Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing

Companies may classify their marketing options into two broad categories: traditional marketing and digital marketing. What follows is an examination of the differences between traditional and digital marketing, a discussion of the various forms of advertising that fall under the traditional marketing umbrella, and an answer to the question of whether or not digital marketing will eventually replace traditional marketing.

Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing

What is Digital Marketing?

The rise of the internet and a company’s online presence are central to the field of digital marketing. Some examples of these methods of promotion are as follows:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Paid Search Advertising
  • Website Optimization
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Marketing Automation
  • Email Marketing
  • PPC and SEM Marketing

Basically, there are a plethora of online channels that can be utilized as part of digital marketing to connect with consumers where they already spend the majority of their time online. Promotional activities may include enhancing a website’s visibility in search engine results, creating and distributing sponsored or promoted content specifically for a social media audience, or publishing ads on large, well-known websites like Google or Facebook. The use of email marketing campaigns is also very common.

The four P’s of marketing strategy—product, price, place, and promotion—are met by digital marketing, which is based on the user’s regular online activity. Digital marketing makes an effort to be where customers are online, while traditional marketing meets customers where they are physically located, such as at home, by the phone, on the road, or in a doctor’s waiting room.

Digital marketing has quickly surpassed traditional forms of advertising as the preferred method of promotion for businesses in today’s hyper-connected world. Many organizations now offer their services exclusively online, whether it’s helping people draft legal wills or guiding them through online substance abuse counseling. With digital marketing, you can more quickly and easily reach a larger audience and more precisely target them with your advertisements. To stay competitive, businesses of all sizes need to prioritize digital marketing, which is the fastest growing area of advertising.

What is Traditional Marketing?

When we talk about “traditional” advertising, we’re talking about a wide range of channels. Prior to the advent and rise of the internet, all of these mediums existed and were the preferred method for companies to reach their target markets and for those target markets to be exposed to advertising.

There are 5 main types of traditional advertising:

  • Print Marketing
  • Broadcast Marketing
  • Direct Mail Marketing
  • Telephone Marketing
  • Outdoor Marketing

Print Marketing

Publications like magazines and newspapers that feature ads and product placement. The American Magazine Association claims that the return on investment (ROI) for magazines and newspapers is 125% higher than that of other traditional media.

Broadcast Traditional Marketing

Audio commercials include those heard on the radio, podcasts, and television. Many professionals in the field feared that broadcast marketing would become obsolete when streaming services first emerged. However, IBISWorld Reports indicates that broadcasters have successfully adapted to the digital age, and that industry revenues have increased by 3.6% over the past five years.

Direct Mail Marketing

Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing

Snail mail is an excellent marketing tool, especially in communities and among specific demographics that are accustomed to receiving printed materials in the mail. This form of advertising could be effective if your demographic consists primarily of people who are older than the average internet user. Alliance Business Services discovered that 56 percent of customers found this type of advertising to be the most credible.

Telephone Marketing


This also applies to text message and phone call marketing. Statistically, telemarketing is the least preferred approach to reaching potential customers. Nearly 18,000 complaints about telemarketers are received by the Federal Trade Commission each year. According to Private Citizen, telemarketers generate roughly 148 million unwanted calls daily. The National Fraud Information Center estimates that $40 billion is lost each year due to fraud calls, which has a negative impact on public opinion of the industry as a whole.

Outdoor Advertising

Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing

Billboards, posters, and fliers are all examples of this kind of marketing material. The outdoor advertising industry has been around for a long time, and it’s still one of the most effective forms of traditional marketing. This is because people all over the world spend countless hours each week sitting in traffic or driving for work, creating captive audiences for advertisers. Fit Small Business reports that seven out of ten consumers make purchasing decisions while commuting, and that thirty percent of motorists have stopped by a business because of a billboard.

Will Digital Marketing Replace Traditional Marketing?

Traditional marketing is obviously less relevant than it once was, but it can still be useful in certain niches. Traditional advertising methods are still used by many businesses because they are cost-effective, widely used, and can help them reach their target audiences. Because people spend so much time in their cars, billboards continue to be an effective form of advertising. The average American spends 17,600 minutes a year in their car (according to a study from Arbitron). Added up, that’s a grand total of 293 hours. On average, adults drive for hundreds of hours and thousands of miles each year, putting them in the position of captive audience. Outdoor marketing will always have a place as long as people like to spend time outside. This traditionally printed form of marketing has begun to incorporate elements from the online world, creating a hybrid method of promotion. Digital billboards, for instance, employ the tools of digital marketing to disseminate multiple ads to specific demographics at fixed outdoor media locations.

Broadcast marketing is just one example of a traditional marketing method that is gaining ground, and a sizable portion of the population continues to put faith in print and TV commercials. That’s the norm they were brought up in, so they find comfort in it. Even though traditional marketing isn’t expected to expand as quickly as digital in the coming years, it will still have value for some companies in some locations. Although it’s not necessarily where a company should begin their brand promotion efforts, it can be useful when used in tandem with digital methods.


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