Navigating Marketing: Traditional vs. Digital
By Theresa Schempp
In the marketing world, the battle of traditional and digital marketing has been one for the ages. Traditional marketing has been tried and true for decades, and digital marketing is the new kid on the block who seems to know everything. Businesses have formed their opinions of each and it reflects in their strategies. But does it have to be a battle of one or the other in your marketing budget? Or can you implement both effectively to push your business to its highest potential?
Defining Traditional and Digital Marketing
Traditional Marketing can be defined as marketing techniques that have been used for decades and are tangible items that can be touched and viewed by its audience. Examples of this are TV commercials, direct mail, business cards, commercials on the radio, billboards, and brochures. Traditional marketing has been proven to work best within local communities. People can physically visit an office, and word-of-mouth provides referrals and networking which lead to lasting producer-consumer relationships.
Digital Marketing is defined as marketing delivered by means of technology. Examples of this are websites, social media, search engine ads, and videos consumed through sites such as YouTube. Digital marketing reaches its audience on a global scale, with your audience finding you through search engines and algorithms. The producer-consumer relationship is created without ever seeing your audience in person.
Traditional Marketing: Pros and Cons
One of the biggest pros of traditional marketing is its familiarity. Its strategy has been used for generations, and its effectiveness has been proven specifically for an older age demographic. In a world that is increasingly digital, people enjoy the connection of a business that it can see in person and relate to. Traditional marketing can be achieved in multiple ways depending on your audience and can give you a voice within your community. The relationships you create with your clients can be strong and last for years to come.
Unfortunately, traditional marketing has proven to be static when compared to digital advertising. While a person can see your billboard while driving, there is no way for you to directly engage with them. Traditional marketing relies on consumers making the conscious effort to find and contact you, which can cause your ROI to suffer. Traditional marketing is also costly, with limited space in a newspaper or a TV program to use to impact your audience. In addition, results are difficult to measure. Did you get your last customer from the newspaper ad or the radio ad? It’s difficult to know, and even harder to generate a report.
Digital Marketing: Pros and Cons
Digital is not only easier to measure results based on views and clicks, but its price tag is miniscule compared to traditional marketing. A TV commercial can cost anywhere from $200 to upwards of $5,000, while a Google ad will set your company back about $3. When it comes to creating a marketing budget, you get the most bang for your buck with digital, and you have the reporting to prove it. Another pro of digital marketing is the engagement you cultivate with your audience. If someone has a question, all they need to do is message you via your website or social media, and you can respond in a matter of minutes. With people leading busy lives, this convenience is valuable to both parties. You can also tailor your advertising based on whether your audience is local or global, and you can reach both simultaneously.
One of the things digital marketing is lacking is physical connection and marketing with a customer. It is difficult to trust a business through just a computer screen, which means your business needs to work harder to forge a sustainable producer-consumer relationship. Digital marketing results can also take time to prove success, which may or may not be something your company can wait for.
Businesses that typically Benefit from Traditional Marketing
Not sure which marketing your business would benefit the most from? Many businesses and their services cannot be equated through a website or social media presence. Below are some examples of businesses that benefit the most from traditional marketing techniques:
Local businesses such as farms, restaurants, medical clinics
Businesses that typically Benefit from Digital Marketing
Clothing and goods makers
Your personal brand
Writers, photographers, videographers
With all the information given, which marketing strategy will your business use? One or the other? For most businesses, the greatest success has been proven through a hybrid of both traditional and digital marketing. The best part is that your business doesn’t have to choose one or the other; they are both marketing, and therefore beneficial. A business should define their areas that receive the most engagement and success, and supplement this success using forms of traditional and digital techniques.
For example, hand out a brochure, and have your social media platforms and website available should the client decide to reach you digitally. If you’re a non-profit organization, you can have a TV commercial that directs the audience to a website where they can donate (which is why it is in both categories above).
In conclusion, marketing is a toolbox for your company, from which you can pick and choose the tools that reflect your business’ values and drive success. Marketing has a learning curve, and if one tool doesn’t provide ideal results, you can choose to use another. One of the greatest factors of success for a company is their producer-consumer relationships, which can be forges and sustained through both traditional and digital marketing.