Digital Advertising vs Publicity


As a small to medium business owner, you may be struggling on which marketing strategy serves you best: digital advertising or publicity? You have been working with traditional PR mediums such as earned editorial coverage in magazines, newspapers, TV shows, sites and blogs from the very beginning, but by witnessing your competitors fueling their online presence on social media, you can’t seem to grasp why you aren’t getting the exposure you are seeking.

Don’t panic. Today we would like to share with you our professional views on the two strategies, along with 5 insider tips to boost your business through cost-effective marketing.

Indeed, digital media is alluring. The age of social media and mobile technology has arrived, and we are no longer satisfied by reaching the national audience via print, TV and radio. With investment on social media, search engine optimization, and analytics tools, marketing becomes more visible, beginner-friendly, and traceable. By simply clicking and modifying the dashboards on your screen, you are now able to advertise to a broader and international audience with the click of a button.

However, digital advertising is expensive, and what’s worse, your success can be copied easily. If we look back at our old friend, traditional PR, there are some strong reasons why it’s been mainstream for so many years.

Traditional PR focuses on making the brand more credible and authentic, instead of fake and popular. Getting a 3rd party endorsement from a media outlet can never be purchased, and neither does customers’ trust.

Furthermore, anyone can copy you but only you have the legacy of your brand. Though it cannot produce glamorous numbers overnight, PR is the only marketing tool that can protect your reputation and maintain an active relationship with the press.

Thirdly, we covet the huge audience base digital advertising can dig into, but we often forget that media outlets can also reach hundreds, thousands, or even millions of readers and viewers – much more than you may be able to afford to reach through its advertising counterpart.

Lastly, compared to the digital version of advertising, a Neuroscience study shows that traditional PR, especially hard-copy marketing, is more digestible and memorable for the audience. In a research sponsored by Canada Post and performed by Canadian neuro-marketing firm TrueImpact,

“Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media (5.15 vs. 6.37), suggesting that it is both easier to understand and more memorable…… When asked to cite the brand (company name) of an advertisement they had just seen, recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to a direct mail piece (75%) than a digital ad (44%).”

Overall, we truly believe that digital advertising and PR are never life-or-death rivals. If you are on a lean budget, you may want to spend it wisely, and taking both sides’ pros and cons into consideration. Here are 5 marketing tips from us.

1)    Digital advertising and PR should work hand-in-hand. In fact, according to our years of industrial experience, we notice that the two strategies are never incompatible, but complementary. One gives local believability while another amplifies border-free sensation.

2)    Don’t steal from your PR budget to counter the enormous expense of paid advertising. Every penny should count for your business, and it’s wiser to separate the risks by building a strategic marketing mix.

3)    Whether it’s online or offline marketing, do your research before you reach out. Know who you are approaching – journalists, influencers, celebrities, outlets, etc. and then connect them with their interests and get on their radar. You are not just selling your product; you are selling yourself.

4)    Don’t write 1,000 words when 300 will do. Be concise and tailored. Who doesn’t prefer a short and sweet piece with their name on it?

5)    Finally, don’t be put off. Digital advertising cannot guarantee 100% success, just like there is a lot of rejection in traditional . But with a thick skin and a strong mind, you can make it eventually.


Bold & Pop