Attack of the Zombie Marketing Channels! 4 Declared-Dead Tactics That Are Still Going Strong [Infographic]

As new digital devices and platforms spark fresh ways for brands to engage consumers, many long-time marketing channels have lost their luster.

But some of these traditional approaches refuse to rest in peace in the Graveyard of Tactics Past. Like an army of the undead, they remain undeterred and as powerful as ever.

So, which formats keep marching on? What are these fearful zombie marketing channels?


To find out which time-tested approaches remain terrifyingly effective, take a look at the overview below as well as MDG’s new infographic, Attack of the Zombie Marketing Channels!: 4 Declared-Dead Tactics That Are Still Going Strong.

1. Radio
Radio has been declared dead since the advent of television, but it refuses to relinquish its grip on consumers. Well into the twenty-first century, the medium continues to be remarkably popular.

  • 271 million Americans age 6+ listen to radio each week

Radio still has the greatest reach of any any channel/device in the United States…

Share of American Adults Reached Each Week

  • Radio: 93%
  • Television: 89%
  • Smartphones: 83%
  • Desktop PCs: 50%

…and radio’s audience continues to grow.

Audience Size of Frequent Radio Listeners

  • 2017: 125.4 million adults
  • 2016: 124.7 million adults
  • 2015: 124.8 million adults

Despite ghastly predictions of its demise, radio remains one of the best ways for marketers to reach a large and diverse audience of Americans.

2. Email
Email is the ultimate survivor among digital marketing approaches. The channel has been around for almost as long as the Internet and it continues to be among the most widely utilized tactics.

  • 93% of B2B marketers use email newsletters to distribute content
  • 89% of B2C marketers use email newsletters to distribute content

This popularity is rooted in a simple truth: email continues to deliver results for brands.

  • 91% of marketers say email is essential to their content marketing success

Why is email so effective? Because it is both widely used and widely liked by consumers.

  • 88% of U.S. consumers check their email daily

How Consumers Want to Be Contacted by Brands

  • Email: 61%
  • Direct Mail: 18%
  • Mobile App: 6%
  • Social Media: 5%
  • Text Message: 5%
  • Phone Call: 4%

Moreover, it isn’t just popular with older consumers—73% of Millennials prefer to hear from brands via email. This is why marketers of all types will continue to haunt inboxes with messages for years to come.

3. Billboards and Posters
Are billboards and posters—those ghostly historic formats that conjure up sepia-toned childhood visions—resting on their deathbeds? Hardly. These out-of-home (OHH) ads are as potent as ever.

  • OOH advertising is a $29 billion global market and is forecasted to grow by 3%+ per year for the next five years

Out-of-home ads continue to succeed largely because they break through the noise…

  • 51% of U.S. consumers have noticed a poster/billboard in the past month
  • 38% have noticed a poster/billboard in the past week.

These advertisements are especially noticed by younger consumers…

  • 71% of U.S. consumers ages 25–34 recall seeing a poster/billboard in the past month

…and they have high recall/engagement.

  • 50% of consumers who notice billboards/posters look closely at the messages
  • 47% of consumers can recall the message of a specific local billboard/poster

Out-of-home advertising is especially effective among traditional channels in spurring consumers to take digital actions.

Online Search Activations Sparked by Media Spend

  • Out-of-home: 381 actions per spend unit
  • Radio: 159 actions
  • Newspapers/magazines: 109 actions
  • Television: 54 actions

This effectiveness is largely due to consumers seeing most OOH ads while out and about with smartphones. Ironically, this mature medium complements emerging-device behavior perfectly.

4. Word-of-Mouth
Word-of-mouth is as old as marketing itself. Of all the approaches, it’s the most time-worn and seemingly outdated. Yet, like other traditional tactics, it’s thriving in the days of digital.

The foundation of this continued effectiveness is trust:

  • 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know over direct advertising

The power of word-of-mouth can be seen clearly with local marketing:

How Small Businesses Rank Tactics for Acquiring Local Customers

  • Word-of-mouth referrals
  • Online advertising
  • Radio advertising
  • Direct mailings
  • Newspaper advertising

Word-of-mouth is also especially effective in influencing costly purchases, such as B2B buying:

B2B Lead Conversion Rate by Marketing Channel

  • Referrals from customers and employees
  • Website leads
  • Social media leads
  • Paid search leads

Of course, word-of-mouth marketing is very different today from years ago. For younger consumers in particular, it’s now largely web and social media-based.

That trend applies to each of these marketing channels. They’ve maintained their power not by staying static, but by evolving with the times. That’s why they remain effective today and are likely to continue to remain undead long into the future.

To find out more, check out the full infographic, Attack of the Zombie Marketing Channels!: 4 Declared-Dead Tactics That Are Still Going Strong.

MDG 48853 Zombie Channels Infographic 241017 FINAL


MDG, a full-service advertising agency with offices in Boca Raton and New York, NY, is one of Florida’s top branding firms. MDG’s capabilities include print advertising, direct mail marketing, branding, logo design, creative, media buying and planning, radio and TV advertising, outdoor, newspaper, digital marketing, website design and development, online video advertising, infographic development, email marketing, video marketing, mobile marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, paid search marketing, and SEO. To learn about the latest trends in advertising and branding, contact MDG today at 561-338-7797 or visit