Chris Graham: Online and traditional advertising

money-newlinksA student in a Building the Machine marketing class that I was teaching recently was surprised to learn that I had anything positive to say about traditional forms of advertising.

I figured that when I signed up for this class, I’d learn everything I wanted to know and more about Internet marketing, and that you’d tell me to forget about TV, radio and print, the student said.

This was after I went into great detail about the marketing plan that we’ve put in place for a sister company, Top Rope Pro Wrestling, which is putting on a megaevent at the Virginia Horse Center in January.

In addition to building a website (that in a month has built up a 3/10 Google PageRank) and a Facebook page (now over 2,300 fans), and jumpstarting Google and Facebook ad campaigns, and taking advantage of YouTube to throw some videos out there to try to entice fans, and …

(Yes, we’re doing a lot online.)

Engaging email lists of fans, pro-wrestling news reporters and editors and potential sponsors …

We’ve also done a significant amount of traditional advertising. A $3,000 TV ad campaign through Comcast targeting pro-wrestling fans in Harrisonburg, Staunton/Waynesboro, Lexington/Rockbridge and Roanoke. Radio ads covering those areas and also Charlottesville and Lynchburg. Newspaper ads in our home market in Waynesboro. Flyers and posters distributed in that broad, broad market area.

Internet marketing still can’t replace the traditional. That’s our strong feeling – that rather than weighing the merits of one against the other, you have to treat the two basically as equals.

For Top Rope Pro Wrestling, everything that we do points to two things – the date, time and location of the show, and the website that features numerous well-placed reminders on how easy it is to buy tickets online.

For your business, be it retail or service, your advertising – online and traditional – needs to do the same thing, that is, educate people about who you are and what you do.

Depending on the nature of your business, you can make sales or book appointments directly online – meaning also directly from any online advertising that you might be doing to try to get people to you. And if you don’t get a direct sale or appointment, you can at least get an online visitor to become more knowledgeable about what you have to offer, either in terms of products or services, so that they can be enticed to visit you in person or call to get more information.

Traditional advertising is a little harder to work in that respect – a person seeing an ad on TV or in print and hears it on the radio has to then go to your website, to the phone or to your bricks-and-mortar location to make the right connection – but its advantage is what it has always been. TV, print and radio are still near-ubiquitous in terms of presence and impact on our daily lives, TV more so today, print and radio less so, but still playing important roles, both.

Smart traditional advertising campaigns will do what our Top Rope Pro Wrestling ads are doing – inform people of the physical location of a store or, in our case, an event, and give them details on how they can find out more online.

It’s really not an either/or. You have to do a little of both – online and traditional marketing – to be successful in your effort to reach eyeballs and push sales.

Chris Graham is the president and CEO of Augusta Free Press LLC, a web- and graphic-design and marketing-consulting business based in Waynesboro, Va. Online at

augusta free press news
augusta free press news