It is not hard to differentiate between the main characteristics of traditional and digital marketing. Going back through time, it becomes clear that traditional marketing was here first and includes more conventional methods. Key Differences explains that traditional advertisers buy space or time in newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. Other traditional ways of marketing include hanging up flyers, handing out free samples and special events like trade shows and product launches. With digital marketing, individuals, businesses and other entities use online platforms to promote their products and services.
Traditional vs. Online Marketing
The main differences between traditional and online marketing for business to consumer (B2C) and business to business marketing (B2B) are not that far apart. According to EDUCBA, you can do some conventional marketing in person. A business owner with a storefront on Main Street, USA, can have an open house where they can pass out samples face-to-face to customers. Other examples of traditional marketing include a yoga studio mailing out coupons for free classes or a local appliance repair company running ads in a regional shopper newspaper.
With online marketing, you don't need a physical presence, and audiences can almost always access the shared messages, whether they are on a website, video, or social media. Your messages can reach global and local audiences if you have the proper marketing and SEO strategies in place. Digital marketing is also interactive, while traditional is often not. If you look at a newspaper ad, you just read it but could call the company to make an appointment. Digital marketing allows audiences to scroll around sites, click on links, share feedback, and even post their own videos 24/7/365.
One of the biggest pluses about digital marketing is that it can cost much less than other means. Printing and producing advertisements is costly, and so is buying media space. This example is over-the-top, but last year, Variety claimed that NBC was planning to ask advertisers to pay $6 million for 30-second spots aired during the 2021 Super Bowl. Ads on other popular TV shows can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. You can also pay to run ads online, but those prices are not in the same league. Remember, too, that posting content on your website or social media usually does not cost anything!
Advantages of Traditional and Digital Marketing
Digital marketing was gaining significant traction over the more traditional market strategies before the pandemic. Still, that event sent it into the stratosphere as people moved away from in-person purchases. This trend holds true worldwide and shows no signs of slowing down. While consumers still like going into stores for in-person shopping, they are now used to researching and shopping online. As technologies advance, things like artificial intelligence and more personalized online shopping experiences will continue to improve and evolve.
Still, there is a place for traditional marketing: 99% of families own televisions in this country, creating a potential audience of 315 million people. WebFX adds that consumers still listen to the radio and read newspapers and magazines. They claim that while these audiences can be harder to track, traditional marketing "can work wonders" for a company's brand awareness. These ads are costly but cost-effective because they can reach many people at the same time.
Digital marketing is much more targeted and results-driven and lets you reach consumers in your niche and see how effective your strategies are. It uses passive rather than active customer acquisition and is more adaptable to changing consumer-to-business and business-to-business needs. Another big plus is that you can see the results of your efforts faster. You don't have to wait for an ad to be produced, aired, printed, or mailed through snail mail.
How Digital Marketing Complements Traditional Marketing
A business that chooses to, and can afford to, blend online and traditional marketing into its plans can reap incredible results. Those national advertisements might not be in the budget, but cable TV ads might. Local television spots are more affordable, but your reach will be more limited. Still, many people watch the local news every single night.
As the worldwide marketing landscape continues to change, so should your company's marketing strategies. Traditional marketing methods like conferences, trade shows, and open houses allow you to present your goods and services to consumers one-on-one, and you can supplement those with digital media. For example, a medical device supplier could hold a conference for doctors who can later visit the company's website. This kind of marketing diversification is forward-thinking because it uses different channels to reach your audiences. You can switch what method you're using if one isn't working, too.