Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing

Marketing has always been a key component of business strategy. Considering how crucial public awareness of a company can be to its growth, this won’t change anytime soon. What has changed, however, is how marketing can be deployed. Thanks to the internet’s rise, portable tech devices, and apps, an increasing number of companies use digital strategies alongside traditional tactics to create comprehensive marketing campaigns that target new customers and retain existing customers. Although both concepts strive to promote brand awareness and customer connection, it’s important to understand the differences between traditional marketing vs. digital marketing so that effective, well-targeted campaigns can be created.

A creative team discusses the pros and cons of traditional marketing vs. digital marketing.

Comparing Two Marketing Techniques

Traditional marketing encompasses any form of advertising that existed before the internet era, from paper-based strategies like mailers, fliers, newspaper ads, and magazine inserts to broadcast radio and television ads. Traditional marketing has been around since the boom of consumer culture around the 18th century, and the basic concept of marketing itself goes back even further.

Digital marketing uses web-based media, such as the internet, search engines, and mobile devices to reach customers. It also leverages social media, such as Twitter and Instagram. Because digital marketing is relatively recent, its strategic usage continues to evolve.

Similar Goals

Traditional and digital marketing address similar goals but take different approaches. Both types of campaigns promote brand awareness to help support business sales, customer engagement, and or affinity to the brand . Each form of marketing also requires careful planning in order to work.  Successful digital and traditional marketing campaigns don’t merely succeed because they look cool or have witty taglines. They work because those behind the campaigns research and analyze the consumer and market landscape to pinpoint key metrics about potential clientele, such as age and online browsing habits. Designing strategies around this information can spell the difference between a campaign that engages the desired customer and one that falls flat.

Because understanding the market is fundamental to a good marketing campaign, those adopting either marketing technique, digital or traditional, must have well-developed analytical skills. Advanced creative skills are also essential to designing attention-getting campaigns. Strong communication skills ensure that collaborative teams are on the same page regarding campaign messaging. The degree offered through Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Science in Marketing program and its dynamic curriculum can help students to develop these core competencies.

Different Mediums

While traditional and digital marketing share some similarities, it’s important for those looking to pursue a marketing career to understand their differences. Ultimately, knowing how to make the most of traditional marketing vs. digital marketing can help individuals build complete, comprehensive marketing campaigns.

Clearly, the two marketing techniques use very different mediums. Traditional marketing relies on established tactics built on older forms of communication to get its message across, such as building a television ad campaign or crafting a colorful print mailer. Digital marketing, on the other hand, focuses on strategies that build a company’s online presence, like a well-placed ad on a website that attracts a desirable consumer demographic.

While both techniques rely on data analysis to help build marketing strategies, they gather their data from different sources. Digital marketers mine relevant data using online metrics such as website analytics, email open rates, paid ad click-throughs, and social engagement. Traditional media, on the other hand, uses offline data like foot traffic and television ratings to determine the direction of marketing strategies.

Digital marketing strategies take advantage of digital media’s inherent interactivity. Social media marketers can engage in conversations and dialogue with people following their accounts. This can enable digital marketers to acquire real-time customer information about customer needs and wants, which in turn can give a company vital data for future development and growth strategies. They can also build ads that can dovetail with specific search engine algorithm behaviors, so their ads can appear in front of potential customers after they have looked for a specific item. Sometimes, social media marketers can use traditional marketing tactics to create awareness of a company’s social media presence, such as an invitation to follow the brand on social media at the bottom of a flyer or a newspaper ad. In general, marketing campaigns often span all types of media, traditional and digital, to reach and reconnect with consumers.

On the other hand, not every target customer has a social media account, and some are not internet savvy. In these cases, traditional marketing has an advantage over digital marketing. Determining the superiority of one style of marketing over another is greatly dependent on a few metrics, such as the target audience. Often, however, a company may decide to incorporate traditional and digital marketing strategies into a comprehensive campaign. This way, an organization can potentially have the capacity to maximize their consumer outreach.

Two Marketing Approaches, One Goal

Traditional marketing and digital marketing take very different approaches to creating public brand awareness and forging customer connections. Marketing professionals who know how to combine digital and traditional marketing techniques can create comprehensive marketing strategies with an expansive reach, a tactic that can make them a valuable asset to an organization. Learn how Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Science in Marketing program can help students to develop the knowledge, tech savvy, and skills needed to pursue satisfying careers in marketing.

Recommended Readings
11 Modern Marketing Skills for Business Innovators to Master
How Online Influencers Are Shaping Future Sales Practices
What Does the Future of Advertising Look Like?

Sources, “Stand Out: 5 Ways to Combine Traditional and Digital Marketing”
Forbes, “Finding the Sweet Spot with Traditional and Digital Marketing”
Forbes, “Three Digital Marketing Trends That Can Bring You Closer to Your Customers”
Houston Chronicle, “Examples of Traditional Marketing”
Investopedia, Digital Marketing
Maryville University, Online Marketing Degree

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