Converting to new media from traditional marketing communication | Sunday Observer

Converting to new media from traditional marketing communication

8 November, 2020

Social and traditional media share two common objectives in terms of marketing. The first is to attract customers and then to boost awareness. Advertising in social media surpasses good old modes of advertising through TV, newspaper, magazines to a great extent in this internet era. However, traditional media still remains a trusted source for information when it comes to factual and balanced stories. Both platforms, social and conventional, serve the same audience. Each form has the objective of disseminating a message to keep the masses informed.??

Current global social media usage statistics reveal amazingly high figures. For example, global data sources divulge that there are over a staggering 3.8 billion social media users worldwide with Facebook being the most popular with 2.7 billion active users as of August 2020. Other popular platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram also carry millions of users.

?A more important factor as per global research is that 73% of marketers believe that social media advertising is ‘very effective’ whilst 71% of consumers who use social media are likely to recommend their respective positive experiences with brands to friends and family.

In Sri Lanka, the total number of social media users is over six million currently. The vast majority of them use their mobile phones to use these platforms.

An astounding figure of 96% out of the total is Facebook account holders. Overall, these statistics obviously reveal that social media marketing has become compulsory in advertising for commercial products and services in Sri Lanka. Although the competition created in the market due to the low costs of social media marketing is much higher, the reach and influence social media can generate are hugely influential.??


Social media marketing (SMM) is a substantially economical and speedy mode to deliver a message to promote a product, service, or brand compared to the expensive and time-consuming process of traditional media advertising. Organic and paid social media are the two types of social media marketing.

Organic SMM is free and involves adding informational, educational, or entertainment content to a platform to build a brand; whereas the paid SMM is a mode of advertising that delivers paid contents over the network. Organisations can select the best-suited platform for their advertisements and which audience to target. Paid social media is a good short-term tactic to promote customer action and currently the fastest approach.??Measurability is another distinct advantage social media possess in advertising. The advertiser can find out how many times the message was looked at, the web page is opened, or how many times the message was shared by a patron.

As for measurability, in traditional media, it is not easy to quantify the response. In mainstream media, the customer response is only a guess based on the number of inquiries received in a specific period. For example, if an advertisement is concurrently run on radio, newspaper, and television, it is difficult to exactly determine from which medium the response was received.??

Advertisements published on traditional media cannot be corrected easily, once published, if a mistake was made in the original message. When using social media, the messages can be easily edited at any given time with the corrections. Also, when using social media, the communicator has the opportunity to enhance the creativity or content whenever a need arises.??????

Conventional methods are most often one-way communication. On the contrary, social networks provide more engagement with multiple audiences such as brand to customer, customer to brand, or customer to customer. Social media is the only platform that allows you to obtain on the spot feedback by interacting with customers directly. The transactions can be in real-time through comments, conversations, shares, or promotions. An advertiser can build up an extremely powerful online community that mainstream media is unable.?

Target customer segment

One of the most important features in social media is the ability to specifically communicate to a target customer segment. A company can target an audience on geographical location, profession, interest, age, when social media is used for marketing. This is another definite advantage over traditional media.

Radio, television, and print media cannot publish, broadcast, or telecast a message to a specific segment. Therefore, the advertiser is often left with an audience that may never have any interest in the product or service. Usually, their rates for advertising are decided for the whole audience, making the cost much higher which can be considered as waste.??

However, even though the usage of the social platform is becoming increasingly higher, both systems are similar in purposes, procedures, and target audience. The difference is in the publication time and ability to access. Although conventional media engagement is more cumbersome, both go through a tedious process to keep the viewers informed.??

However, as a negative factor, with the sweeping increase in internet users, social media operates with minimal censorship leading to unsubstantiated, misleading, or fake content due to the absence of a regulatory authority in Sri Lanka. The digital medium also lacks traditional media ethics that is still mostly revered by conventional media.One may find many websites, online business entities that provide phony information to collect payments for a product where the customer does not have any forum to complain or take correctional or punitive action.??

A necessity

Social media advertising has become a necessity and not a choice for companies due to numerous reasons as mentioned. Customers can open multiple platforms concurrently in the device, be it the mobile phone, laptop, or desktop computer.

They can read messages from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other channel simultaneously by merely switching between tabs. Another huge advantage of advertising in social media is the time spent by users on various channels. Almost all of Sri Lanka’s 25 million mobile phone subscribers are spending several hours a day going through the content on various platforms. The increasing presence of applications with bigger audiences that encompass a much larger audience than any television commercial, billboard, press advertisement can capture is another vital reason for organisations to go on social media in their respective marketing communication campaigns.? Also, hyper-personalization across the new media allows marketers to choose the most effective message and the best suited time to make the user become a customer.????

When using the traditional media in marketing, the advertiser must make sure that the whole thing is in order? the first time itself as due to the high cost involved, there is no room for errors in testing. Contrarily, social media is offering instant editing if there is a mistake. Therefore, social media is much more cost-effective in testing an audience as the message can be readjusted and the target audience can be changed if the test fails.

There is no doubt that with technology, social media has far exceeded the capabilities of traditional media as an advertising alternative when considering marketing communication. However, traditional media advertising has not lost its authenticity on trustworthiness and accuracy, a reason companies still continue to choose this for brand building and public relations campaigns. Convenience, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness have inspired companies to convert to new methods.