design for you.

Digital Marketing Agency. Digital marketing agencies tend to offer both higher-level strategic planning services, as well as hands-on/execution services, related to any marketing tactic that is digital or electronic related, including: e-blast/e-mail strategy and execution services, social media strategy and voice (actually writing and scheduling of social media posts), online advertising (social media/display advertising, Google Ads or other search engine advertising), blog strategy and voice work (actually writing and posting of blogs to your website), and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. Most will offer content marketing services as well to help you figure out what content your target audiences are most interested in, and an editorial calendar for serving up such content on your website. Website content writing services likely will be available as well.

SEO Company. Because paid search engine advertising/marketing (SEM) supports an organization ranking well in relevant search engine results, as our Boston SEO company does, most SEO companies offer strategy and execution services related to both organic search/organic SEO tactics, as well as paid search advertising services. Some will offer some additional digital marketing services as well.

Marketing Consultant. In the almost nine years since we launched Results C & R, we’ve met a large number of marketing consultants. The degree to which they offer hands-on/execution work vs. developing high-level strategic plans tends to really vary. Some offer a number of hands-on services, in addition to helping you develop a strategic marketing plan, while others don’t do the actual marketing tactic execution work. If your organization has a number of internal marketing people who can actually oversee or execute the marketing plan developed by a consultant, a marketing consultant may be just what and all that you need.

Public Relations Firm/PR Firm. The focus of public relations firms is to get your organization unpaid-for-advertising/marketing. By helping your organization develop a strategy for causing various reporters and media to cover your story, they help your organization get mentions and attention without the cost of an expensive advertising campaign. PR firms also tend to offer event planning services since an event may be the perfect way to create awareness of your organization and/or create good will among your target audiences. Keep in mind that if you only need help with putting on an event vs. getting regular/ongoing press coverage, you could consider hiring an event planning firm. Many event planning firms also have experience getting media/reporter coverage for an event as well.

In general, the biggest overlap between a digital marketing agency and a Public Relations firm is that they both tend to offer social media services, since social media posts — particularly organic vs. paid/boosted social media posts — can help to generate good will and create awareness of an organization’s products, services, and solutions.

Advertising Agency. Nowadays, when people think of, or decide to hire an advertising agency vs. a digital marketing agency, it’s related to the fact that advertising agencies can pull in the right team members or hire the right contractors for a marketing campaign that requires heavy-duty production. As we mentioned above, scripting and executing a radio, TV (network or cable) or streaming advertisement requires the collaboration of a bunch of individuals with diverse skillsets, the renting of studios and/or locations in which to film, the hiring of “talent” for the broadcast spot — whether it be aired on the radio or TV. Activities like the aforementioned are often the reason why, in our current day and age, an organization would look to hire an advertising agency vs. a digital marketing agency. Although, most advertising agencies offer digital marketing services, in addition to traditional ones.

Web Design/Web Development Firm. Web design and web development firms are exactly what their name indicates — firms who help design and develop websites for clients. Many also offer logo design or other graphic design services because of their web designers’ ability to successfully complete such work. All web design/web development firms DO NOT offer SEO services nor do they always understand SEO, so if you expect or want to receive SEO services as part of your new website launch, be sure to ask any firms you are considering to design and develop your site, what knowledge they have of SEO and/or who they have on their team that has an SEO background. Otherwise, as we explain in this blog post, you’ll end up with a website that is not easily found via search engine searches.

Unfortunately, we regularly interact with prospective clients who had someone develop a beautiful, effective site for them, but the site is not being visited/found by target audiences because SEO tactics weren’t put in place by the web design/web development firm as part of the site development and design engagement.

This image shows the back of a dark-skinned woman who is wearing a striped white and light blue shirt. She is holding a pencil or pen above a notebook on her right-hand side and her left-hand is hovered over a laptop computer keyboard. The screen of the computer says "Marketing" in big blue letter. The image is being shown in keeping with our Boston Digital Marketing Agency's blog post about how to know what type of marketing agency or consultant to hire.

What Should I Expect To Pay A Marketing Agency Or A Marketing Consultant?

Based, again, on our 9 years of marketing agency and marketing consulting experience at the time of writing this post, we’ve found that, in general, the bigger the agency/marketing shop, the more expensive their hourly rate and marketing project fees are. Why? It mainly comes down to overhead and the costs of maintaining and marketing a larger organization, offering a large number of employees benefits, etc.

If your organization doesn’t expect to need the type of traditional advertising production work outlined above under the “Advertising Agency” section, you’ll very likely fare better financially hiring a smaller digital marketing agency or PR firm or a marketing consultant. Plus, you may end up getting more personal attention than you would with a larger agency. And, most smaller shops can pull in a collaborator, freelancer, or other agency or consultant, as needed.

We’re A Boston Digital Marketing Agency, Boston SEO Company, Boston Marketing Consultant, and Boston PR Firm All In One!

Due to our Principal’s more than 30 years of corporate marketing and consulting experience, we offer all the services called out in the heading directly above! We regularly meet with both start-ups and long-standing organizations — both for-profit and non-profit — for complimentary discussions about their marketing challenges and opportunities, so feel free to use our calendar app to schedule a FREE initial consultation https://calendly.com/gail-moraski.

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How To Know Where To Invest Marketing Energy and Dollars: Push Vs. Pull Marketing

Regardless of whether your organization has a small or large marketing budget and staff, you still want to spend your time and money on marketing judiciously. Who wants to throw either valuable dollars or time out the window, right?

Why not make this the year you ensure you’re maximizing your marketing efforts by revisiting your marketing plans based on the information shared below about what marketing tactics make sense based on available data.

What Is Pull Marketing?

Each marketing expert probably has their own thoughts on what they consider marketing tactics that fall in the “pull” category. But, at our Boston digital marketing agency and Boston SEO company, we think of “pull marketing” tactics as those to be employed if evidence shows that individuals are actively searching to identify someone in your geography who offers the products, services, and solutions to problems that your organization offers.

So how do you know if people are actively searching in the geography you serve for the products, services, and solutions you offer? The best way to ascertain the aforementioned is by conducting keyword research. As we explain in this previous blog post, keyword research helps you identify the average # of monthly Google searches that are conducted on search terms (known as keywords) relevant to your products, services, and solutions. Because of the tools to which you’ll need access and the challenges of figuring out how to structure your research, you’ll likely fare better by hiring an SEO company or a team of SEO experts, like ours, to conduct meaningful and accurate keyword research.

If keyword research does indicate a large volume of individuals are regularly searching to identify an organization like yours, then pull marketing tactics, such as optimizing your website to be found on Google via organic search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and/or paid search tactics (think Google Ads) make great marketing sense. You’ll still need to have an effective website (one with appropriate calls-to-actions and that provides for a strong user experience) to cause site visitors to take desired actions on your site (convert), but the two aforementioned tactics should definitely cause individuals who are “warm leads,” i.e., likely interested in your products because they are actively searching, to visit your website.

What Is Push Marketing?

We always like to say “push marketing” is about the putting the idea in the heads of individuals and organizations who might be a good fit for the product, service, or solution you offer. Push marketing tactics are all about serving up/providing information about your products or services to individuals who, based on various demographics and characteristics, such as age, gender, income level, job/career/industry, etc., might likely be interested in buying your product or engaging you for your service.

Examples of both digital and traditional push marketing tactics include: display advertising (both social media advertising and Google display advertising), banner advertising (ad purchased on a website that serves individuals and orgs. who might be a good fit for your product), and print advertising in a newspaper or magazine. The aforementioned list is not exclusive, but we think you get the picture.

So, when is push marketing warranted? Push marketing makes great sense if keyword research indicates that individuals aren’t actively searching in your geography to identify someone like your organization. Particularly when a product or service offered is a brand new one that your target audiences are not likely familiar with/don’t know exist, then focusing on executing effective push marketing tactics will be the most efficient use of your marketing time and dollars.

When To Employ Both Push and Pull Marketing

Organizations with particularly large marketing budgets and teams tend to employ both push and pull marketing tactics, and therefore, both pursue people that are “warmer” leads for their products and services, i.e., those who are actively searching AND people who are less warm but still might be a good fit for their products and services. A key reason they may employ both push and pull marketing tactics is that pull alone doesn’t bring in the volume of leads and sales they need to meet their sales objectives.

For smaller organizations who have fewer in-house individuals devoted to marketing and a limited marketing budget, the majority of marketing dollars and time should definitely be earmarked for the type of tactics — push vs. pull — that make the most sense for the organization, based on what keyword research and any other appropriate available data indicates. But, it’s likely still worth investing a small amount of time and dollars in push marketing tactics, like Google Display or Instagram/Facebook advertising, just to see what such tactics yield in results.

Our Team Of Marketing Experts And SEO Experts Is Here To Help

We always say our Boston SEO company and Boston digital marketing agency “never encourages clients or prospective clients to continue with or start with a marketing tactic that doesn’t make sense for them.” In fact, our company’s tagline since we launched our marketing agency in 2014 has been “maximizing results thru research-supported marketing.” We’ll never suggest a client employ a particular tactic, based on whether or not we offer a service related to it. If we don’t offer a marketing service from which research indicates a client would benefit, we’ll refer the work to a one of our fellow marketing collaborators. But, the very first step is holding a complimentary discussion to learn about your particular organization’s marketing challenges and opportunities, so please use our calendar app to select a convenient day and time for you if you’d like to chat!