Traditional Marketing versus Digital Marketing

In the debate between traditional marketing versus digital marketing, opinions can be heated. Experts and influencers in both camps proclaim the “death” of one or more marketing channels on a regular basis, making it hard to know which is best for your business.

Is conventional marketing the way to go, or should you be upgrading to a completely online strategy? Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each method to determine the best channels for reaching your target audience.


Pros and Cons of Traditional Marketing

Firstly, here are some benefits of traditional marketing. When you want to reach a wide audience, traditional marketing gets the job done. Mediums like television, radio, magazines, newspapers and direct mail have been used for decades to bring branded advertising messages to customers as they go about their daily routines.

Because the strategies span so many different channels, it’s hard to pin down one traditional marketing definition. Think of it as using any “tried and true” method to connect with customers. Traditional ads are highly visible and accessible to a broad range of consumers, and your audience can’t “click away” like they could online. These ads also have staying power, making them beneficial as part of a long-term strategy.

However, tracking the effectiveness of print ads is often difficult. Feedback comes slowly, so it could be weeks or even months before you know your cost per lead and the relative amount of profit generated by an ad campaign. You also run the risk of missing your target market in the attempt to bring your brand’s message to a varied audience.


Drawbacks and Benefits of Digital Advertising

Marketing campaigns conducted via social media, email, pay-per-click ads, text messaging and other digital platforms are easier to track and provide faster feedback than traditional methods. When you put your message out through these channels, you open the door for two-way conversations with customers. Their reactions to your marketing messages arrive in real time, and you can make immediate tweaks to improve the effectiveness and reach of your campaigns. These apparent advantages of digital marketing over traditional marketing can make campaigns easier to implement and brings your brand closer to your audience.

On the other hand, the fast pace and high turnover rate of the digital realm requires you to create far more content than traditional ads like flyers or brochures. Your content is always in danger of being overwhelmed by the messages of competitors, and the algorithms dictating visibility on social networks are constantly changing. Plus, if customers don’t like your messages or your products, their negative feedback can damage the reputation of your brand and threaten relationships with your target audience.


Deciding Between Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing

From traditional marketing to digital marketing, all successful advertising campaigns begin with a solid knowledge of your target audience. The age range, shopping habits and media preferences of the people to whom you’re marketing should dictate where you spend the majority of your ad budget. However, because today’s consumers have a habit of switching seamlessly between traditional and digital channels, the best approach is to create a balance between the two with a blended advertising strategy.

Test different digital vs traditional channels, such as sending out a direct mail postcard campaign with a call-to-action directing recipients to your website or delivering a coupon usable at your physical location via SMS. A mix of strategies allows you to reach both a wide range of potential customers and targeted segments of your audience. Adopting this approach means you don’t have to choose exclusively between traditional marketing versus digital marketing to generate leads and expand your reach.

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