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Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: What Makes Them So Different?

Estimated reading time: 5 min

The modern marketing executive needs to consider a lot when creating the perfect marketing mix. One of the things to consider is whether to focus more energy on traditional or digital marketing. Some companies would benefit more from one type than they would from another. But, why are these two types of marketing considered separately? What’s the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and how does it change your marketing mix?

Defining the Types of Marketing

In order to compare two different things, we need to understand what those things mean individually. Here are the definitions of digital and traditional marketing:

  • Digital

Digital marketing is any type of marketing using digital means. This is an ever-expanding category as technology grows and evolves. It includes channels like social media, websites, search engine marketing, online advertisement, and more.

  • Traditional

Traditional marketing makes use of non-digital channels to reach customers. It usually includes all forms of tangible and physical marketing (business cards, posters, billboards, etc.), word of mouth, radio commercials, and more. Television ads are generally considered part of traditional marketing, even though they do make use of a digital channel in today’s world.

How to Compare Digital and Traditional Marketing

You can’t directly compare one to the other and say that either digital or traditional marketing is better. Instead, you have to look at so

traditional-marketing-vs-digital

Traditional-marketing-vs-Digital

me of the individual aspects of each and how it would benefit or hinder your business. We’re going to look at some of the strengths and weaknesses of each type of marketing in relation to a few key areas:

  1. Metrics

Every type of marketing needs to produce measurable results. While both types of marketing do ultimately provide data and measurable metrics, digital marketing can provide those metrics in real time. This means you won’t have to wait for a whole month to find out a new ad isn’t working well, and you can make more instantaneous changes.

On the other hand, some companies don’t properly define their goals with digital marketing campaigns, leading to vague, qualitative results rather than quantifiable data. It is generally easier to find qualitative data from traditional marketing even without much experience.

  1. Effectiveness

No type of marketing is more effective than the other 100% of the time. But, you need to choose the right type of marketing for your demographics, business type, industry, etc. For example, businesses whose main customer base is aged above 30 years should probably not focus on social media marketing on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat. These channels would not be ideal for reaching their target audience, so they just wouldn’t be as effective as traditional marketing.

All marketing mixes should be determined by specific details about your business. You should never assume one type of marketing will work for every business. There are some marketing elements that are useful for most businesses, such as useful websites, but they can’t be universally proclaimed as the best way to do marketing! To be effective, a marketing mix must target a specific business audience.

  1. ROI

In general, digital marketing campaigns are less costly than traditional marketing. This doesn’t necessarily yield a higher ROI, though the low cost is usually attractive to businesses. Just like anything else, digital marketing must be done right in order to give a high ROI. In most cases, a solid digital marketing campaign can actually give better results dollar for dollar.

digital-vs-traditional

digital-vs-traditional

  1. Customer Reach

In terms of who your marketing efforts can reach, digital marketing has a clear advantage. Not only can you reach a wide range of people, but you can also choose to reach out to a very narrow group of carefully selected people. In today’s only advertising market, you can put your ads only in front of select groups of people with specific browsing or purchasing habits. This gives you the choice to be hyper-selective and can produce a much better ROI.

Traditional marketing still holds a slight advantage when it comes to local marketing. It is simpler to get the word out about your business locally using some fairly inexpensive forms of traditional marketing. Digital marketing can be targeted to a local area, but it must be done precisely to be effective, whereas traditional marketing can easily be locally focused and may be more difficult to use for a wider reach.  In addition, the rise of marketing automation and buyer’s journey allows you to grow your reach for new potential customers.

  1. Longevity

Traditional marketing campaigns that use tangible materials have the distinct advantage of longevity over digital marketing campaigns. People will sometimes hold onto business cards, flyers, and other physical items for days, months, or even years. It is difficult for people to keep hold of any digital marketing products, even though things like emails can be saved indefinitely in an online inbox.

Hard copies can be particularly effective at keeping a business in the view of the customer, which has some psychological benefits for the company itself. It can also lead to greater brand recall benefits long after the campaign is over. Digital marketing ends the moment the campaign is over, and it is immensely difficult to keep in the view of the customer afterward.

digital-marketing

digital-marketing

  1. Customer Interaction

Traditional marketing struggles to create engagement and interaction with customers. It is generally a way to broadcast information, but it often fails to bring in new information about your customers. This is a strength of digital marketing, as it’s much easier to create a direct interaction with people at any time.

A good example is social media, which can be used to directly communicate with any number of customers instantly and for free. By responding to comments, answering questions, and otherwise communicating you can address customer service issues directly, create greater confidence in your brand, and inspire customers to make purchases they may have been questioning before.

Both digital and traditional marketing have their strengths, but elements of both should be considered for the strongest marketing mix. You shouldn’t simply ignore one altogether and embrace the other, as this may not lead to the best marketing strategy for your business. Focus on what will work best for your business specifically without trying too hard to be everything to everyone.

 

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