Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing: What's the Difference?

Team TeachWiki

If you are into digital marketing, you may be wondering if traditional marketing methods are effective in today and age.

The answer is: yes, but that doesn't mean that internet marketing is not effective. In fact, they can work well together. Let's take a closer look at the two different types of marketing and how they can be used to effectively reach your target audience.

In a world that is increasingly driven by digital marketing, it's easy to forget the importance of traditional marketing methods. While digital marketing is certainly more effective and easier to follow, there are some benefits to traditional marketing that cannot be ignored.

What is traditional marketing?

Traditional marketing is an approach where marketers identify their consumer and place ads where the consumer can see, hear or interact with them offline.

However, traditional marketing also has its drawbacks. First, it can be difficult to track the results of your traditional marketing campaigns, making it difficult to know if they are really effective.

In addition, traditional methods such as print and television advertising often require a significant upfront investment, which may not be feasible for small businesses or those on a budget.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing – any marketing that a company conducts on the Internet – such as paid social media advertising, email marketing and Pay per Click advertising, online mailing lists, influencer marketing and video marketing.

Digital marketing is beneficial in that it allows you to target a specific audience with laser precision. Plus, digital marketing is relatively accessible and easy to track, which means you can quickly adjust your strategy if you're not seeing the results you want. However, digital marketing has its drawbacks.

One of the main disadvantages is that it takes a significant amount of time and effort to create effective campaigns. Also, digital marketing can be very competitive; if you're not willing to spend the time and money it takes to stand out from the crowd, you might find it hard to get the results you want.

What are marketing channels?

Marketing channels are the various places where you promote your business and/or communicate with your target audience, both online and offline.

For example, a potential customer may see a print ad and go online to find out more. There, they can search for your company on Google, watch videos about your brand on YouTube, or explore your company on social media.

It's all part of an omnichannel marketing strategy that ensures you capture every potential customer in your sales funnel.

Types of Marketing Channels

Generally, most companies use two types of marketing channels:

  1. Traditional marketing channels
  2. Non-traditional marketing channels

Traditional marketing has not disappeared in the digital world. Today, cold calling is still a popular way to generate leads and cash. While the digital revolution continues, traditional marketing is far from dead and related businesses are thriving. Traditional marketing methods remain a powerful secret weapon for interactive, personal and expert marketing.

Below are examples of traditional marketing methods and channels:

Traditional Marketing Channels

  1. Handout
  2. A handout is printed material, such as a flyer or brochure, that advertises a company, event, or sale. You can use these flyers to inform your neighbors about your facility's promotional activities in public areas they frequent. Brochures, which can be handed out at events or when visiting clients, can contain information about the company or describe the benefits of a product. Potential customers can carry these handouts with them or save them for later use when they want to learn more about the company or product.

  3. Billboards
  4. To promote a business, brand, product, service, or campaign, billboard advertising is the use of large-scale digital or print advertising. Typically, billboards are installed in busy areas such as cities and highways. This condition does not complicate the perception of advertising; the audience quickly remembers the incoming information.

    Brand promotion through billboard advertising is successful. This is because it advertises your company (or product) to the widest possible audience. Given their location in such crowded areas, billboards typically receive the most views and impressions compared to other marketing tactics. Numerous variables can affect the price of billboard advertising. They consist of the location of the billboard, the total traffic in the area, and a rough estimate of the audience size for your ad.

    The ROI for billboard advertising can be lower than other types of content marketing. To that end, brand awareness is one of the most effective justifications for using billboard advertising.

  5. Direct mail
  6. Direct mail marketing involves sending printed materials, such as letters or postcards, to potential customers' addresses in your target location. In addition, direct mail can be sent to people who have expressed interest in the company or its products. Another alternative is to send direct mail products to people living near the business. These direct mail materials increase brand awareness and let customers know how close the business is to their home.

  7. Print Ads
  8. Print advertising allows you to reach more potential customers through channels such as newspapers or magazines. If you want to raise community awareness, advertising in newspapers can help others learn more about the company, its location, and products. Consider identifying which periodicals or reading materials your target demographic reads and placing your ads in those publications to reach more potential customers.

  9. Marketing of promotional events
  10. You can use event marketing to develop promotional materials to display at industry events such as seminars, conventions or conferences. To attract people and tell them about the company and its products, consider creating stands and larger materials such as signs or banners. Set up similar stands at other local events, such as fairs or festivals, to attract the attention of local residents. You can also participate in sponsorship programs to increase visibility and awareness of your business.

  11. Broadcasting
  12. Creating radio and television advertisements is another way to gain local or national exposure. You can create and sell unique advertisements that educate customers about your business and products. Hearing or seeing such commercials can interest listeners and viewers, encouraging them to get to know the company or contact you for more information.

  13. Cold calling
  14. Cold calls are a direct sales tool, or rather a way to attract the attention of a potential client to a company's product or service. The most important nuance is that a person does not wait for a call, he does not even suspect the existence of a company and in 99% of cases does not want to buy or order anything. In essence, the manager is trying to sell the product “head-on” to a cold client. How should a person react to an attempt at such contact? Naturally, it's cold.

    Imagine this situation: you are waiting for an important call, for example, from a customer or a furniture delivery service. In a word, “stay on the phone.” The bell rings, and you hear on the receiver: “Hello, you are concerned about the consultant of the luxury cosmetics store. You will certainly be interested in the fashionable novelties of the season - lipstick Emporio Armani, Fendi, hair dye, mascara and other trendy cosmetics. Would you like to visit our salon and get a discount?”

    You can predict your reaction with your eyes closed. 9 out of 10 times you will hang up in the middle of a manager's speech or say a heavy no. This is fine. First, the cold call distracts you from your business. Secondly, you are waiting for another important message. Thirdly, you may be a man.

    Despite the huge bounce rate, cold calling is ubiquitous. This is a universal tool for "warming up" the target audience in the B2B and B2C niches. In business, such a call is often used to identify the decision maker. There are even a number of “tricky” techniques for how to bypass the secretary during a conversation and reach the director or other responsible person.

  15. Product placement
  16. Product placement is a type of advertising in which a corporation actively promotes its product or brand through a television show, film, or other media. The idea is to create a subconscious connection between the product and the entertainment content so that viewers are more likely to buy the product. Product replacement is also known by some marketers as inline marketing, brand integration, or branded entertainment.

Digital marketing channels include:

Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing: What's the Difference?

The biggest difference between Internet Marketing and traditional marketing is that digital marketing focuses on marketing through digital platforms whereas traditional marketing focuses on marketing through old media.

Of course, traditional marketing doesn't mean it's old-fashioned. Traditional marketing still plays an important role in people's and businesses' lives as more and more people seek a break from the digital world.

The immersive experience of a powerful TV ad and the tactile feel of a magazine like Rolling Stone are just as important today as they were 20 years ago, as they leave a lasting impression on your memory. You subconsciously become emotionally attached to her brand, which means she's always on your mind.

Digital marketing is also important as traditional marketing, if not more so. Digital marketing uses everything you deal with on a daily basis on the internet to reach you.

If you google for vacation ideas for your next weekend getaway, there's a good chance you'll see a personalized ad from Sky Scanner shortly after.

For most people, using the internet for several hours a day is part of everyday life. Digital marketing uses this to its advantage by cleverly incorporating promotional messages across all digital channels.

Which form of marketing should you use?

The key to a great marketing campaign is finding the right balance between traditional and digital marketing. In 2020, digital marketing is the yin to the yang of traditional marketing. Both traditional and digital play an important role in a marketing strategy. Their effect is even greater when used in unison.

Take Guinness for example. Their commercials are notorious for their unique and powerful cinematography. 20 years later, Guinness' 1999 'Surfer' campaign is still one of the best commercials of all time . But despite this legendary status, Guinness needs to move with the times and incorporate digital marketing into its strategy lest they miss out on huge promotional opportunities.

To reach a wider and younger audience, Guinness recently broadened their marketing horizons by producing video content designed specifically for Facebook and Instagram. Rather than simply rebooting their TV spots, their campaign videos were tailored specifically for Facebook and Instagram, targeting the exact audience they had in mind.

The result was a visually stunning and impactful social media campaign about the Compton Cowboys and their love for their horses. Absolutely hip and shareable food for Instagram.

Let's take a close look at the differences between digital and traditional marketing and the pros and cons of each.

Traditional Marketing: Pros and Cons

With the advent of social media, traditional marketing is often underestimated by marketers. However, traditional marketing is still present in the everyday lives of consumers. If you have the budget for magazine and TV campaigns, your money could be well spent there.


Impactful and easy to understand

A visually striking billboard or an impressive TV commercial are part of everyday life for most people. So, They are easy to understand and often entertaining.

Printed promotional materials last longer

If you place an ad in the NY Times, it will stay there until it is recycled. And that's great when the consumer is an avid collector.

More Memorable

Something you see in real life is more memorable than something you see on your phone. The anticipation of new Super Bowl spots, or a beautiful and compelling ad in a storefront window, is more likely to be etched in your memory than an Instagram ad that's likely to have you scrolling in a split second.


It's Harder to Measure Campaign Success

There are ways to measure the success of traditional marketing campaigns, such as brand tracking, but they're not nearly as accurate or intelligent as digital marketing tools.

Often expensive

When your brand is in its infancy, you often don't have the budget for a four-page ad in Vogue. Many forms of traditional marketing are very expensive.

No direct interaction with customers

Unlike social media marketing, you remain relatively in the dark about how your target audience is responding to your marketing.

Digital Marketing: Pros and Cons

As powerful as traditional marketing is, we must not forget that we all live in the internet age.

According to Statista, “59.9% of the world's population using the internet in 2023. On average, people spend 399.5 minutes online every day. In 2022, it is estimated that 79% of online purchases will be made on mobile devices.”

That's an incredible amount of time and opportunity for clever digital marketing.


More Opportunities for Engagement

Through channels like social media, you can see what your audience thinks about your brand and its marketing. When your marketing gets shares, likes, and tons of positive comments, you know you're doing something right.

Campaign Success Is Easily Measurable

Unlike traditional marketing, the details of digital marketing are exceptionally easy to measure. This way you know exactly how well your activities are working and what you should do better next time.

Enables clever targeting

When you have the tools to market to a 29-year-old author who loves Lizzo and Guinness, you can also deliver perfectly tailored content.


Digital ads can be considered annoying

Imagine you're on Facebook and you just want to find out what your old school friends are up to these days. All of a sudden, you see that horrible ad for a cure for that embarrassing disease you googled for last night. This will surely make you dislike the very brand that used that clever targeting.

Less Persistent

Digital marketing such as Google Ads, banners, promotional emails, or social media ads can be fleeting, temporary in nature. They are intangible and easily ignored. When your audience continues to scroll or click to the next page, your ad will be gone from their screen.

Always evolving

To get the most out of your digital marketing, you have to learn a lot. Each channel typically requires its own experts, from search engine marketing to social media, each channel needs a pro to ensure you get the most bang for your buck. However, a basic social media marketing strategy is a good place to start. Check out our guide to a digital marketing strategy for inspiration.

Find out what works for you

As you can see, both traditional and digital marketing have their pros and cons. The best way to determine which strategy is right for your business is to consider your budget, target market, and your overall goals. If you have the time and money needed to invest in digital marketing, then this might be the best option for you.

However, if you're on a budget or are targeting an older demographic that isn't as active online, then traditional marketing might be a better choice. Whatever you decide, be sure to measure the results of your campaigns so you can continually improve your strategy over time!