Technology has been permeating the marketing sector for decades now. Since the industrial revolution, we’ve watched marketing tactics adapt to the needs of the consumers. After the first paid television advertisement in the United States in 1941, brands have been joining us in our living rooms since the dawn of the modern marketing era.
For almost 80 years, marketers have been adapting to new channels to market their products or services to their consumers. And now, the advancements in technology in the previous decade has brought upon the new era of marketing – digital marketing.
Businesses have known for ages that just by introducing high-quality products in the right market would not help them reach their goals. Hence, to increase their visibility in a highly competitive market, businesses turn to marketing professionals. Marketers leverage the suitable channels of marketing to connect to the target audience of the business and compel them to carry out favourable actions.
Today, with the emergence of digital marketing, marketers are in quite a predicament. While almost 50% of the world’s population can’t spend a day without the internet, some people still have their doubts about the internet.
With the birth of new options of marketing, businesses are wondering what method they should equip. Hence, for the benefit of our readers, we have explained every difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing, and what’s the right method to choose in today’s business scenario.
Before we dive in – let’s first understand what traditional marketing and digital marketing mean.
What is traditional marketing?
Traditional marketing is an umbrella term for all the offline marketing efforts a business takes to reach their target audiences. The most commonly used traditional marketing strategies are direct sales, direct mail, trade shows, print advertising, word-of-mouth, radio, and television. It revolves around the 4Ps of marketing (Price, Product, Placement and Promotion).
Until the 1990s, traditional marketing was the only dominant way to market your products and services. Let’s be honest here, the ‘washing powder Nirma’ jingle is pretty much ingrained in the minds of every Indian kid till date.
Traditional marketing is a tried and tested method and even today it is the best way to connect with the local audiences. Especially in rural areas, marketers lean on traditional marketing strategies as they have a higher chance of paying off.
What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing is the inverse of traditional marketing. It is also an umbrella term, however, for all the online marketing efforts a business takes to connect with their target audiences. Some digital marketing channels are social media marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), email marketing, content marketing and more.
With over 50% of the world’s population using the internet, it has become all the more important for marketers to equip digital marketing strategies. Digital marketing is wildly popular among businesses and consumers. In fact you, yes you, have probably come across digital marketing tactics at least once a day. For example, have you come across those freakishly accurate ‘sponsored’ posts on your Instagram feed? That, ladies and gentlemen, is called social media marketing.
Besides being a cost-effective method of marketing, digital marketing has brought consumers and businesses closer than ever. Even if your friends forget your birthday, Team Snapchat always comes through.
But which route should you choose?
In order to solve the debate of traditional marketing vs digital marketing, it’s imperative to understand the pros and cons of both. This will help you understand the specifics of the difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing.
Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing: Upsides and Downsides
Upsides of Traditional Marketing:
1. You Can Easily Reach the Local Audiences
Traditional mediums of marketing like radio, television and print media are the best ways to target local audiences of a particular region. It is one of the best marketing methods to employ to connect with your target audience. Radio is one of the quickest ways to promote your marketing message among a local audience.
2. Easy to Understand
Consumers have been viewing traditional marketing strategies for over 80 years now. The older generation especially, finds it easier to understand the promotional message a marketer is trying to communicate as they are more familiar with this method. For example, billboards and flyers, they’ve been around for so long that it is easier for consumers to digest the information that is being distributed.
3. Tangible Promotional Material Are More Memorable
Tangible promotional materials like magazines, flyers, brochures and more when distributed among consumers, have a higher chance of being consumed more than once. Without having to depend on internet services, consumers can reread and re-use your physical promotional materials. Some consumers even store these materials for recycling.
Downsides of Traditional Marketing:
1. Expensive Method
One of the biggest drawbacks of traditional marketing is the expenses that come with it. If your business is in its early stages, you wouldn’t even be able to pay for most of the traditional marketing channels. Purchasing advertisement slots on traditional channels like TV, radio can be very expensive for budding businesses.
2. You Cannot Measure its Performance
In traditional marketing, you cannot track or measure the performance of any ongoing campaign. Marketers find it difficult to understand what strategies work and what don’t as you cannot check what strategy is causing an increase or decrease in sales.
3. Lack of Customization
Through traditional marketing, you can only target a specific market and not a specific customer. For example, you can target the mothers of an area but you cannot target an individual who is currently actively looking for your products or services.
4. Low Chances of Engagement
Traditional marketing facilitates one-way communication with consumers. Marketers cannot view or capture their consumer’s reaction. As a marketer, you can only hope your marketing message has convinced your consumers to buy your products or services.
Upside of Digital Marketing:
1. Capable of Super Specific Targeting
Digital technologies like social media platforms and search engines allow marketers to target their audiences based on their demographics, interests and much more. For example, through Facebook Ads Manager, you can target your target audience in any location who has shown an interest in your business or similar businesses.
2. You Can Track and Measure Every Cent You Spend
The trackable and measurable feature of digital marketing is one of the top reasons why every business is going digital. In digital marketing, you can track every cent you spend in real-time. Through web analytics, marketers can now track the effectiveness of their campaigns and deduce what efforts need more improvements.
3. High Chances of Engagement
With the increasing accessibility of the internet, businesses can interact with their consumers in real-time. Unlike traditional marketing, you can actually view your consumers’ reaction to your online advertisements. Digital marketing has helped businesses improve their relationships with their consumers and increase their customer retention rate.
4. It’s Easy on the Pockets
With the right digital marketing strategies, you can drastically lower the amount you spend on marketing. It is the most affordable and cost-effective form of marketing method available today. Even small business owners favour this method of marketing as with the right strategies you can the lower the cost per acquisition.
5. Higher Conversion Rates
Converting a consumer online is very easy as they are only a few clicks away from making a purchase. Specific targeting coupled with ease of accessibility increases the chances of a consumer purchasing a product or service from your website. And the best part is, they can do it at any time of the day!
Downside of Digital Marketing:
1. Constantly Evolving Field
The digital marketing field is very dynamic. If you wish to leverage its power, you need to regularly read up about its recent trends. Businesses usually outsource digital marketing services as it requires professionals with extensive knowledge in this field. However, if a business lacks these digital skills, they can always hire a corporate training service to equip their employees with the skills of tomorrow.
2. Time Consuming
Digital marketing is a very time-consuming task. In order to keep up with the recent trends in the industry, businesses have to constantly optimize their promotional messages and sometimes even create new promotional messages.
3. Security and Privacy Issues
One of the major issues of digital marketing is the security and privacy issues consumers go through. Just like the actual world, the digital world has its own set of criminals, commonly known as hackers and spammers. They can hack into your devices and misuse your data. The possibility of a breach of security scares away potential consumers.
Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing: Final Verdict
I’m sure by now you’re already leaning towards digital marketing and you have every reason to be! However, why not leverage both? Digital marketing clearly wins this argument but instead of choosing between traditional marketing and digital marketing, use both to market your products or services effectively.
Yes, traditional marketing is slowly ceasing to exist, but it still speaks to the older generation. In fact, we still watch television, listen to the radio, read newspapers and sometimes we even lift our glance from our smartphones and look at a billboard. Instead of completely neglecting traditional marketing channels, you can use it to complement your digital marketing tactics. Anyone who understands this, can maximize the outputs of their marketing efforts and generate profitable revenue.
If you’re a little behind with your digital skill, I’d suggest you take a look at IIDE. They provide digital marketing courses for every type of learner and also provide corporate training for companies looking to complete their digital transformation.
That’s all folks! I hope this article helped you understand the difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop a comment below.