Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing

Marketing is an essential part of any good business plan. Without marketing, most businesses would just be sitting in a dimly lit room, staring at their phones, hoping and praying that someone would call them up. But no one will call, because no one knows that they exist. Marketing brings business to businesses.

Every business should use marketing, there’s no doubt about that, but how should you go about it? Should you embrace the future and focus entirely on digital marketing? Maybe you think that digital marketing is a fleeting fad, and you want to stick with newspaper ads and billboards. What’s the best way to market your business?

There are different sects of marketing loyalists. You have those who think that the only type of marketing that matters is digital marketing, and that only a dinosaur would buy an ad on the radio. Then you have the diehard traditionalists, who are uncomfortable with digital marketing and feel overwhelmed when they think about it.

Traditional marketing vs. digital marketing

Really, both digital marketing and traditional marketing can benefit a company, and the great thing about marketing is you don’t have to pick one or the other. In fact, online marketing and traditional marketing can work together.

A post-pandemic study shows that the average respondent intends to put half of their marketing budget towards digital marketing. That means that most of the companies in the study use traditional marketing as well as digital marketing.

What are the benefits of digital marketing?

Digital marketing gives you an incredible amount of reach that traditional marketing can’t.

A recent survey conducted by Pew Research showed that 90% of U.S. adults use the Internet. While your online effort isn’t going to reach all 90% of adults in the United States, it will reach more people than a billboard on the side of the road. Major studies also show that people intentionally avoid TV ads and don’t trust any traditional ads as much as they trust brand websites, online reviews, and editorial content (like articles). Not only do more people see content marketing, but they also trust it more than advertising.

Finally, online content is much more likely to reach people when they are actually receptive to your message — because they’re looking for it.

So why do people still use traditional marketing?

Comfort is a big part of it. Companies that have been using TV and print for decades don’t want to give up something they understand and have seen work for something they don’t understand. The numbers cited above aren’t going to be completely convincing to someone who has spent his whole career focusing on TV ads. That’s especially true if he doesn’t use the internet much, doesn’t know how digital marketing works, and isn’t sure where to start. Sticking with traditional marketing seems safer.

KPIs are also part of the question. A magazine or newspaper or TV show has a certain circulation, and their sales team presents that as the number of people who actually see an ad. That’s not exactly true, but marketing directors are used to it. Online figures are much more measurable, but they’re also often smaller than the numbers marketers are used to seeing. Maybe only 321 of the magazine’s 323,000,000 subscribers actually read an entire ad, but marketers don’t know that. Seeing that 321 people read a blog post yesterday is deeply disappointing if you really believe that 323,000,000 people read your ad. Harmonizing the KPIs for online and traditional marketing must be done if you’re trying to compare the ROI of online and offline marketing efforts.

Prestige is not always top of mind as part of the marketing mix, but many companies feel that their TV ad makes them look more impressive and more solid than a mere website or Google ads campaign can. They can put a sign up on their wall saying, “As seen in Glamour!” because they bought that super-pricey magazine ad, and people talk about hearing their radio ad or seeing their TV spot in a way that they don’t talk about seeing their Facebook posts.

Mesh the two

If you’re going to use traditional ads, for any of these reasons, back them up with your online marketing. An email blast after a traditional direct mail campaign can increase its ROI by 50%. Putting your TV ad on your website can double its reach — and promoting it with social media (assuming it was designed with that in mind) can spread the word even more. You can also use QR codes, URLs, and social media references in your print and broadcast ads.

If you have limited resources, digital marketing is the smarter option. People are still reading magazines, though, and they’re watching TV. Not as much as they used to, but traditional media is not dead. Yet. Work on savvy ways to use both, and you’ll get more out of both. It doesn’t really have to be a question of traditional marketing vs. digital marketing. Just be sure to start with a clear strategy.






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