Understanding the Differences Between Traditional and Digital Marketing

Understanding the Differences Between Traditional and Digital Marketing

Before the internet grew to the powerful tool it is today, companies used traditional forms of advertising. This included TV, radio, billboards, flyers, direct mail, magazines, newspapers, and promotional events.

Digital marketing has been growing in importance since the ’90s; this is when the internet first became popular. It involves social media, influencer marketing, blogging, email marketing, and customer relationship marketing. More marketers are starting to favor it over traditional marketing.

Soon, most marketing budgets will concentrate on digital marketing. Read on for more information on traditional vs digital marketing and how you can use both to sell your product or service.

Cost of Marketing

Marketing is the process of creating and building relationships with clientele. The goal is to sell more of your products and services. Public relations and advertising are the two main ways in which companies market their products.

Traditional methods of marketing can be very costly, especially if you want to have a wide reach. For example, a TV ad would have to be aired several times over a long period to ensure that enough people in your target market have watched it.

The same goes for other forms of traditional marketing, such as billboards and print media. A considerable investment has to be made to ensure the campaign lasts long enough to get results.

But digital marketing can be cheap. Some forms of marketing (such as email marketing and blogging) are completely free. You’d only need to pay a copywriter to write your advertisement for you.

Other forms of promotion (like banner advertisements on websites or pay per click posters on webpages) are much less expensive than traditional forms of advertising.

Geographical Reach

One main advantage that digital marketing has over traditional marketing is its global potential. Digital marketing can reach anyone in the world, as long as they have an internet connection. Traditional marketing, on the other hand, is generally limited to a specific geographic area.

A billboard, for example, can only be seen by people who visit the area it’s been erected. Fliers are usually handed out to people in a particular area and TV advertisements are also only seen in a certain country.

Companies can use the limited reach of traditional marketing to their advantage. They can do so through better geographical targeting.

Gear your advertisements towards people from a certain country or a certain town. Do this without alienating clients from other areas. Consider that they may not understand the inside jokes or content.


With traditional marketing, it’s harder for your message to reach your specific target market. You cannot control who watches a TV ad or sees a billboard. Because of advanced analytics, digital marketing can be very targeted.

For example, emails could be sent only to the people who have shown interest in engaging with your brand. Website ads are usually tailored to specific people based on their internet history. The targeted nature of digital marketing ensures that you get maximum returns on any money spent on marketing.

Tracking and Analytics

With traditional marketing, it’s hard to know the exact effect of your marketing and your return on investment. For instance, if you pay for a TV advertisement, you may find that sales increased by a certain percentage after the advertisement aired.

The increase in sales could be due to the advertisement or may be caused by a different factor altogether. This could be a change in weather, leading to more people needing your product.

Your website can track how many of those people purchased your product. This allows you to know the return on investment on your marketing.

With digital advertising, you can easily change a digital marketing campaign and ads to increase sales. Traditional marketing is harder to change during a campaign. If a company somehow discovers that an advertisement is not working, it’ll take some time to design a new advertisement to replace it.

Customer Engagement

One disadvantage of traditional marketing is the lack of engagement between the company and its clientele. A billboard is put up and the clients look at it but are unable to communicate their response back to the company.

This is very different from digital media. If a company puts up an advertisement on its social media page, there will be a response from its followers online. Some may comment on whether or not they’re interested in the product offering and others may give feedback on their experience with the product.

This form of customer engagement allows the company to improve their products or services if they need to. Additionally, they know how well their marketing is working through the relationships they’ve built with their online audience.

Providing Value in Marketing

Modern marketing makes it easier to provide value for your customers. When it comes to advertising, it’s much easier to create quality content through digital advertising that traditional marketing.

Blogging allows a company to provide valuable information that may improve its clients’ lives. Social media is a great source of entertainment for many clients.

Traditional media, on the other hand, is expensive, so it can be hard to provide value as often. Some companies try to produce entertaining and educational advertisements. In general, traditional marketing gives less value than digital marketing.

Traditional vs Digital Marketing – The Best of Both Worlds

Traditional and digital marketing both have their strengths and weaknesses. To have a successful campaign, it’s important to know your target market and where they spend most of their time.

For certain products and services, traditional vs digital marketing would be enough. For others, one may need to do a combination of both traditional and digital marketing. Both forms of marketing are important for marketers to understand and use.