Traditional advertising is dead. Or at the very least it’s on life support. The market that advertisers target has splintered into a hundred different mediums.

In the 1950’s you could reach 80% of the population simply by advertising on the three main networks. Today ABC, CBS, and NBC together only reach a fraction of that. Imagine today if you wanted to reach 80% of the population. You would have to advertise on the four major networks, plus ESPN, Lifetime, CNN, USA, AMC, and even then you wouldn’t be close to that number.

And the way people watch television has changed. People used to gather around the television set as it was their main source of entertainment at home. Most families had just one set, so the family as a whole watch shows together. When does that happen anymore? Most families have numerous TV and each family member has their own viewing habits. Most aren’t even focused on the TV. They are watching a show, but they’re also updating their Facebook status, reading emails, or playing Farmville.

Newspaper has also lost its values. Subscriptions are down dramatically and the number of newspapers across the country is about half of what it used to be. In the past papers were delivered in the afternoon and people would sit down to read them as this was their main source of news. Today, we get the paper in the morning and read it over breakfast or on the commute to work. We skim the paper and then discard it. When a major new story happens there are no special editions. People simply turn into CNN or go online to find out the latest information.

Radio and billboard are still a way to reach people, but they are limiting. People must not only drive by your billboard, but they must have an active interest in what you’re offering. If you’re a Realtor, then just a small portion of those driving by are even likely in need of one. Likewise an insurance ad is only likely to resonate if their policy is due for renewal. Radio does a little better in that it can be timed to certain times of the day. Thus the majority of ads seem to be car related or food services.

Telemarketing used to disrupt our lives as you easily count on getting half dozen phone calls a night. Usually it seemed when everyone is about to sit down to eat. Luckily federal regulations put an end to the majority of this. And even then how effective was this form of advertising.

Now all of this isn’t new to many people in the internet marketing industry. In fact, if they’re reading this they’d likely scoff and say that this is old news. Entire books have been written about the subject. And yet, people in the business world still don’t seem to have received the message. The majority of their dollars is still tied into traditional advertising.

One only has to look at your local auto dealers and real state agencies. Even though searches for cars and homes are often two of the main searches in every community they still invest heavily in newspaper ads and billboards. Just imagine how many people they’d reach with that 10,000 they spend each month on a single billboard.

If you’re advertising dollars are limited, then look closely at how you’re using them. Almost every industry is better of focusing on the Internet instead of any other medium. After all you can connect with people actively looking for products and services in your area. These can be people passing outside your building or people thousands of miles away looking to travel to your area. If you’re tired of having glossy ads no one is responding to, then contact me to develop an online marketing strategy.