What Does Traditional Media Mean Today?

Recently, I attended a healthcare marketing conference where different companies were presenting their marketing case histories. At one point during a presentation, the person behind me asked the speaker to elaborate on their media plan. The presenter happily obliged and outlined the list of their traditional media, which included SEM, paid placement PPC, email and social media. The person who asked the question tried to correct the speaker by saying that digital wasn’t considered traditional media.

In the days of Mad Men and even recently, the term “traditional media” meant the old standbys of TV, print, radio and outdoor. Then, the Internet was born.

With the wonderful expanse of the Internet, digital marketing is an incredibly strong addition to the marketing toolbox for hospitals and medical organizations. Today, when we start planning for a client, traditional media includes digital, with banner ads being the basic tool. But in this highly digital media world, we can’t simply stop with paid placement such as banner ads. The media strategy should be supported and enhanced with a holistic digital strategy, where SEO, SEM, retargeting, highly targeted email marketing and social media are all part of the “traditional” package, creating a strong mix of outbound and inbound digital marketing opportunities.

If today’s definition of traditional media includes digital, then what could the future hold? With the increasing usage of multi-platform wearables (think Apple Watch and Moto 360), “new” media might include ad messages targeted to reach a person exactly when they are near a relevant space, such as receiving a text coupon or ad while passing a store they Googled the day before, or even better, emailing an emergency room with a person’s insurance information and medical records if they walk into the emergency department and register for care.

In summary, traditional advertising is no longer just a static outbound experience. An ideal media plan will be designed to reach individuals with the right message at the right time and the right place. This means using more than old school traditional media and leveraging basic as well as cutting edge digital tools.

Tracy McCarty, BSRN

VP, Client Engagement