Traditional VS Digital Marketing

Traditional VS Digital Marketing

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Blog

Having a marketing budget is vital to any business, small or large. It is equally important to make the most of it and spend it in the right direction, specifically for smaller businesses who have limited budgets, but how do you know where to spend it: on traditional marketing or digital marketing?  This is not an easy decision but it can make a huge difference to the bottom line.


Traditional marketing is not new and most company’s have used it at one time or another. It is a conventional method of advertising that reaches a semi targeted audience and includes the following 5 major categories:

  1. Print (magazines, newspapers, etc.)
  2. Broadcast (TV, radio, etc.)
  3. Direct Mail (catalogues, postcards, etc.)
  4. Telephone (telemarketing, SMS marketing, etc.)
  5. Outdoor (billboards, flyers, etc.)
  6. Ambient and guerilla marketing (non – conventional forms of marketing)


  • You can easily reach your target local audience. For example, a radio ad might play in one location: your city or region. Or flyers are distributed to various areas, trying to reach your local target audience.
  • The marketing materials can be kept. The audience can have a hard copy of materials of which they can read or browse through over and over again. Access to hard copies are often easier to locate.
  • It’s easy to understand. It can be easily understood by most people because they are already exposed to this kind of communication.
  • It has a high proven success rate: Traditional marketing has been tried and tested. Although digital marketing may have more of a global reach, it is not a guarantee it will reach all your potential customers locally.  Not everyone has access to the internet and if they do, they may access your competitor products first. For these people, traditional marketing may be more effective. These consumers generally include the lower LSM market of 1-2. They have few household possessions and only have enough to satisfy their basic needs. They have very little disposable income so do not have access to anything digital. It is vital to take into consideration LSM/SEM when looking into these platforms.


There are disadvantages to traditional marketing. It is more of a one-way street as it is not that interactive. It’s a case of organizations broadcasting or providing information to their target audience about products or services with the aim of attracting the attention of the right target audience and transforming them into consumers.  Some disadvantages include:

  • There is very little interaction between the consumers and the advertising. This is more providing information about products or services or that the brand exists in the hopes of gaining buyers.
  • There is no control over timing.
  • Traditional advertising depends on promotional methods which cannot be updated once executed. Previous ads can be replaced with new ones which can be costly. Recurring costs in traditional advertising can be a huge investment for any company that may or may not give a good ROI.
  • Limited Customization Options: even though there are various marketing channels and techniques to market a certain segment, it is very difficult to target specific customers.
  • Inability to Disclose Full Pricing Details: traditional marketing is able to attract consumers based on discounted prices and sales. With more customized pricing options, it becomes increasingly difficult due to space limitations to display all pricing options.
  • Poor Campaign Measurement: Unfortunately, when executing a traditional marketing strategy, it is vital to measure the effectiveness in order to know if the investment is in the right direction. Unfortunately results that you get from traditional marketing cannot be measured easily and efficiently.


Digital marketing or online marketing refers to the marketed related work that a business does through the Internet or any electronic device. Any business (regardless of its size) can leverage digital marketing to reach out to their target market, connect with prospects and convert more of them into consumers. The internet is becoming one of the most used tools therefore digital marketing is becoming more and more crucial to all businesses. As a business you need to be ahead of your competition which means outdated marketing methods are no longer effective. Being a business, the Internet offers you a way to build an authority in your niche and grow your online presence like never before.


  • Data Security: With technology, massive amounts of data can be collected and stored. This is often private information about individuals and companies, which can prove difficult to keep safe from online criminals and hackers.
  • Complexity: not everyone understands the digital world and how to interact with it. Using digital devices involves understanding various complicated settings.
  • Social Disconnect: Communication via digital devices in increasing daily rather than real life contact. This is causing people to become socially disconnected and isolated.
  • Digital Media Manipulation: Editing has become easy due to technology. Video, audio and imagery are easy to manipulate and it is becoming difficult to know what is real and fake.
  • Longevity: due to ever evolving technology, digital gadgets have a relatively short time span. These devices become too slow or incompatible to updated programs. This means those using digital marketing need to keep up with ever changing digital programs.


Companies with a huge offline target audience, traditional marketing is something that cannot be ignored. However, for small businesses that are trying to compete in the market with a limited budget, digital marketing can be invaluable for the following reasons:

  • You can target a specific audience. Companies are able to target a specific audience demographics by gender, location, age and interests. This allows for a more effective campaign. A highly customized digital marketing campaign allows for a wide reach and allows you to alter your campaign if and when necessary.
  • An audience can choose how they want to receive content. Consumers who spend time online can choose to follow communication or opt out of following communication. This is relevant as these same consumers are the ones searching for it in the first place. Market segmentation and tailored marketing can be powerful and extremely effective.
  • Digital allows for interaction with the audience: with the use of social media networks, companies can encourage and support consumers / possible consumers to take action, visit websites, read about products or services, rate them, buy them and provide feedback which is visible to your market.
  • Digital marketing is cost-efficient.The costs of digital marketing are a lot cheaper than traditional marketing and often more effective. When spending money on marketing the success of a campaign depends on the ROI. Digital marketing is less expensive so the ROI is higher. In other words, with digital marketing you gain more and spend less.
  • Data and results are easily recorded. With Google Analytics and the insights tools offered by social media channels, campaign effectiveness can be seen in real time. What is or is not working for your business online and can be adapted very quickly to improve your results. Measuring results allows for you to plan a clear-sighted marketing game, rather than a blind one.
  • Level playing field:  With a strong digital marketing strategy any business can compete with a competitor of regardless of the size of the competitor. Online, a sharp well thought out and executed campaign with a smooth customer journey and fantastic service is the key.
  • Viral: Digital and share buttons on your website channels enables messaging and content to be shared immediately and effectively. That’s why high-quality content is so important.
  • Higher Level of Customer Engagement: Digital marketing allows for a higher level of engagement and interaction with consumers. It can be social media comments or email messages which allows for constant vital feedback. Business performance is based on consumer requirements and digital marketing lets you do that as you can engage with customers and solve their issues/problems without wasting time.


Companies need to focus on what is likely to give you a better ROI. The debate of traditional marketing versus digital marketing is an old age dilemma and will continue to be so.  Due to the advancement of technology digital marketing has proven to be more cost effective with a small risk. Companies of all sizes are making use of digital marketing even though print ads, TV ads and radio ads may help in brand building, digital marketing can help a company build a strong foundation for effective promotion.