Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing


With the traditional vs. digital marketing debate happening, allow us to find out what’s best suited for the marketing and promotion of your business. Online advertising vs. traditional advertising could appear to be a troublesome decision to form but these pointers will assist you structure your mind.

What is Traditional Marketing?

Traditional marketing encompasses the marketing methods that can be used without the internet. These are the methods that have been around for decades and are typically used less often now. However, they’re not without their strengths.

Common traditional market methods include:

  • Directly mailed postcards, coupons, and informational packets
  • Television or radio commercials
  • Newspaper or magazine ads
  • Billboards and fliers
  • Telephone calls and text notifications

We see and hear many of these ads every day just by listening to the radio on the way to work or even looking out the window at the billboards as we go by. They’ve become a part of daily life.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing strategies evolve quickly due to trends and new technology. These strategies include those that require the use of the internet or smartphones. They haven’t been around as long as traditional methods, but they certainly pack a punch.

Common digital marketing methods include:

  • Website content
  • Email campaigns
  • Content marketing
  • Social media posts
  • Clickable ads
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)

These strategies are very popular today because of consumers’ frequent usage of the internet and mobile devices. According to Statista, there are 4.54 billion active internet users in the world and 3.8 billion active social media users. With numbers that prime, marketing online and thru social media makes tons of sense.

Advantages of Digital Marketing

  • Data and audience involvement can be tracked instantly. When someone clicks on a link to your site, reads an email, or follows you on social media, you have that information immediately.
  • You can draw numerous insights from this data, including which sort of content works best for a selected audience, which mediums are the foremost effective, and even what time of day receives the best engagement.
  • Digital marketing strategies incur a much lower cost. Sending out an email campaign can save a lot of money compared to printing individual postcards and paying for postage on each.
  • It works well for more global or scattered audiences due to the broad scope of digital marketing.

Disadvantages of Digital Marketing

  • Some internet users have ad blockers, so they’ll never see pop-ups or banner ads. Other times, ads can be skipped or removed if a user pays for premium services (e.g., Spotify, Hulu, Twitch).
  • Because new technology and trends emerge so frequently, digital marketing tactics need to be evaluated and reevaluated for effectiveness continually what works well one day may be irrelevant the next. However, this will be combatted with regular training in digital marketing strategies.

Advantages of Traditional Marketing

When comparing traditional marketing vs. digital marketing, traditional methods are often viewed as outdated or irrelevant. However, many of these tactics are still useful and effective today.

Depending on the business and audience, traditional marketing methods could also be the higher choice. To help discern if traditional marketing is right for your business, here are some pros and cons.

  • If you would like to succeed in an older demographic, traditional marketing is often very effective. According to GlobeNewswire, audiences ages 50+ spend almost twice as much time reading the newspaper and watching TV as compared to those ages 21-34.
  • This type of marketing strategy usually works best for businesses looking to build a larger local audience. A small business would be better off competing for attention through billboards, flyers, and events rather than trying to compete for digital space against larger businesses.
  • TV or radio commercials will play multiple times and remind the audience of the business, whereas digital marketing items could also be skipped through or blocked (e.g., clicking “I don’t want to ascertain this” on social media ads, or skipping through ads before YouTube videos).

Disadvantages of Traditional Marketing

  • Printing postcards to send out even to just a local audience can be expensive, and there is no guarantee that the recipient is interested in your business or the product/service you offer.
  • Traditional marketing techniques can take weeks or months to yield results and information. You can’t tell when someone has read your newspaper ad unless they decide to follow-up. Even then, without a survey, you won’t know if the ad was the reason for the follow-up.

Which is Better?

Digital marketing is perhaps the simplest option for many . If you want to reach a particular group of people, wherever they may be, while keeping costs low, go with digital marketing. Doing so will also allow you to collect valuable information on your audience immediately so that you can create even more effective marketing campaigns.
If you would like to succeed in an older audience or an area audience, traditional marketing methods could also be more productive and stand out better than digital marketing methods. Though these methods may seem “old,” the reality is that they’ve stuck around for a reason. They work!

When considering which marketing strategy is best for your business, consider your audience, where they get their information from, and use that to make your decision. When deciding between traditional marketing vs. digital marketing, it’s not necessarily true that one is simply better than the other as they serve different purposes. The bottom line is that you need to fully understand your business and your audience to pick the strategy that’s better for you.

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