TV or Digital, Which Marketing Strategy to Opt For?

The dilemma marketers face during the pandemic

Advertisers are rushing to adapt their marketing strategy to fit the changes occurring in the TV landscape. Among various advertising media available, television is still a part of the marketing landscape. Surveys say 62% of people in the US still watch TV and subscribe to satellite services. At the same time, streaming services have taken the lead. The social media platforms are also planning their networks to cater to a fast-growing audience.

The question on every marketer’s mind is where they can go from here. In the face of changing consumer landscape, advertisers aren’t sure of how to transition from TV over to digital.

The Covid 19 pandemic has exacerbated this dilemma more. It is because all of us are working from home and consuming even more digital services than before.

Doug Stephens from the Retail Prophet blog site has mentioned something along similar lines in his podcast. He said that the COVID 19 is ‘like a wormhole in space that we’re all passing through’. According to Doug the pandemic is pushing humanity to move into, or adopt the digital age, leaving behind all remnants of the industrial revolution in the past.

It was very clear to businesses that they had to adapt their TV marketing strategy to this new digital reality.  

Television being the most popular media of advertisement before the advent of digital media | Image Source:

What consumers are thinking now

During the pandemic, the work-from-home requirement has made people and companies realize that it is possible to maintain productivity and ideal work culture via remote offices. It has created new trends in how consumers live and their buying behavior.

For example, some people are looking to living in suburban areas to raise their families and enjoy a better quality of life. There are no worries about taking longer commutes to work as they can work remotely. 

This altered way of life will affect retail patterns and marketing strategy; younger consumers focus onexperiences over buying tangible goods.

A similar thought process is being seen in the pandemic and how consumers respond to it emotionally. We are adopting new technologies at an accelerated rate. And we have even ushered in new technologies for data collection and mobile payments that don’t involve contact.   

The digital shifts in digital marketing strategy

Marketers are attempting to find a balance between digital and TV. They are aware that the strategic approaches to be taken have to be unique each time. And that there are several things they need to consider when deciding on how to move forward.

For example, TV is still a viable marketing reach channel as it has a good number of viewers. It is however declining very slowly as viewers discover and begin using online streaming services. So, marketers won’t be abandoning advertising on TV. But, instead will broaden their reach by considering digital channels other than just TV in their marketing strategy.

However, they could lose out on opportunities by overlooking digital or devoting a bigger portion of their budget to TV.

Companies are now migrating their traditional ad spend from TV to digital | Image Source:

Who is the new target audience?

The new trend shows that companies are now migrating their traditional ad spend from TV to digital. The Digital marketing strategy migration is a risky, bumpy ride. Some companies even lack the skill required for familiarizing themselves with changes in viewing trends and the resultant advertising needs. This has created a new demand for personnel who have immense digital and technical knowledge, who understand how to modify a TV marketing strategy.

30% of an organization’s marketing professionals are aware of the immense opportunity behind consumers who consume content via devices over a TV set. 70% of organizations aren’t too confident about moving their TV marketing strategy over to digital.

Harvard Business Review Analytic Services study

The answer to making this transition an easier one lies in having enough markets who have this digital know-how. Without the appropriate research data there will be no clearly defined route to follow. Thus the skilled personnel most organizations risk their Digital marketing strategy campaigns.

Blending marketing strategies

The debate that most companies have over how to budget their marketing capital today is never-ending. It is tough for them to determine how to split their total ad spend – should it be spending on TV or on digital?

The correct answer, and the approach that seems to work best, is to spend on both. This is because your brand is more visible when you combine multiple channels to reach out to the target audience.

A recent Advertising Research Foundation study showed that approaching your marketing strategy using this two-fold approach increases the ROI by 35% – and it includes TV as well.

At the same time, the attention of consumers today is divided between digital devices and TV. One can reach the target demographics via TV. But they can even be reached via the other devices they watch as well.

The age of the TV is not yet over. Marketers now require a blended marketing strategy.   

Two-thirds of individuals aged between 18 to 54 are picking up another device during TV commercials.

case study from the Advertising Research Foundation

The attention span of the average consumer is divided across multiple screens, especially in the pandemic era. In fact, online ads are even more action-oriented. They can distract consumers away from the standard ads seen on TV. 


So, that’s all the more reason to shift over to a blended Digital marketing strategy. But establishing the right mix of traditional and digital media comes first. Doing so creates opportunities for incremental growth and suits many demographics. The idea isn’t to divert consumer attention away from TV towards digital channels. The idea is to advertise to, and measure the reaction of consumers who are already viewing those screens. 

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