How Traditional Marketing Still Works

Published: July 7, 2017

This past week I’ve been on vacation in Los Angeles, California. Over here I’ve been taking a break from work and soaking in everything. While doing so, I’ve noticed a big difference in the marketing over here compared to Vancouver. It’s proven to me that there is still value in traditional marketing. Sometimes in this generation we tend to get sucked into the constant level of social media marketing and online advertising — but that’s not always what works (or at least not the only thing).

The first major role in the difference of LA and Vancouver is the population. Los Angeles has ~3.9 million people with Vancouver ~169,294. With such a drastic difference, it’s very noticeable in the popularity of businesses. No matter where we are driving we will see a line-up out the door in some of the most discrete locations that just happen to have a great reputation. This brings me to my first point in traditional marketing:

1) Location Based Marketing
Walking traffic is HUGE in LA when we visit places such as Venice Beach that have people strolling around and stores/stands stretching across the entire walkway. It’s basically unintentional window shopping when you walk down the path and see all of the products that are available. For me, I’m usually targeted by fun drinks or new foods I’ve never tried. Knowing your location is vital too. Since it’s so hot here, it makes sense to sell iced drinks or popsicles, bathing suits and tank tops, and the 3rd most popular spot I’d say were the marijuana dispensaries. Again, this is all about knowing your market. If there was a marijuana dispensary in my town, it would be deserted and looked down upon by a lot of the citizens as they aim to keep our town “a family community”. Here — weed was recently legalized and the beach is a prime spot to toke up and chill out. For myself, I was convinced to buy an açaí bowl and try a new flavour of Kombucha.

2) Outbound Marketing
This type of marketing is when the business product or service reaches out to you. For example: print ads, radio commercials, and billboards. All of these have been prominent in LA. Billboards and large signage are everywhere. Since the city is fairly flat you have a good chance to see anything tall while driving on the highway. This causes businesses to create signage on large poles (probably inspired by the height of their palm trees) which is almost like a real-life Google map location pin letting you know what is below. Not only are the billboards in your eye line but a lot of them are repetitive. At this point in time, some of the biggest billboards are for Spiderman: Homecoming and War of the Planet of the Apes. I asked the friends that I’m with if it actually makes them want to see these movies and they confirmed that it does. My boyfriend even said he wants to see “War of the Planet of the Apes” and when I mentioned I hadn’t seen the second, he forgot there even was one. This means the marketing for the second didn’t catch his attention enough to go and see it yet he’s already been convinced to attend the latest.

3) Referral Marketing
This is personally one of the most prominent marketing strategies that works for me. We went on this trip to take advantage of the activities but mainly to try all of the food. Living in Canada and having friends in the States really brings attention to the difference we have in snack flavours and different types of cuisines. There are so many hole-in-the-wall places that I wouldn’t have thought to try that have fantastic reputations. It’s to your benefit to know a local and trust their word on what is best. Yesterday, we drove all the way to San Diego just to try a taco place and I can tell you it was well worth it. This place was authentic Mexican and I have to tell you when we pulled up to the outside it was not at all what I expected after hearing the rave reviews. The logo was dated; the menu wasn’t on the fad of something like Chipotle where everything is customizable; and the building looked like any typical Mexican restaurant trying to be authentic. I probably wouldn’t have stopped if it weren’t for trustworthy recommendations from others.

All of these strategies have caught my eye and reminded me that social media isn’t the only successful route to generating leads or customers. Maintaining the quality of service will keep people referring you, outbound marketing will showcase your brand to someone who may not have previously heard of it, and finally location-based traffic will remind you of something you need before you realize you need it.

So, what about you? When you travel do you notice different affects of marketing strategies? Do you notice what works best on yourself or someone close to you? Let me know in the comments. It’d be interesting to read how others are persuaded.

A creative who dips her toes in an assortment of mediums. (Usually a medium hot chocolate, but this will do too).