Sorry Gary Vee, this time I must disagree.

Why “digital only” is not always the best answer for regional companies.

Let me start by admitting I follow Gary Vee and watch many of his videos. He’s a consummate professional with his own unique opinions and style. He’s raw, real and at times a bit over the top but I, like thousands of others watch, listen and learn. And, there’s no denying his success. Kudos Gary Vee!

With that said, I must disagree with his often over stated opinion that if you don’t go digital all the way, you really didn’t come to play! Once again, I have no argument that nearly every company, no matter its size needs to be invested in the digital realm.

However, excluding certain sectors of business, putting all your efforts into digital is like going to the roulette table and putting your entire salary on #13. It may pay and if it does, it pays big! However, what are the odds it pays out more often than bust? About the same as going all digital, not very often.

One consideration that must come into play, is the product and the audience. If I’m speaking to a nursing home client, the criteria and audience will be significantly different than if I’m speaking to a hard seltzer client. There are simply too many factors if buying properly just to make a sweeping statement.

Traditional advertising may not be as prevalent as it has been in the past but it’s not gasping for air as many believe. Yes, it has more competition since the creation of digital, mobile and AI but to be giving it last rights, seems a bit premature. It’s not dead and isn’t in need of a motorcade. These companies have the resources to invest, invent and purchase strategic tech companies to reposition their companies into better versions of themselves. Companies like Lamar and Comcast are not going anywhere. And, do you know why? Because of local and regional clients.

In addition, regional companies often customize their message and brand specific to every individual market if they believe it’s to their advantage, while national companies are at a disadvantage in this arena. Since they maybe introducing a new brand or opening a new market, traditional media if purchased correctly, can have a big impact on their media campaign. Local TV stations, Out of Home and radio are very local mediums made to speak directly to the local consumers.

And, over lapping them often pays the biggest dividends. Obviously, the product and its core audience are key determining factors on which media to utilize and which not to use.
However, digital is an already over crowded space riddled with fraud, and uncertainty, with more money being invested into it every day. While they are working to improve these concerns, imagine as more money is poured into this space how costly it will become to rise above the newer improved noise. Does anyone else see the problem with this?

These gigantic tech companies keep altering algorithms, limiting your exposure, your voice and cranking up their usership, all the while telling everyone they are going to need to spend more if they want better results. In the end they are the noise perpetuators and instead of limiting it, they are increasing it for their own bottom lines. A smart business decision for them but not necessarily something every company should buy into completely.

I’m not suggesting you dismiss digital, mobile or AI. I’m suggesting that before any decision is made that regional companies know their product, their competition and their target audience before they assume that digital fixes everything that ails them.
They need to know where their national and local competitors advertise, their message, and the distinguishing factors between their products before they determine their best media course of action.

Remember you must entertain your existent consumers to keep the lights on and then determine how to attract those you need for future growth. I call it the “haves” and the “wants”. Typically for most businesses the audiences and media methods of both will vary considerably.

Digital plays a roll but so will other media mediums, so to vastly broad brush a canvas isn’t any way for a regional company to win.

Author: Frank Gussoni

President & Founder of A3 media. We're Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.