The Ultimate Battle: Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing

A new digital era has emerged and now traditional marketing has lost its impact. But is that so? How can we say clearly that this is what has been happening just on the basis of the recent pandemic situation? There is no absolute answer to this until we dig deeper into the definitions of traditional and digital marketing.

The basic analogy of these two types of marketing can be made crystal clear only by understanding both of them. Deciding one out of these two marketing methods will not do justice to what their purpose is. Each one of them has its own importance in the field of marketing.

According to stats as per DigitalThirdCoast, around 36% of marketers are putting efforts into combining traditional and digital marketing methods. This shows that the industry still requires both marketing techniques for succeeding in their respective businesses. Without further adieu, let’s get to know what these marketing techniques are capable of doing after execution.

Defining Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing is the oldest form of marketing that was used around the 18th century, long before the existence of the internet. These marketing campaigns were run with the help of traditional channels such as newspaper ads, radio ads, television ads, magazine ads, billboards, and even fliers.

This concept of marketing was the only way of marketing till the 1990s without any sign of the development of the internet.

Defining Digital Marketing

Digital marketing came when the internet made its impact on people around the world. This type of advertising utilizes digital media or channels such as websites, search engines, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and even with the use of mobile devices.

This type of marketing is the newest form of marketing method and it keeps evolving with the new recent updates in technology.

Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing

Traditional marketing differs from digital marketing mainly in the terms of the medium which is used for spreading the marketing message to the audience. Traditional marketing uses traditional media such as magazines and newspapers whereas digital marketing uses digital media such as social media and websites.

Although traditional marketing is considered to be old-fashioned, its significance is no less than digital marketing. This type of marketing helps to get people out of the digital world and connects them with real life. For instance, when you are traveling on the road and you see an advertisement on a billboard on the side, it gives you a sense of reality.

The TV commercials are still as impactful and similarly, the print advertisements in the magazine are essential even in today’s time due to their long-lasting effect on your memory. There are numerous TV ads that people still like KitKat ad with the tagline ‘Have a break, have a KitKat’. People memorize these ads in their subconscious minds, taking them with them in their everyday lives.

Likewise, digital marketing has its importance as much as traditional marketing in your daily life. According to stats as per Hootsuite, the number of social media users increased to 4.70 billion by the beginning of July 2022 from 227 million in the past year. This shows that using social media marketing is going to have more reach in today’s time via different social media channels.

Consider a situation where when you are planning a holiday trip, then google searching is the easiest way of looking for holiday plans. This way you can have a global reach to the exotic places you want to visit. You will also encounter some sponsored ads on online platforms. These ads are specially tailored for users who are looking for ways to spend their holidays.

The Internet is the most normal thing in the everyday lives of people in the new recent times of digital media. Digital marketing is a very clever way of utilizing digital media on various digital channels.

When you are using digital marketing strategies, they are optimized according to the interactivity of the users on the various digital media platforms. In the case of social media users, social media marketers are capable of interacting in conversations with their customers.

Seeing both marketing methods, strategies are formed first on the basis of the data collected about the target audience. For digital marketing, digital marketers dig into the data through online metrics like website analytics, email open rates, the number of clicks on paid ads, and the engagement of customers. While for traditional marketing, offline data is utilized such as foot traffic and ratings of television or radio channels for finding a way to devise relevant digital strategies.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Traditional and Digital Marketing

When it comes to the traditional form of marketing, it is mostly undervalued due to the huge impact of the internet and digital media. But traditional marketing still has its own place when it comes to consumers’ interests. The only thing that affects it the most is the budget that is required for sharing your campaigns on televisions, radios, or magazines.

Now talking about digital marketing, they are more effective with a broader reach and fewer money requirements. According to stats as per Invesp, around 70% of the customers search for the products online to check reviews of products and services from various companies. This affects their decision-making a lot.

Not just this, according to the Internet Live Stats, Google receives more than 77,000 searches per second! This shows how much time spending people do on the internet and digital marketing thus having a strong handle on reaching more customers.

Coming to the traditional channels, include outdoor mediums like billboards and posters, broadcasting mediums like TV and radio, print mediums like magazines and newspapers, direct emails, telemarketing mediums like phone and text message, window displays, and signs. In a similar way, digital marketing channels include social media like Facebook and Instagram, websites, content marketing, affiliate marketing, inbound marketing, email marketing, PPC (pay per click), and SEM (search engine marketing).

Let’s now discuss the strengths and weaknesses of both traditional and digital marketing one by one here.

Strengths of Traditional Marketing

  1. Can be understood easily and very influential: The billboards are visually bold and powerful, just like TV commercials that are as effective on people. They’re very entertaining and easy to grasp.
  2. Printed advertisement is permanent and long-lasting: When you have an advert in an issue of a magazine, it stays longer even after the magazine is recycled. It’s beneficial when the readers have the habit of making personal collections.
  3. Very much memorizable: The real-life ads are more memorable in comparison to the online ads that you scroll down once and forget later. Various when you watch an advertisement on any window, it will be printed on your mind.

Weaknesses of Traditional Marketing     

  1. Difficult to evaluate your campaigns: There are brand trackers that are present for tracking your traditional marketing campaigns. But they don’t have the depth or the understanding required for analyzing how those campaigns are doing.
  2. Expensive budget: When you are just starting out your business, this is a little costly to have enough funds to spend on great campaigns like an ad in Vogue magazine. Even if you choose to spend this much money, it will not be of use for expanding your business immediately.
  3. No direct interaction with customers: As you are not conversing with your customers directly, you won’t know how they’re going to be affected by your traditional campaigns.

Strengths of Digital Marketing

  1. Many options for getting engaged: With the help of digital channels like social media, you can easily see what your customers are thinking about your brand. Their sharings, number of likes, and positive feedback about your products or services will give you insights into how you can improve.
  2. Easy evaluation of your campaigns: The tools utilized for analyzing and tracking digital marketing campaigns are very much in-depth and provide a clear understanding. Marketing efforts are very worth it especially when it’s easily trackable.
  3. Targeting a particular audience is possible: Digital marketing tools are capable of targeting a particular audience, for instance, a 29-year female artist who likes drinking Pepsi. With the power of various tools, creating content for this advertisement can be done easily.

Weaknesses of Digital Marketing

  1. Frustrating to scroll down through Digital ads: Consider a case when you want to see your old posts with your school friends on your previous Facebook group. Then while scrolling down the homepage, you might encounter sponsored ads and loading issues that become frustrating.
  2. Not that much permanent: When your potential customers are surfing on the internet and they come across your ad, they might click away elsewhere. This way, your ad will be gone in a moment. The same goes for emails as they can be forgotten easily as well.
  3. Continuous evolvement: The digital media and technologies are always renewing and updating. Moreover, the different types of channels require a level of specialty and knowledge as well. For this, you would need to have social media professionals for executing your digital marketing campaigns.

Which Marketing Should You Use For Your Company?

Using both marketing methods is necessary for running your business. When you follow a balanced mix of traditional and digital marketing campaigns, it will make your progress speed up. Traditional and digital marketing acts as inseparable parts that work in unison in the process of the formation of marketing strategies.

Even in this modern world, you cannot go without any of the marketing methods as they are capable of working together. For instance, Guinness has the most influential TV commercials that incorporated the power of cinematography in a unique way. For more than 20 years, the classic ‘Surfer’ campaign of Guinness was one of the best TV commercials of all time.

But even with this much influence, Guinness needed to adapt according to modern digital marketing. This was due to the recent impact of the internet and digital media on the everyday lives of the common people. You cannot miss out on the newest powerful marketing strategies that give you more reach to the audience.

What Guinness actually did was that they created videos for various social media platforms, especially Facebook and Instagram. They wanted to make use of digital marketing practices and also reach a wider and younger audience.

This time, they didn’t just focus on the advertisement for televisions but they tailor-made them first according to social media. They kept which were their target audiences before making their videos and formed them as such.

Then, this turned out to be the stunning visuals and effective social media campaigns for Compton cowboys who cared for their horses in California. These videos were shareable on Instagram and trendy as seen in the recent social media campaigns.


To conclude about traditional marketing vs digital marketing, we can say that both the marketing techniques, traditional and digital have their own significance. Besides this, they both share the same goal, that is, to advertise your company’s products and services. The only difference is how to approach it and create awareness about your business or brand.

Both of these techniques have their own pros and cons that we discussed above, but still traditional marketing lacks in terms of important factors like the budget. Only big-budget companies can afford them at the beginning time of their business. So, small budget companies are at a disadvantage and they should start out with a digital marketing agency first to establish themselves online.

What do you think?

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