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Just when I thought I had every avenue of marketing figured out, the digital side of marketing exploded!

As an experienced marketer—with an MBA— I downplayed its importance. I railed against it as another “fad.” I was oh-so-comfortable staying in my cozy traditional marketing box of print, offline newsletters, and media. I was quite offended when some called it (and me) “old school.”

New School Marketing “Wins”

According to HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales company, people spend twice as much time online as they did 12 years ago.

It’s ok if it all just seems overwhelming and your response has been to dabble in the new ways.

But when you embrace the new, digital marketing reality by applying effective tools, you’ll not only extend your brand, you’ll profit!

Dealing with the Challenges

If you’re living in the old school of marketing, some challenges you may find overwhelming:

You have a great website, but it’s not optimized for the right traffic.

  • Most people today use mobile to review your site. If you do not have a mobile-modified site you are losing customers.
  • When your prospects search for you, they are more likely to find you because they are searching based on words and phrases around the problem they need solved.

You have a blog, but posting is spotty at best.

  • Readers may feel that you are not up-to-date and turn to another expert for information.
  • Consistency is important because this will improve your visibility and credibility.

You are a business owner who knows you need to “go there” with more “full-funnel” activity but you haven’t.

  • With digital strategies, you can turn browsers into buyers by attracting, converting, and closing that prospect.
  • You can automate your marketing and save time and resources. Now you can focus on the priorities of your business and capture more leads.

You have the courage to be “dangerous” on social media and online. You post, send, request, connect, and Like, but you’re not experiencing the results (#profits) you’d like.

  • Create an engagement strategy and connect to stay top-of-mind with your prospects and client.
  • Establish a content calendar for your content assets and decide where to publish. Decide which social media platforms are right for your type of business. Use articles, blogs, videos, polls, questions, quizzes and more. The choices are endless!

Request our latest ebook, 7 Marketing Ideas to Monetize Your Brand Now. info@ckomarketing.com

So what does old school vs new school marketing look like:

Reaching customers

Old school: The “old school” tradition spends lots of money to “push” the product or service out to a mass audience, some of whom may be your target audience. You cast a wide net and hope you capture the right buyer persona that converts. Some techniques include mass media like TV, radio, billboards, and print production. But there’s no personalization that makes your prospective customer feel special.

New school: Engage directly with your prospects, clients, and customers. Messages become personal and marketing is done one-to-one. Talking to a “target of one” makes your brand customizable and personable. You create a feeling from your prospect of “Hey, they are talking to me. I want to learn more.” And as you engage, you build followers who become your advocates, and ideally, raving fans.


Old school: Create slick looking ads, spending hundreds (or thousands) of $$ on designers, video, copywriting, etc. These ads are impersonal, can fall flat and don’t engage with the audience.

New school: Build ads, infographics, presentation graphics and more, (try Canva, Piktochart, or similar programs) creating professionally-looking marketing communications’ vehicles. Don’t break your ad budget when you have sensible resources right at your fingertips.

Educating Your Audience

Old school: Write a press release, schmooze the media; beg the media to pick up your interesting or relevant story (ok, maybe you’ll still beg the media in the new school – but in more creative and engaging ways.) Hope and pray that the media contact sees enough relevance to run the story or post the press release.

New School: Write your own content. Post on your website, partner websites, social media sites and other online platforms where you know your audience hangs out. Use videos, blogs, e-books, and more to convey your messages.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you entirely ditch what I’ve labeled here as “old school” altogether. I’m asking that you think smart about how you use your marketing dollars.

Effective marketing has always been about gaining the attention of your relevant audience by meeting them where they hang out. HOW a business does that now involves a cornucopia of choices! And we like choice! But what do you choose? And how do you choose? What do you base your decisions on? It can all be overwhelming. Start with your strategy, include your objectives and work backwards. And if some think strategy is “old school,” then call them out on it. I’ll take strategy any day to reactionary, impulsive marketing.

Need help navigating the waters of your branding and marketing efforts? Connect with us: ckomarketing.com – info@ckomarketing.com.

Request our latest ebook, 7 Marketing Ideas to Monetize Your Brand Now

Carolyn Ortman is a marketing expert, leading organizations to improve their bottom line by giving them new perspectives on how they present themselves to their marketplace.

Her focus is on branding, marketing strategy, customer service, and leadership practices. She delivers on these topics through her love of speaking, training, and consulting.

As the principal of CKO Marketing Group, she passionately steers businesses through the confusing maze of marketing choices to increase revenue and create their impact on the world. Her Marketing MBA and 11 years as a business owner serve her well in delivering results for her clients. She can be reached at:  info@ckomarketing.com