Traditional Marketing Vs Digital Marketing

Traditional Versus Digital Marketing – Which Is Better?

Traditional Marketing

Traditional Marketing is any offline series of promotions that provide consumers with a one on one experience with a brand.

Standard examples of traditional marketing are:

  • TV Commercials
  • Print Advertising (magazines, newspapers, coupon books, billboards) 
  • Direct mail (postcards, brochures, letters, fliers)
  • Promotional Items
  • Referrals (Word of Mouth)
  • Radio

Traditional marketing strategies have existed for several decades now paving the way for Digital Marketing or Online Marketing. The only difference is the medium which is electronics now. Consumers might be, mostly saturated digitally, but, they are still familiar and influenced by traditional marketing techniques like Billboard ads and TV commercials.

As per statistics, 96% of the US families own a Television which is a large percentage to target through enticing commercials.
One of the advantages of traditional marketing is that it has a huge appeal among all generations (Gen Z, Baby Boomers, Millennials OR GenX).

However, it’s also no secret that Millennials and Gen X hate ads considering it to be intrusive and would rather surf the internet, watch videos and browse social media without seeing too many ads.

Apart from Television even, Flyers, brochures, and business cards are a great way to market traditionally. It works because there’s an element of consent when you offer someone a promotional brochure enabling a warm face-to-face interaction which is an effective way to convert rates and deliver an interpersonal sales pitching.

Memorable Traditional Marketing Campaigns

  • McDonald’s: “You deserve a break today”
  • Nike: “Just Do It”
  • Coca-Cola: “The pause that refreshes”
  • Volkswagen: “Think Small”

Digital Marketing VS Traditional Marketing

Wide Reach

Billions of people are on the internet ranging from Baby Boomers to Gen X, traditional marketing can be a good fit for the local market, but there has been a massive shift towards digital in 2020.

Source: SmartInsights

Also, online marketing gives the benefit of reaching a wide range of consumers and more importantly reaching consumers who are sure about how (Product or Service) they want to spend their money.

Also, the internet is filled with success stories of startups that became wildly successful over a very small period, thanks to the wide reach of digital marketing.

Low Cost

Marketing and advertising costs are one of the biggest financial obstacles for any organization. It could be a no-risk factor for big businesses but certainly an obstacle for small ones. Television Advertising is the most expensive form of marketing, the prices are dependent on time slots and programming content. For example, a 30-second commercial during Super Bowl 2012 was around $3.5 million, excluding production cost.

For a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising, you can develop a more impactful digital marketing strategy. These strategies can consolidate email marketing or social media marketing that are relatively inexpensive and cost-effective to get you started.

High Return on Investment

Businesses spend money on marketing with two intentions first, creating a brand value and Second, Getting something back in terms of Engagements or Investment. If we consider the business model of any business, the basic rule is to get back more than you spent. Digital marketing is, no doubt a very cost-effective way to give back high return on investments.

SEO, for example, is more of a long-term vision with much greater returns on investments if you prioritize it as a starting strategy. While it can cost several $1000 to do so, the top searches on Google receive most of the traffic.

Easy to Measure:

Another benefit of digital marketing is that you can immediately track the progress and do not have to wait months to see the performance of ads. There are countless online tools allowing businesses to measure their marketing campaign websites, analytics, SEO, etc.

Digital Marketing Tools
Source: SmartInsights

Easy to Adjust:

In addition to the Ease of Measure, it also helps in understanding if one needs to invest more on a campaign or needs to adjust some entities that might work.
On the other hand, Traditional Marketing requires a load of paperwork, and if you want to make changes or worse end the campaign, you will have to wait until the agreement is over so that you can pull them entirely.

Brand Development:

Digital Platforms are comparatively reliable to promote and establish brands. A well-developed website with good usability, quality content, and mobile-friendliness could build a brand beyond measures.

Easy to Share:

Digital Marketing creates a good multiplier effect due to its sharing across the internet.

Sharing in SMM
Source: IconFinder

Precise Targeting:

There is a very famous technique in traditional marketing known as “Spray and Pray”. It means spreading a campaign among as many people as possible “Spray” and hoping “Pray” that some of them become buyers. This technique lacks relevance and usually has low returns. Whereas in Digital Marketing campaign is made keeping in mind a smaller audience. It is highly relevant to high returns.


Segmentation is again a cost-effective marketing strategy which breaks down large customer groups into smaller ones based on specific classifications. For example, an e-commerce retailer who has created a line of men clothing can choose to target just men. Also, if a promotion is created keeping in mind a certain region or location even that is possible.

Buyer's Persona
Source: DreamsTime

Greater Engagement

Digital marketing campaigns are more interactive in contrast to traditional ones. It’s more interactive nature gives it an upper hand in converting more leads. Ensuring that engagements are thoroughly answered queries about the products, services or brands.

Joint Marketing Efforts (Digital and Traditional)

Pairing Billboards with Geo-targeted Ads:

Digital Billboards
Source: ChartLocal

Combining Magazine and Digital Ads:

Source: MarketingExperiments

Taking Out a Newspaper Ad:


Newspapers advertisements have become way more inexpensive with the sections getting thinner and thinner lately. However, some people still prefer reading newspapers.

Utilizing Television and Streaming Ads:

Video Streaming Media
Source: EntrepreneurResources

According to MPAA, video streaming media like Vimeo and Hulu has taken over cable subscriptions as a platform.


We might have shifted more towards digital marketing in today’s world, but the core idea remains the same. The infamous 4 P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Digital Marketing focuses more on the promotion “P”, but it leverages other P’s uniquely.

4 P's of Marketing

A little differently compared to traditional marketing. Traditional Marketing is an expensive investment and has a greater appeal with well-established brands with massive offline audiences like Vogue. Digital Marketing has proven to be a saviour for small businesses that are still trying to make an impression on their audience. However, new or old businesses power of digital is leveraging the power of marketing funnel.

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