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7 Traditional Marketing Ideas to Get Attention in Manhattan

7 Traditional Marketing Ideas to Get Attention in Manhattan

Traditional marketing still offers tremendous value for brands in any industry. In a city like Manhattan, it pays to pursue a variety of marketing channels to reach audiences in different ways, and traditional marketing can neatly complement a digital marketing strategy. Here we’ll explore some options for you to consider.

The place for traditional marketing

Digital might be the darling of the marketing scene, but it would be a mistake to neglect tried and trusted traditional marketing altogether. The internet may have changed the world, but there are some things it will never replace altogether. Traditional channels remain an effective way to reach local audiences and can deliver terrific ROI.

How is the Manhattan market different?

New Yorkers are often described as “hyperactive”, and Manhattan is the beating heart of the city that never sleeps. That means an endless supply of competitors in virtually every industry in a loud and fast-moving environment where ineffective marketing simply blends into the background noise. As the saying goes, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

But beyond that, New Yorkers also have something of a different mindset. Thrillist describes them as “a subdivision of the population, set apart by their tenacity, their brazenness, and their effortless sense of New York cool.” New Yorkers are known for forging their own path in life and for being self-made go-getters with discerning tastes and a don’t-take-no-for-an-answer attitude. They’re also known for having street smarts and a healthy degree of scepticism. Earning a place in their hearts starts with building brand awareness, and that’s where localized traditional marketing comes in.

Seven traditional marketing tactics for Manhattan


Manhattan is famous for its outdoor advertising scene. What would Times Square be without its billboards, after all? Out-of-home advertising (OOH) remains a great way to build brand recognition, and billboards in particular can really jump out from the landscape in bold and creative ways. Billboards offer enormous reach across a broad spectrum of consumers.

According to a recent Nielsen study, 62% of consumers noticed billboards within the month of the survey,  and 65% of them took some kind of action after seeing one of these ads – searching for the advertiser online, visiting their social media pages, or actually going to the store or restaurant.

Print Ads

Believe it or not, people do still read newspapers and magazines. In fact, print still has the lead on digital on some key metrics, and it presents an opportunity to overcome digital fatigue. PR Newswire reports that 82% of Americans trust print ads while online popups are only trusted by 25%. Research from BPIF shows that campaigns that included a print component are 67% more effective at bringing in new customers.

Street level OOH

Out-of-home advertising can also be effective on a much smaller scale, i.e. at street level. On Manhattan’s crowded streets foot traffic volumes are especially high, so ads placed on bus stops, walls or within subway stations enjoy enormous reach. Digital street-level OOH ads are more eye-catching than static images, and figures from Nielsen reveal that 49% of consumers surveyed had noticed street-level digital ads within the month of the survey, of which 69% took engaged in some kind of action after seeing such an ad.

SMS Marketing

Time is precious in a busy environment like Manhattan, so marketing that goes directly to mobile devices is an excellent option for reaching consumers who are forever on the go and don’t have time to take calls. Research shows that 9 out of 10 people prefer to receive communication from a business via text message rather than a call, making automated SMS marketing a good option to consider as a component in your campaign.

Leaflet Distribution

Handing out flyers remains an effective way to get your brand out there, whether directly or via door-drop mailing, especially for retail, FMCG brands, restaurants, and local services. The UK’s Direct Marketing Association found that 89% of consumers remembered ads received via door-drop mailing, and 45% kept leaflets they had received, although the average response rate was only around 1%. That means scale is the key, but due to the low cost of flyer distribution ROI is surprisingly high – up to 40%.


Television and radio may have declined in popularity compared to decades past, but they still have plenty of reach. Radio is an especially good option for reaching a local audience, such as consumers in and around Manhattan. According to Statista, in the first quarter of 2020, the average US consumer spent 99 minutes daily listening to the radio, and ad revenue amounts to nearly $12 billion annually across the country’s 15 445 radio stations.


Brands can tap into experiential advertising by participating in trade shows and conferences, or by hosting live shows (like music performances in Central Park), or community-oriented events such as a fun run. Depending on your products or services, you could look at clever ways to give consumers a first-hand, real-world experience of your brand – a highly effective means of advertising. Real experiences are more impactful and memorable than anything seen on a screen. In testament to that, Forbes reports that 98% of consumers feel more inclined to make a purchase after an in-person experience.


Consider your average Manhattan consumer, stuck in New York’s famous traffic or moving on foot through the busy streets. In that hustle and bustle, they’re likely to be listening to the radio, noticing billboards and posters, and attending local events. There are plenty of ways to reach them beyond digital channels, but when traditional and digital marketing meet, magic tends to happen. We can help you get the balance right, so get in touch with CODESM.

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