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Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing: The What, The Why & The How

August 20, 2021
Chloe Wilkinson

What is marketing? It’s the process of getting a message about something to the people that need to see it, whether that’s letting kids know there’s a funky new cereal that’s just hit the shelves, or making dads aware of the Elvis tribute act performing at the local bar next week. Whatever the situation, word needs to get out, otherwise, no one will buy or turn up because they don’t know about it. 

Marketing recently had a dramatic change from traditional to digital. You can probably guess what these two genres of marketing cover, but I’ll go over them in further detail later. Suddenly everyone was online and instead of looking at the noticeboard full of flyers while waiting for the train, people started scrolling on Instagram or checking what their pal just tagged them in on Facebook. Companies started to recognize that unless they wanted to go bust, they needed a new marketing strategy, thus digital marketing became a prevalent part of every business’ sales approach.

Old but Gold

As the name suggests, traditional marketing uses a more conventional approach to getting the message across to an audience – it’s the sort of marketing that has been around since long before anything digital existed. Traditional marketing involves promotional print materials, such as flyers and posters, as well as radio ads, catalogues, and telemarketing. 

This type of marketing worked really well, and it still does. In fact, a company ideally needs to be good at both digital and traditional marketing to be as successful as possible, however, the need for traditional marketing is no longer as great as the need for digital. 


New & Improved

To put it simply, digital marketing is any type of marketing that’s online which promotes goods or services through electronic content. Websites, blogs, email marketing and – of course – social media are all types of digital marketing as they send a message to an audience through digital channels. 

In 1991, the internet began to blow up, and marketing as we knew it suddenly found itself in a race to keep up with changes in demand. Everyone has a phone and access to the internet now, so if you’re not maximizing that opportunity then you’re not marketing correctly. Facebook ads are the new poster boards.

But Then Why Do We Need Both Marketing Strategies?

You might be wondering what the point is in using traditional marketing as well as digital – surely there’s no need for it when no one’s really looking at what’s stapled to the lamp post? The thing with digital marketing is that not everyone is completely tech-savvy. Digital channels, like social media, are very new and complicated to use for people that have lived their life without them. By solely using digital marketing, it’s impossible to reach everyone in your audience, especially if your product or service is aimed at older generations. 

With that said, digital marketing has the potential to reach a much wider audience than traditional marketing. There are only so many leaflets you can drop through people’s doors! The internet is everywhere, which means that even if your company is in Kent, there’s a possibility people in Istanbul will see your campaign. This can be great, but traditional marketing, especially for a local business, can be useful to make sure the audience you really want to target sees your advertising. 

Money, Money, Money

When it comes to cost, there are pros and cons to both marketing strategies. With traditional marketing, it’s not necessarily expensive to print 1,000 flyers, but if you decide to change your logo, want a new colour scheme, or run out of flyers, you need to order more, and these small sums start to add up. Digital marketing, on the other hand, has a rather large initial cost. This can be daunting, but this cost is often a one-off, and for things like social media, there’s no cost attached at all. 

When it comes down to it, the amount you spend once on a beautiful website design that will last you 5 years will probably end up being the same you spend repeatedly ordering flyers over 2 years. On the topic of money, traditional marketing and digital marketing are both investments that should be made.

How to be a Successful Marketer

Creating both conventional and digital marketing content can be tricky, so it’s important you spend time with the creation or reach out to a trusted marketing agency (like us!). Make sure your marketing gets the message across, is in the right place for the right people – different social media platforms have different audiences – and is eye-catching. With so many billboards and Insta ads, you need to try and create something that really stands out so people don’t just walk or scroll past. 

Have a main focus on digital marketing, but remember to keep some elements of traditional marketing just to make sure you’re definitely targeting everyone. Stick to a colour scheme, create a brand for your business and make things exciting and engaging no matter what your industry. There’s now so much opportunity for people to see your promotions, whether it’s online or in a magazine, so make sure you don’t miss out!

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