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An overview of traditional marketing strategies that are still effective for generating leads & business

In this day and age of digital marketing, it’s quite common for business owners & marketing managers to ditch traditional marketing strategies. But there’s still a place at the table for traditional marketing strategies. The challenge is to know when and how to deploy traditional marketing as part of an overall marketing mix.

A Laundry List of Traditional Marketing Strategies

Let’s start with looking at what actually constitutes traditional marketing, and then I’ll cover the pros & cons.

Traditional Marketing Strategy 1: ADVERTISING

Traditional Marketing Strategies | DeWinter Marketing & PR – DenverPrint advertising is the traditional marketing strategy with the most longevity. As soon as the Guttenberg press was invented in 1440, it allowed for the printing of books and flyers. Advertising soon followed.


  • Can provide big bold, colorful messages in newspapers, magazines & billboards.
  • Can be tied to performance tracking with toll-free phone numbers, QR codes & website addresses.
  • Can be highly targeted to an audience reading a specific publication.
  • Can reach older audiences who are not as tech-savvy.


  • Advertising is typically expensive & requires an up-front investment that’s larger than digital advertising.
  • Can be “shot-gun” (not targeted) especially in the case of billboards.

Traditional Marketing Strategy 2: COUPONS

Traditional Marketing Strategies | DeWinter Marketing & PR – DenverCoupons are such an effective strategy for spurring purchases that digital marketing offers these as well. Offers and calls to action can include:

  • A time-limited discount
  • A “spiff” or giveaway offered with the purchase of another item
  • A freebie offer
  • A BOGO offer (Buy one, get one free or at a discounted rate)…and more


  • Coupons can be highly targeted to a geographic area, or a specific demographic
  • Printed coupons (vs. digital) are effective for older audiences who are not as comfortable with technology


  • Printed coupons have to be printed, and that adds an extra cost.*
  • Printed coupons also require some form of distribution (mailing or hand-delivering), and that includes an additional cost.

*Note: With today’s Internet-based printing & mailing services, quality color printing is dirt cheap, and these online printers can also handle labeling & mailing.

Traditional Marketing Strategy 3: DIRECT MAIL

Traditional Marketing Strategies | DeWinter Marketing & PR – DenverDirect mail campaigns using postcards can still be quite effective, especially when tied to a special offer. Items in an envelope that have to be opened often end up in the recycling bin. But a well-designed, over-sized postcard with a clear message, a clear call to action, and a clear promotion is still effective. That’s because there’s less competition of offers coming through the mail. More businesses rely on digital campaigns. So if you follow best practices for a direct mail postcard, you can actually have a good chance of reaching your target.


  • Less competition for a potential customer’s attention and action
  • Can be targeted by geographic area, income levels, and other specific demographics


  • Additional costs are incurred because of printing, list purchases & mailing costs.*

*Again, today’s online printers can produce postcards in a variety of sizes, as well as mailing services.

Traditional Marketing Strategy 4: DOOR HANGERS

Traditional Marketing Strategies | DeWinter Marketing & PR – DenverDoor hangers are very much like direct mail postcards. If you follow best practices, they can still be quite effective. Door hangers must be produced in a format that can be hung on a doorknob where you SEE the message and promotional offer whether you want the message or not. Door hangers that are folded or rolled so you can’t immediately see the message will end up in the recycling bin and are a total waste of time and money.


  • Can be very targeted toward a specific neighborhood
  • Can be effective in driving business when best practices are followed


  • Additional costs are incurred because of printing and distribution expenses.

Traditional Marketing Strategy 5: NETWORKING CAMPAIGNS

Traditional Marketing Strategies | DeWinter Marketing & PR – DenverIn some businesses and industries, the most effective way to sell is through face-to-face marketing or through strategic alliances that put you in touch with prospective customers. Networking campaigns involve figuring out what people or organizations are in touch with your targeted customer. Once you’ve figured out your pitch, leave-behind materials, and list of folks or organizations with whom you can network, it’s a matter of contacting them, pitching them, and setting up meetings to network and refer business back and forth.


  • Effective for selling products or services that require face-to-face communication, or referrals


  • Can be time-consuming to set up
  • Takes time to generate leads

Traditional Marketing Strategy 6: TRADE SHOWS

Traditional Marketing Strategies | DeWinter Marketing & PR – DenverFor years, industry analysts have been saying that trade shows are a dying industry. Yet the shows keep going on, and people keep attending. No question, this is a pricey strategy. But if budgets permit, taking your sales team on the road, along with a trade show booth, can actually be effective. Why? At trade shows tied to a specific industry or theme, there’s a huge concentration of prospects that come together in one place. Even with the costs of travel, food, trade show, and registration costs, trade shows can be an effective way to reach a lot of prospective customers in a short period of time.


  • Your target audience of prospects are in one place in high concentrations
  • Allows for face-to-face communication and in-person product demonstrations


  • It’s expensive. You’ll be paying for booth space, rental or purchase of a trade show booth, travel expenses for staff, and hidden costs like electrical power for the booth, WiFi hook-ups, loading and unloading the truck carrying the booth, storing booth crates during the show, and more.

While many forego traditional marketing strategies and opt just for digital marketing, there are still many circumstances that merit integrating traditional marketing into your marketing mix.

Courtney DeWinter is the president & founder of Denver-based DeWinter Marketing & PR in Denver, Colorado. She is a marketing & PR consultant with 25+ years of experience in branding, marketing, public relations, websites & journalism.

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