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Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing: Understanding The Differences in Marketing Tech

By understanding the differences between digital marketing and traditional marketing, a business can more easily decide which method is better suited to them.
Digital Marketing

In the age of the internet, digital and social media marketing have many benefits for businesses. So why would businesses still invest in traditional marketing methods? How much of your budget should go towards digital marketing and how much to traditional marketing? It can be difficult for some businesses to make the right decisions for their marketing strategy. 

By understanding the differences between digital marketing and traditional marketing, a business can more easily decide which method is better suited to them.

Just as a business shouldn’t underestimate the importance of security for business communications, businesses should never underestimate the importance of marketing. Simply being in the right market with a high-quality product is not enough for success. Utilizing the right marketing techniques to reach the right audiences to convert into customers is absolutely crucial to success in business.

A business needs to ensure that they are the front-runner in their field, and that means not depending on outdated marketing tools. Businesses should look to the future and understand how they can most benefit from new marketing tools to increase their reach.

What is Traditional Marketing?

Traditional marketing uses conventional media such as print (newspapers and magazines), radio, television, etc. to reach and engage an audience to increase awareness of a business and its products or services. Traditional marketing helps businesses reach their target groups through different methods used in offline ads and promotions.

Traditional marketing has been around for a while, and we’ve all been exposed to traditional marketing at one point or another. While traditional marketing may seem outdated in the age of the internet, it would be a mistake to rule out traditional marketing completely. People still encounter traditional ads every day.

Traditional has five main categories of the most common and used offline marketing tactics:

  • Print: newspapers, magazines, flyers.
  • Broadcast: radio, television news and entertainment.
  • Mail: postcards, catalogs. 
  • Telephone: SMS marketing, telemarketing, cold calling, tools like a Dialpad call center.
  • Outdoor ads: billboards, banners, posters. 

Just because traditional marketing has been around for a long time doesn’t mean it’s never changed. Traditional marketing has developed over time, but the primary aspects are still the same. The marketing techniques used in today’s traditional marketing rely on the four P’s of marketing: price, place, promotion, and product.

Advantages of Traditional Marketing

Even today, traditional marketing still holds some advantages for businesses.

Local Audience Reach

One of the best advantages of traditional marketing is that it allows businesses to reach local audiences and drive awareness in the local market. Traditional marketing is also a great way to get local audiences to talk with and interact with a business.

Tried and Tested

At the end of the day, traditional marketing is an established and reliable method of boosting sales. If a business’s products or services really match a local audience, then traditional marketing can reliably outperform digital marketing. Media platforms like billboards and TV commercials are proven techniques to raise awareness and brand authority.

Easier to Process and Recall

People’s attention span when online can often be quite lacking. As a result, paper marketing may have an advantage over digital marketing when it comes to a customer’s ability to remember and process an ad. People find it easier to remember what they read in a printed advertisement than in a digital ad. There is a reason that the term “banner blindness” originated from digital marketing.

Disadvantages of Traditional Marketing

Thanks to technology, businesses can reach their target audience quickly and easily. This is why a business should think about the disadvantages of traditional marketing before investing too many resources into it.

Little Interaction

In traditional marketing, communicating a product or service to a target group is a one-way street. It’s not like you can just sit down and have a teleconference meeting with your audience. There is only one way to offer information to the target audience. There is no feedback mechanism to check if the brand-building exercise is working effectively.

Higher Costs

Regular costs and investments in traditional marketing could be a good investment but they could also turn out to be a hefty investment in the long run. The ad you place in the local newspaper can only promote your business as long as it’s in circulation. Keeping your business’ advert in the newspaper long-term might not be a financial burden that you can afford. 

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is when a business creates and runs advertising campaigns on the internet or through electronic devices such as the smartphone. Any business of any size can make use of digital technologies to reach their target audience and turn them into customers. There is also a lower barrier of entry to find out how to use social media marketing, how to promote affiliate links, or how to use search ads.

The internet is accessible on almost every digital device and plays an important role in promoting goods, products, and services. People are devoting more of their time than ever to activities on the internet, from entertainment and streaming to online shopping.  

A majority of people check a product or service online before making a purchase. The majority of adults are on social media, and even B2B businesses use social media channels to promote their goods and services. With so much activity taking place online, every business should consider the importance of their online presence from a marketing perspective.

Advantages of Digital Marketing

Higher Level of Customer Engagement

Traditional marketing is a one-way street where a business can’t interact with customers directly. Meanwhile, digital marketing allows a business to engage with and interact with its audience on a much deeper level. Audiences can connect with a business via social media comments, email, chatbots, etc.

Ease of Measuring Results

If you hand out flyers, place ads in newspapers, or play ads on the radio, it is difficult to measure how effective your marketing campaign is. However, with digital marketing there exist tools like Customer Data Platforms to measure the results of your marketing campaigns. With these tools, a business can gather a lot of information about its customers and make better-informed decisions. 

Bigger Audience

Traditional marketing is usually unable to reach a wider audience than a certain locality or region. But what if your business isn’t bound to one location? And in any case, why would any business want to limit its reach? Digital marketing channels can expand a business’ reach and offer highly customizable ad campaigns.

Less Expense – More Effective

Digital marketing often has a better return on investment (ROI) than traditional marketing, since it is usually much cheaper. A properly planned digital marketing campaign allows a business to target customers who are very likely to buy their product. Not everyone online is a customer, but digital marketing allows a business to target people who fit the profile of a business’ customer. The money saved from using digital marketing can then be invested in internal aspects of the business like improving employee unproductivity.


Not all customers will be at the same stage in a marketing funnel. So, it makes sense to personalize offers to customers who are looking at a business’ website or ad. This personalization is not possible in traditional marketing. This personalization can take the form of a personalized email, or creating different advert text for audience members who are at different marketing funnel stages.

Differences Between Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing

Modern marketing trends are always changing, and seem to be drifting away from traditional marketing. But traditional marketing still has its benefits – reaching a local audience, for example. 

However, it is difficult to track ROI and the overall success of the marketing campaign in traditional marketing. Digital marketing provides this information easily. Let’s look at some of the other key differences between traditional and digital marketing.

Target Audience

Traditional marketing methods make it easy to reach out to local customers. Digital marketing allows a business to reach its target audience anywhere in the world.

Marketing Approach

In traditional marketing, the focus is on personal interaction. Traditional marketing campaigns allow businesses to build customer relationships easily. At the same time, the business promotes its product or brand and informs customers.

While it is possible to have one-on-one interactions, digital marketing does not focus as much on personal interaction. Instead, digital marketing is better suited to reaching a large group of people in a short amount of time.

Consumer Interaction

In traditional marketing mediums, a business does not have much flexibility to interact with customers and integrate those interactions into the marketing campaign. 

On the other hand, digital marketing offers businesses a variety of options to interact with customers. These options include websites, apps, social media, etc. A business can learn how to get more reviews using digital marketing surveys, how to get more recommendations, or how to get more app reviews so that they can get valuable feedback from customers.

Final Decision

Traditional marketing is usually only accessible to big businesses, whereas digital marketing gives small businesses the tools to advertise their products and services. Many businesses will try their hand at traditional marketing at least once but they’ll quickly discover how difficult it is to measure ROI. Digital marketing provides the analytics to measure ROI. However, traditional marketing does allow a business to connect with a local audience.

Digital marketing offers little risk and rapid growth to businesses of all sizes and its low barrier to entry makes it accessible to small businesses as well. There are ways in which digital and traditional marketing can work together. Just find out what is call deflection. While traditional marketing has its benefits, businesses should highly consider digital marketing.

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Grace Lau, Director of Growth Content at Dialpad
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform with cloud PBX solutions for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. She has also written for sites like Trans4Mind and Klipfolio. Here is her LinkedIn.

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