In another in the loose series of posts examining whether traditional media is in fact ‘dead’ as people often seem to say, today, Darren Leach comments specifically about Billboards


Why Billboards and (Some) Traditional Marketing Strategies Aren’t Dead

Recently we have begun to see a shift in the field of marketing. Many traditional marketing techniques such as interruption marketing have been steadily decreasing in effectiveness as audiences continue to find new ways to ignore these attempts by marketers to reach them. As marketers battle for the attention of an increasingly distracted audience, traditional marketing staples like billboards have suffered. This has led to the rise of inbound and content marketing as a new means of reaching people. While inbound marketing has proven to be a useful marketing strategy that can do some things traditional marketing techniques can’t, there are ways that traditional marketing techniques, such as billboards, can still be used successfully.

Rise of Content Marketing

The rise of content marketing is what has led many people to declare that traditional marketing strategies are dead. This is because content marketing has proven itself as a viable and effective marketing strategy.

Inbound marketing practices typically provide some sort of value to the audience or customer, which allows the company implementing the strategy to better connect with their audience in a much more personal way than that of traditional means. By providing this value to customers, businesses can also increase brand loyalty. While the results of these types of campaigns can be impressive, it is a mistake to associate the rise of inbound marketing with the demise of traditional marketing.

Traditional Marketing Isn’t Dead

Although we are seeing an increase in spending on content marketing, this does not mean traditional marketing is dead. While things like DVRs make it possible to skip TV ads and iPods detract from radio listening, neither of these devices have “killed” their respective industries as radio and television spending remains high. Rather, some of these traditional marketing mediums are simply changing. For example, many newspapers have successfully implemented digital portions of their paper to counteract losses in print readership. Another traditional marketing platform that can be adapted effectively is billboard advertising.

Why Billboards Aren’t Dead

Billboards are one of the oldest advertising mediums in around as the first billboards started appearing as early as the late 1800s. Billboards have been around for a very long time and if they are used correctly they can still be effective today. Gone are the days of the plain and rectangular roadside billboard, as these types of billboards can be ignored as easily as the traditional marketing tactics mentioned above. However, there are ways that marketers can get value out of billboards.

The key to successful billboard marketing is using it to supplement your other campaigns. This means including hashtags to support a Twitter campaign, directing people to a Facebook page, or simply including a direct URL as these will all drive valuable traffic to online campaigns and fortify social media marketing. It is even possible to strengthen a content marketing campaign through the use of billboards as they can extend the reach of the campaign and reinforce it in people’s minds.

Another reason billboards still have a bright future in marketing is the continuing development of augmented reality. As this technology continues to progress, it will provide an entirely new way to reach an audience and billboards, and outdoor advertising in general, lend themselves well to its application.

Marketers continue to find ways to utilize billboards effectively and the integration of billboards and developing augmented reality technology looks promising. Although content marketing appears in many ways to be the future of marketing, there are still some traditional marketing techniques that can be used in conjunction with it successfully. Rather than declaring all traditional marketing practices to be dead, marketers can adapt these traditional practices to use them in new and useful ways.

Darren Leach is a veteran media planner who specializes in billboard advertising. Visit for more information on billboard marketing and outdoor advertising.

And, not like I need any excuse to feature great advertising, but check these out!




For lots more of the same see brilliant graphics website 

2 replies
  1. Gareth Daniel
    Gareth Daniel says:

    Hello Darren, Hello Tony, hope you are well!
    I agree to a certain extent with some of the points you raise in this post but I think Billboard advertising can play a much larger and more important role in advertising campaigns than what you suggest. They are very rarely used to their potential (which is sad, maybe even lazy marketing) but the important aspect I think is the concept! There are some great examples out there where the billboard has been the star of the show and has actually been the content for a successful viral campaign, or the cause of a hashtag frenzy. Take the #Scribebillboard campaign in Mexico City for instance. Most of the really good billboard examples which I have come across have relied on little or no technology.
    I recently wrote a blog post on billboard advertising and I hope you don’t mind me leaving a link here Tony?

    I think you will find that the billboard campaigns highlighted in the post really do connect strongly with their intended communities and that the emotions they elicit are way and above what a regular single content marketing post could achieve. These examples obviously blur the lines between traditional and modern day advertising techniques and of-course the social media share factor is what made them work so well, but they are all primarily a billboard advertisement.

    For me it’s all about a great concept, which can make great content, which could include any type of media, social space or institution etc
    I would like to pose the question – Is it possible for the rise in content marketing to stimulate a rebirth in really good billboard advertising?

    I hope so, because I believe they can be one of the most creative and powerful media platforms we have, they just need to be used well.
    Thanks again Tony for eliciting a passionate response from me 🙂

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