Traditional Marketing and New Age Marketing - Striking The Right Balance

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 3613 , Published on 10 January 2014

“Who is the king?” asked the man. The spontaneous answer was “The customer!” If you would have asked the same question about 20 years ago, the reply would have been – “The one who has the best product?” Welcome to the era of the Chief Executive CUSTOMER! - An era which has witnessed a monumental upturn in the marketing world, with the availability of “supernatural” technology at its disposal.

Now, when the protagonist has changed from the seller to the buyer, the setting of the drama is bound to change and the marketer who fails to recognize this transformation is headed towards doom.

Image Courtesy:, 1shots

The key question companies face today is: How do we target these information laden customers: i.e through the old age tried and tested methods of marketing, also known as traditional marketing or through contemporary/new age marketing with the armour of innovation as its greatest asset? The answer to this question lies in that marketing methodology which is able to leave a strong dent in the consumer’s mind and is able to create an impactful brand recall. As is Surf synonymous with a detergent powder, as is Maggi instinctively associated with noodles, such should be the ability of the marketing campaign so as to carve a special and separate space in the grey cells of the consumers.

We might grow up, mature and evolve with the times, but to succeed in life, we must remember our roots and some important things we learnt as children. Drawing aparallel from this transition across life’s stages, traditional marketing cannot be ignored for the sake of newer, more innovative marketing concepts. Let’s accept it, after all, the old-age methods did work, and worked well. Be it Mountain Dew’s “Darr ke aage jeet hai” advertisement, or Cadbury Dairy Milk’s “Kuch meetha ho jaye”, TV commercials ruled the roost for a very long time and succeeded in capturing the customers’ attention. In the past, the focus of the marketer was on one-way broadcast media Print, broadcast, telemarketing and direct mails were the most popular marketing methods till the late 1990s. But we need to understand that they are now being referred to as “traditional”, for a reason!

Come the 21st century, and the rules of the game have changed! With the advent of Google, the increasing penetration of smart-phones, and the proliferation of social media platforms – marketers now face a daunting array of possible options. According to a study conducted by Google, internet subscribers in India have grown to 164.81 million as of March 31, 2013, with as many as seven out of eight net users in the country accessing the services via their mobile phones. About 40 per cent of the internet users in the country are women. The study also found that women who are online are relatively more affluent and younger. Brands must make the most of this exploding rate of internet penetration, since they have to be present where the consumers are, virtually stalking them wherever they go.

Coca Cola has united more than 1.5 million music lovers on its Coke Studio facebook page and is an excellent example of successful Online Marketing. The concept of Coke Studio demonstrates that positive change happens when we connect with others and open up to the world. Online marketing has a wide reach and is inexpensive compared to the high cost of a traditional TV ad. Teenagers of today are making choices on their own through online shopping, instead of relying on their mothers, which implies that companies must offer Cash on Delivery facility (since youngsters don’t have Credit Cards). Many customers today prefer shopping online from within the comfort of their homes. This necessitates every company to have its own website, or sell its products online through popular channels like Jabong, Flipkart etc.

The Gangam style video, which sent a buzz running across the length and breadth of the country, depicts what an enormous impact Viral Marketing can have. The video has over 1 billion Youtube views. It is 4 min 13 seconds long, which means that it has been played for over 8000 years. Another success story is that of Cause Marketing, which instantly strikes a chord with the customers’ hearts. Linking a company’s products or services with a social cause proves to be a source of immense favourability in the customers’ minds. A survey revealed that two-thirds of consumers would switch retailers or brands, when quality and price are equal, to a retailer or a brand associated with a social cause. Tata Tea’s Jaago Re campaign changed the way customers perceived the word “awakening”. It went beyond the literal meaning, and urged the citizens to awaken to the importance of voting. Aircel’s “Save the tiger” campaign, aimed to encourage citizens to blog and spread awareness about the depleting tiger population.

New age marketing would be incomplete without mention of Affiliate Marketing, wherein usually 4 parties (merchant, network, blogger and customer) act as affiliates for the benefit of all. An example could be a blogger promoting hotels, flights etc. from a 3rd party website such as When a user buys flight tickets via his/her blog, Makemytrip will pay the blogger.

Until the advent and penetration of the internet, marketing was pretty cut and dry – TV, radio, mail and direct sales. Marketing was never easy, but technological advancement has made it a more challenging field. Experts have suggested that there should be subtle mix when considering both these strategies for brand promotion, depending on the type of market being served. When the king (read ‘customer’) is spoilt for choice, the marketer has to adapt his strategies to suit his palette. If the target market is technologically smart and internet dependent, it makes sense to accentuate more on the New Age marketing strategies. On the contrary, in a market with lesser internet penetration and development, the traditional methodologies would play the driving role.

Yesterday was ancient in consumer behaviour. As Charles Darwin puts it, it is not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Changing, while retaining the basic tenets of marketing would be the best way to survive and prosper in an environment where the king rules.

This article has been authored by Shreya Thariani and Star Jain from IMI Delhi



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