Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Flying Cork Digital Marketing versus Traditional marketing graphic

If you’ve landed on this blog post, you want to know the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing.

And I am here to tell you that the difference between both forms of marketing is that one is digital and the other is traditional.

Hopefully that answered your question! Thanks for stopping by!

I am totally joking.  However, in every joke there’s some truth and in this case, the truth of the matter is that the format of each of these styles of marketing is what sets them apart.

But before we get to the meat of this blog post, let’s lay the ground work.

Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Digital marketing, as defined by Hubspot, is “…all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and their websites to connect with current and prospective customers.”

Traditional marketing is commonly associated with print advertisements, television and radio commercials, direct mailers and billboards.

Digital marketing is…digital and traditional marketing is more, well, traditional in that the methods are “tried-and true.”

Let me pause for a moment…

This is when I come in stage right and put a plug in that Flying Cork is a digital marketing agency and we offer digital marketing services that include digital strategy, digital marketing, digital advertising, and design and development.

Now we’re back to our regularly-scheduled programming…

No matter how big or small your business may be, there always seems to be that inevitable tug-of-war between people who reside in two overarching camps.

The camps to which I am talking about are the people who favor digital marketing and the other people who believe in the power of traditional marketing. Of course, there are some people who have their hands in both pots.

Regardless of which side of the spectrum you’re on, it’s important to know that you’re not wrong. And in order to provide you with the most value that I can in one blog post, I put together a high-level  pros and cons list of digital marketing and traditional marketing.

Pros of digital marketing

  • An obvious pro of digital marketing is that the vast majority of consumer attention is focused on the internet, namely social media. When you let the market be your guide, you’ll realize that there’s untapped potential when it comes to Facebook advertising and organic content creation to build and strengthen brand awareness with your target audience.
  • So, you have the attention.  Now it’s time to measure your results. Digital marketing offers a plethora of data that can be mined and leveraged to help tweak and deliver a refined marketing strategy.
  • Digital marketing is fast. And by fast, I mean that it can be done with the simple tap of a button. All that it takes is a status update, a helpful blog post, or a quick-witted comment to stay in front of your target audience and build brand awareness.

Cons of digital marketing

  • Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. While some people believe in that quote, for digital marketers, the copy, tweak, and paste effect can pose problems for our campaign efforts. What do I mean by all of this? Digital marketing campaigns can be easy to imitate (copy) by your competitors which can then be manipulated (tweak) to fit their narrative and posted to their social channels (paste). That being said, make sure to keep tabs on your competitors and be in tune with conversations that are swirling around your brand and your industry.
  • Just as the internet offers unbelievable amounts of opportunity, it also invites a lot of noise and chatter that can make it harder to reach your target audience. However, it’s a problem that’s faced by all marketers and it’s one that’s solved by creative and empathetic marketing. When you take the time to truly understand your customers’ pain points, questions, and topics of interest, you’ll in turn create content that’s relevant and will resonate with them.

Pros of traditional marketing

  • Traditional marketing as a whole isn’t extinct. However, the way that we approach this form of marketing has shifted in some respects. For example, at one point in time, traditional marketing was the only way to do marketing, and now it has become supplemental to our digital efforts and vice versa. While online marketing can help increase your brand’s exposure if done correctly, digital and traditional can build off one another. Why? Because it’s important to remember that your audience doesn’t consume content the same way. Some people turn to the internet to discover products and services while others rely on the mail, TV/radio, etc. to get their information. To cast a wider net, you can supplement your traditional methods like billboards and mailers with digital advertising by serving the same information based on location of the traditional advertisement. This helps build brand awareness and encourages brand recognition.
  • If you’re a local company trying to reach your local market, then radio advertisements could be a good use of your marketing budget. However, just like with any advertisement, you need to consider a few different aspects like who makes up your target audience, what channel best aligns with who you’re trying to target, and what message are you trying to articulate? Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, radio can be a good way to tap into and reach your local target market.

Cons of traditional marketing

  • Traditional marketing is more or less a monologue in that there’s little to no interaction between the brand and audience. Traditionally speaking (pun somewhat intended), traditional marketing is focused on selling the consumer on a product/service. In some cases, this type of marketing can feel intrusive and forced which can lead to consumers simply tuning out your content.
  • Traditional marketing can be very expensive. From billboards to purchasing TV and radio spots, the fees associated with traditional marketing can stack up fairly quickly and eat up most of your marketing budget.
  • In the world of marketing and business in general, every single dollar counts! Think of it this way: when you’re in a car if your eyes aren’t on the road, they’re unfortunately more than likely on your phone. This means that your attention isn’t focused on the billboards on the side of the road. Translation, you could be spending a decent amount of money on a billboard that not many people will see. Likewise, the introduction of DVR and online streaming has affected how we consume television shows. How so? We don’t want to be bothered by commercials anymore. Time is the most valuable commodity and commercials inherently take away from what we’re trying to do – watch a TV show. Think about how you consume TV for a second. When you’re watching a show and it goes to a commercial break, what do you normally do? More times than not, you’ll grab your phone, take a bathroom break or get a snack in just the right amount of time to be situated when the show comes back on. Again, depending on your target audience, these two examples can be seen as wasted marketing dollars that could have been allocated to another resource within your marketing budget.

Though we’re a digital marketing agency, we understand that elements of digital marketing and traditional marketing can be leveraged to create a holistic marketing strategy.

Which type of marketing do you prefer?