Digital marketing vs. traditional marketing; it’s a long and ongoing battle. This ultimately leads to the question of which marketing type can meet your business needs. When trying to choose between traditional and digital marketing, why not consider both of these marketing methods? In this post, we will first provide an overview of both traditional and digital marketing, their benefits and methods, and then clarify the main differences between the two marketing types.
Table of Contents
What & Why of Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing involves any marketing method that is not online and does not require the Internet to run. This includes printed marketing materials, direct mail, mass media, telephone, and outdoor advertising such as billboards. This type of marketing, from newspaper to radio, helps to find the target market through offline media.
Traditional marketing plays a significant role in attracting native and local audiences. Physical ads can last a long time and be still helpful. Furthermore, there may be audiences with no access to the Internet, or simply reluctant to use digital gadgets; thus, reaching them through traditional marketing is much easier than online marketing.
Common Traditional Marketing Methods
Traditional marketing helps marketers identify their target audience and the location of their advertising through offline media. People see, hear, and engage with advertisements with no need for the Internet. Offline ads can be divided into the following categories:
- Print Media Advertising (magazines, newspapers, leaflets, flyers, brochures, etc.)
- Broadcast Media Advertising (TV, radio, etc.)
- Direct Mail Advertising (catalogs, postcards, etc.)
- Telephone Advertising (telemarketing, SMS marketing, etc.)
- Out-of-Home Advertising (billboards, lightboxes, etc.)
Key Benefits of Traditional Marketing
Simplicity: Since the majority of society is already exposed to traditional marketing, they can understand the advertising message more easily.
Local Reach: Traditional advertising methods, like advertising on local radio or distributing print ads specific to each neighborhood, can be more effective in attracting local audiences.
Durability: Most traditional marketing methods, such as print ads, can be stored for years. It allows the target audience to keep and refer to them whenever they need it.
What & Why of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing involves a set of marketing methods using the Internet. For instance, social media marketing, email marketing, PPC marketing, in-app advertising, etc. are several digital marketing methods. These efforts are aimed at giving business owners more access to their target audience and providing a measurable, cost-effective advertising service to marketers.
People today use the Internet to do everything, from the simplest everyday tasks to banking. This underscores the importance of digital marketing for businesses. It is now very common for consumers to research the product or service they need online, before buying it. For instance, each of us may have searched the web during the week to find a good restaurant to order food, discover affordable kitchen utensils, or the address of a doctor.
Common Digital Marketing Methods
A variety of categories are proposed for digital marketing in different sources. These methods include a broad range of techniques and are mainly divided into the following categories:
- Content Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Pay-Per-Click Marketing (PPC)
- Email Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- Web Marketing
- In-App Marketing
Key Benefits of Digital Marketing
Instant monitoring is one of the most valuable advantages digital marketing offers. Analytics tools are getting more sophisticated every day, allowing marketers to optimize their marketing campaigns. Marketers can use a variety of digital advertising tools and platforms to instantly monitor their campaigns, analyze their users’ behavior and demographics, and manage their marketing efforts. Most digital platforms, ad networks, and social media websites provide accurate analytical parameters.
With digital marketing, you can easily create a simple Call-to-Action (CTA) to direct your customers to your website, Instagram page, telegram channel, or wherever customers can interact with your business. Customers can easily communicate with businesses through social media and websites, which are two-way communication platforms. Direct instantaneous customer feedback enables businesses to better identify the target audience and their pain points. This helps them direct their business and marketing strategy toward increasing customer satisfaction.
Data from analytics services allow businesses to easily target the audience they aim to attract. In addition, automation tools and software facilitate the implementation of marketing plans on a larger scale. Customer segmentation is another benefit of advanced automation. It enables a business to personalize its marketing methods for different groups of customers.
Lower Cost & Higher ROI
The Return on Investment (ROI) rate has a higher priority for marketers and business owners than other parameters. Digital marketing reduces a significant portion of the marketing cost and labor by eliminating some of the traditional marketing processes, leading to a higher ROI.
Digital Word of Mouth
Of all the marketing practices worldwide, none can be as effective as a satisfied customer. Positive comments posted online on a business website or social media will encourage other online users to make a purchase. Users rely on people’s true opinions, as they trust their family and friends’ purchase experiences in the offline world.
Differences of Digital Marketing and Traditional Marketing
There is a wide variety of opinions regarding the distinction between digital and traditional marketing. Here is the clarification of these differences from specific perspectives.
In traditional advertising, it is not possible to accurately track the results, but digital marketing provides marketers with the data needed to measure campaign results and calculate ROI. Therefore, marketers can simply modify and optimize their campaigns whenever they need. With TV and radio ads, the only data you get is the estimated number of audiences for that marketing channel; while in digital advertising, you can find out the exact number of the people who have seen, clicked, or engaged with the ad. You can understand the reason for your failure or success, identify the best audience channels, and dedicate most of your marketing budget to them.
Users who are exposed to digital ads can easily engage with them and become more familiar with a brand; they can also dig into the features of a product or service before making a purchase. However, the audience cannot react specifically after facing an offline ad, even if it is well noticed. They may be attracted at the moment but distracted over time. Proper online advertising can always be before the eyes of the audience, whether it’s on the app, website, or social media.
Traditional marketing is much more expensive than digital marketing. A brand has to spend a fortune to afford advertising on a popular TV channel or a billboard on a busy street. Besides, it can’t even make sure if it reached the target audience or not. In contrast, digital multi-channel campaigns may cost equal to or even lower than a television advertising campaign.
Smart targeting allows your real potential customer to notice your ad. But traditional ads are displayed publicly and you can never make sure your target audience noticed the ad. The best marketing results are achieved when the right audience is exposed to the relevant content at the right time and through the best channel. Digital marketing, with its data-driven nature, enables marketers to target the right audience and tailor their marketing efforts to their customers’ needs and characteristics.
Traditional ads can no longer be modified once they are printed, published, or broadcast; however, digital ads are easily viable to change. Today, advertising content has a huge impact on a product or service’s sales. Suppose you have published an ad in a magazine or printed a thousand copies of a business catalog. Can you change or edit even a single word? Obviously not! Modifying traditional advertising is so costly, but in digital marketing, A/B testing provides the best way to refine and tailor customized content for users.
Digital marketing is only effective if the user is online. Therefore, the customers’ access to the Internet is a prerequisite to digital advertising. In any society, there may be a fraction of people who do not have access to the Internet or simply unwilling to interact with the online world. But most citizens are in daily contact with offline advertising (TV, radio, newspapers, billboards, etc.). Moreover, sometimes a problem may occur to a digital platform or channel, stopping advertising campaigns and causing troubles for businesses.
Traditional advertising is geographically limited. With most traditional marketing methods, you can only reach a specific geographical area and a local audience. Conversely, thanks to the Internet, digital marketing helps you move beyond borders and reach a global audience.
Digital Marketing or Traditional Marketing?
Traditional advertising methods have gained more diversity over the years, but their scope of effectiveness has not changed. Digital marketing, on the other hand, is getting more sophisticated using new technologies; and over time, it is acquiring more and more credibility among marketers and business owners. A close look into the marketing developments reveals that online marketing has grown significantly as an effective tool in the hands of most mass marketers.
The increasing use of the Internet and smart devices has made digital marketing a necessity for most businesses. Recently, 50% of marketers acknowledged that digital marketing has a greater competitive advantage than traditional marketing. It contributes more to customer engagement and nurturing. Businesses can use digital marketing techniques to have complete control over their target audience and advertising campaigns. As an inbound marketing method, it eases the burden of looking for the audience. With effective inbound marketing, customers will ultimately find your business as a solution to their problem.
Nonetheless, digital marketing has its drawbacks. It is immensely technology-dependent and technology can sometimes run into problems. Besides, the pace of change in digital marketing is very high. To be updated, marketers have to go through changes, which require constant consideration and lots of time and energy. However, to make the best choice, you need to think about your business, your strategy, your goals, and your target audience. Do not think that you should always choose one over the other. The key is to strike a balance between both for making the most out of each marketing method.
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