Traditional Advertising Is The Bedrock of Digital Advertising

Traditional Advertising Is The Bedrock of Digital Advertising

Today the rise of digital marketing and advertising platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google are gaining rapid popularity, and digital marketing experts are saying that Facebook advertising is no longer an option but a necessity for businesses.


However, have we stopped for a moment to think as to where did all these digital advertising platforms attain the ‘knowledge of advertising’ to incorporate into their platforms, and who has helped them do it?


The people who helped Facebook and the rest to develop their digital advertising platforms are very much the seasoned advertising professionals from traditional advertising agencies.


How is it possible for a bunch of young programmers to attain advertising knowledge that is ancient, suddenly, all because they have a website?


We can never successfully teach anything to anyone without first explaining the ‘root’ or the history of a subject for a good comprehension of any subject.


This suddenly makes anyone who does not have the fundamental advertising knowledge unqualified to teach digital advertising and marketing because he or she lacks this foundation knowledge. From a seed, a tree grows. Not from the leaves. Advertising knowledge is this seed.




95% of Malaysians still shop offline, says statistics. Now if we do not learn advertising fundamentals, how are we going to target our communication to the 95% of our buyers who are buying offline?


Reports state that Malaysians are yet to trust online purchase fully, and that we will only see this change in 2025. Can an online seller survive that long without sales?


Isn’t this a good time to learn advertising properly? I mean the basics and fundamentals, then use the knowledge for traditional and digital advertising purposes, especially if you are selling in Malaysia as people still prefer to buy offline.


The thing is, marketing and advertising knowledge do not come automatically with a ‘channel’ to advertise a product or service such as these social media platforms. The proof is in the title itself, – “Social Media”.




“Media” is merely a “channel” to execute or express a marketing objective of a company, brand or product. Simply put, Media is a loudspeaker, and anyone can use a loudspeaker. But what shall we ‘say’ through this loudspeaker? This is where Traditional or Theoretical Marketing and Advertising knowledge come in handy.


There is no difference between any form of media – they all aim to reach an ideal target audience to sell our products. But to decide what that goal or objective and message of the company or brand wishes to communicate to the masses is, “Marketing”. To “execute” this marketing objective in the most tasteful and creative way that appeals to an identified target audience is, “Advertising”.






So, this is where and why, advertising and marketing knowledge is required, and not a “media channel” (initially).


The media channel is separate from the knowledge of advertising, and usually comes last in an advertising campaign, not first. This is how it typically works.


In fact, at an advertising agency, there is usually a brainstorm session among the marketing personnel and the creative personnel to first of all, identify and develop a marketing strategy and message. A good tagline usually gets a whole campaign started. This is the most important part of promoting any product or service.


In this session the USP (Unique Selling Proposition), or what is the one unique thing in our product or service that is not available in our competitors’, is identified. Then the job of advertising is to find the most creative and meaningful way to express that USP to a defined target audience. And then the most appropriate “media” is considered to reach our Target Audience. Media selection is done after the other considerations.


Today, this same process of marketing and advertising considerations are available in the control panel of all social media or digital advertising platforms. I can tell you this because I have worked in advertising.




But how would one effectively use these wonderful advertising channels if one did not have any marketing or advertising background or knowledge?


How can one acquire the fundamental principles of advertising before deciding if in fact, to use digital or traditional advertising, or a combination of both to reach one’s target audience? (Since 95% of Malaysians still shop offline).


The School Of Digital Advertising (SODA) was formed on this very realisation that because social media advertising is available to everybody, does it mean that everybody is an advertising expert?


I am writing this article after 25 years of advertising experience and I ask; can you write, design, and publish a newspaper advertisement by yourself? Are you able to write a script, create a jingle for your TV or radio commercial, or shoot a professional video, and select the time that your advertisement will be aired on a selection of TV and radio channels, by yourself?


For ages, companies and brands have appointed advertising agencies to carry out this task. Why didn’t they do it by themselves if it was so easy?


Traditional advertising is the bedrock of digital advertising. It is never about the “media” per se, which is the last consideration in any advertising campaign. It is always only about Marketing and Advertising strategies, along with clever and good creatives, headlines, and copy that sell – this is Advertising. It is about communication, not the convenience of buttons on a website with a cheap rate card.


Never make the mistake between ‘advertising’ and ‘media’; they are two different components that survive on each other. Media cannot live without advertising, or is redundant if advertising did not exist. If there are no ads, there won’t be a need for media.


However, if there is no media, advertisements will be stuck on walls and trees, as media (as we see the “Lori Sewa” ads on trees in Malaysia) ­– it will survive.


Media cannot live without advertising, and advertising has the power to create new media. We have to clearly understand the difference between these two and not get confused.




The School Of Digital Advertising specialises in, and celebrates Digital Advertising without forgetting the mother that gave birth to it – Traditional Advertising. We teach advertising principles and applications for all media to provide an all rounded experience and knowledge to participants.


Our aim is to make ‘advertising agencies’ out of individuals. Some of our courses will teach you how to write and design a digital advertisement as the Copywriting Course, and then there are other one-day courses that will teach you how to write Content for Websites, Blog Articles, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and Search Engine Optimised (SEO) Copy that shall help your Content rank high on Search Engines to attract sales, as the Content Writing Course. We are also the only school that specialises in writing subjects, such as, the Copywriting & Content Writing Course for Companies, and presenting our very own Creative Digital Marketing Course (also known as, “Full-Stack” Digital Marketing Course)Trainers from The School Of Digital Advertising are able to hold In-House Company Training at the clients’ offices anywhere in Malaysia and overseas.


When you learn with us, you will be earning A Wealth of Knowledge from seasoned advertising professionals who know advertising principles, and are also apt at Digital Marketing.


After all, don’t forget, the internet as a whole, was invented by a man who was born in the analog era. Similarly, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, both from the analog world, made digital products that appealed to the young. The founder of Instagram, the favourite social media platform among the young, is not young. Although sales and marketing channels may have gone digital, people are still analog, and we prefer the “human touch” – the analog way. Most searches and enquiries for products and services happen online, but the sales still takes place offline, in Malaysia. Because we are yet to trust ecommerce fully (according to research).


Finally, Traditional Marketing & Advertising will always be the backbone or foundation of Digital Marketing & Digital Advertising, and no tradition can be killed so easily.


All these modern digital stuff have taken root from something traditional. And what are we, without our traditions?


Joy Nandy

The School Of Digital Advertising


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