Skip to main content
Imagine That, Inc

Digital vs. Traditional Marketing: The Right Mix

Traditional marketing is not dead by any means. In fact, until magazines, newspapers and television go by the wayside, traditional marketing is here to stay – albeit with some changes. But, the rising popularity of digital marketing has forced traditional marketing avenues to take notice and combine practices. Though digital marketing has advantages over traditional marketing, you should be fully aware of the marketing strategies and possible results of both before adopting a marketing plan.

Both traditional and digital practices share similar goals – attracting qualified customers and building brand awareness in your market. The right mix of digital and traditional marketing is better than the sum of its parts. Some businesses think of digital and traditional marketing as being at odds with each other, but in fact they can complement each other to meet your goals and get the best possible results.

Of course, working for a digital marketing agency, I am somewhat biased to the benefits of digital marketing. But, some traditional practices still have their place so don’t completely ignore the benefits. However, for the purposes of this post, here is a list of reasons why digital marketing trumps its predecessor.

Comparison of Traditional Marketing with Digital Marketing

  • Digital marketing is a very economical and fast way to promote your service/product/brand compared to the more expensive and time-consuming process of traditional marketing. A well-executed digital marketing strategy, for a reasonable monthly investment, can help your business level the playing field and compete against larger competitors. Often, a television campaign is outside the budget of most small businesses, and even a hard copy brochure printing can be pricey. Digital marketing scales … you can do as little or as much as you want to meet your budget.

  • On the Internet, most of the time people can choose what to look at. Traditional marketing is usually forced upon someone – through your screen, mail or radio – which might not put people in the right mood to buy. Digital marketing is typically non-intrusive. Online, people have the choice to opt in or out of communications, and often it is relevant because they were the ones searching for it in the first place.

  • Digital marketing has the ability to go viral. Using social media shares enables your message to be shared incredibly quickly.

  • Online is measurable. It’s not easy to know how many people heard your radio spots or read your newspaper ad, but you can find out exactly how many times your digital marketing messages were displayed and clicked, which web pages they visited and how long they stayed on your website. Not only is measuring the success of your digital campaign easy, you can get real time results and have the ability to modify the campaign to get the desired results.

  • Digital is very useful for obtaining worldwide visibility in a much easier manner than traditional. But, it is also possible to tailor a digital campaign to reach a local audience only.

  • 24/7, year-round exposure with digital marketing which is not possible using traditional methods. You can reach an infinite audience.

  • Return on investment (ROI) in a very short period with digital marketing.

  • Interactivity with traditional practices is obviously absent. You are throwing information in front of people and hoping that they decide to take action. Digital utilizes social channels to increase engagement and interactivity. There can be plenty of direct contact between the audience and the business resulting in some very valuable feedback opportunities.

  • You won’t find a better medium for building relationships with customers than through digital marketing. Traditional marketing is typically done one way. Digital marketing is a two-way street where the audience can contact you with messages, email and comments (social media). Using digital medium, you can interact with your customers on a personal level. Building relationships with your customers is very important, especially if you want customer loyalty.

  • Traditional marketing offers a tangible product for your potential customer to hold and look at, and can reach people who don’t use the Internet or social media. But, the number of worldwide Internet users in 2014 is a whopping 2.92 billion of the 7.17 billion people in the world today.

  • You can target digital marketing. With a mail or television campaign, it’s difficult to target people who are actually interested in your business – meaning your message falls on a lot of deaf ears. Digital marketing lets you start up a conversation with the people who actually care about your products/services.

In Conclusion:

Even though traditional marketing still has its place in your marketing mix, it is diminishing in our digitally based world. For today’s businesses, it is imperative to have a website and to use this technology as a means to interact with their consumer base. But, instead of thinking the decision is an “either-or” situation, you should look to capitalize on the strengths of both online and traditional marketing. It is important to note that, although the communication channels and monitoring methods may differ, marketing is marketing regardless of whether it happens online or not. Marketers still need to think up great ways to market their products/services, and time and effort has to be invested into turning those ideas into workable plans. With the lines between digital and traditional marketing becoming more blurred as TV and radio (and many other “old fashioned” forms of communication) continues to evolve to meet the demands of their users, you must adapt your marketing practices to this new era.

By no means am I saying to rid yourselves of those business cards or newspaper ads, but just realize that you must grasp some (or all) of the above concepts as we move forward in this technological age. No longer is it acceptable to just utilize traditional methods … integrating digital marketing practices into the mix will reap huge benefits in the long run.