Small businesses often struggle to decide on which form of marketing is best – traditional marketing vs. digital marketing. This is typical because their budgets will only allow for one form. Both traditional marketing and digital marketing have their benefits and drawbacks, so it’s not an easy decision to make.
To help you make a decision, we are going to consider the advantages and disadvantages of both traditional and digital marketing and how to find a balance between the two.
Firstly, let’s begin with a clarification of what traditional and digital marketing are:
Traditional marketing is anything that isn’t digital used to promote your brand, product or business. There are many different examples of traditional marketing that include print advertisements in magazines and newspapers or tangible items such as business cards.
It can also include commercials on radio or TV, traditional posters, flyers, brochures or billboards. An additional and overlooked form of traditional marketing is when people find a business via a network or referral.
This allows you to eventually build a relationship with them.
Digital marketing is constantly evolving and as long as technology advances, so too will the forms of digital marketing available to us. Different types of digital marketing include social media mentions and promotion via Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest etc, websites, banner ads and YouTube.
Digital marketing has similarities to traditional advertising, however, it specifically makes use of digital devices. Digital marketing is considered a form of inbound marketing and the goal is for people to find you. Businesses put ads and content out there for potential customers to find.
People could find this contact in a number of ways. People could perform an organic online search via a search engine such as Google or Bing, find your business via reading your content that’s been published on an article or blog or via a social media network.
The more someone sees your business’s content, the more familiar they will become with your brand. This results in an eventual bond of trust and rapport via your online presence.
Let’s move forward and looking at traditional marketing vs. digital marketing.
The benefits of traditional marketing
1. You can reach your target audience with ease
Digital marketing has evolved and can be specific, but not as specific as some traditional marketing methods. For example, if you want to reach a customer base in a certain area then consider a radio ad to play in one location either a region or city.
Or, if you have a specific area within that city or region you wish to target, then direct mail marketing with flyers or postcards direct to households within an area you desire.
2. It’s easy to understand for all
Whilst most of the world is almost clued up to the ideas and techniques behind the digital world, there is still a generation where it’s a new concept and takes some getting used to. Lots of people still avoid anything digital and online. When you use direct marketing, you are advertising in a way that’s simple, easy to understand and effective.
Disadvantages of traditional marketing
1. There is very little interaction between the method used and the customers
You don’t tend to be able to build as close and as strong of a relationship with your customers via traditional marketing methods.
Rather, it’s more of service of providing information to the public that your business or brand exists. This is in the hope that they then use the brand or business in the future.
2. It’s more costly for your business
Radio and print advertisements are quite costly, especially in comparison to online ads where you can set and control your own budget.
Printing materials can be expensive and you need to hire people to distribute these.
3. Difficult to measure the success rate
With direct marketing techniques, it’s difficult to measure whether the marketing strategy was successful or not.
It’s easier to measure if you offered a flyer with a “discount” deal only with use on presenting the flyer. Then, you could measure how successful that deal was.
Advantages of digital marketing
1. You can target both local and international audiences
Business is all about growth, and digital marketing gives you the opportunity to reach a market in a different country, meaning your product or service could reach far more people. In addition, you can also tailor your campaigns to specific audience demographics, such as location, gender, interests and age.
This could result in your campaign being more effective. This targeting is available in a variety of digital marketing channels, giving you more audience options.
2. Your audience has control over how they receive your content
People like to feel like they are in control and digital marketing provides you with a diverse range of digital marketing channels to deliver your content. This, in turn, means your audience has a multitude of ways to receive it, based on their own preference.
One person may prefer to read a blog post, another may like to watch a YouTube video. This is a significant benefit over traditional marketing which doesn’t give the audience a choice.
Some people hate phone calls at inconvenient times or receiving flyers in their mailbox on stuff that may not be interested in.
In contrast, those online have the choice to opt-in or out of communications and often it’s relevant because they were the ones searching for it in the first place.
3. Interaction with your audience is possible with the smart use of social media networks
Traditional marketing methods allow for little, if any audience interaction, whereas in digital marketing, it’s encouraged. You can encourage your audience to take action, such as read about your service or product, visit your website, leave a review and buy them.
4. Digital marketing is cost-efficient
With so many types of digital marketing on offer, the cost of digital marketing is set by you. Not by a radio or TV company who charge a specific rate for an ad, or someone to print flyers. You choose whether you want to invest in paid ads online and how much.
5. You can measure success easily
Thanks to Google Analytics and the insights tools offered by most social media channels, you are able to check the progress of your campaigns at any time. This means you can see what methods are working and what ones aren’t. This allows you to adapt your strategy for success and try all the different types of digital marketing channels available.
Disadvantages of digital marketing
1. Customer complaints and feedback visible and open to scrutiny from the public
Your business is constantly on view and under scrutiny and all it takes is a couple of bad visible reviews to cause disinterest and a decline in trust. It’s important you have a team in place who can deal with online complaints in a quick and efficient manner. This is to ensure no damage is done to your brand.
2. You need the knowledge
Before you jump into digital marketing, you need to know what you are doing. Otherwise, your efforts won’t be successful and you won’t be getting the optimal results from your marketing strategy.
However, this is still a new industry in the scheme of things and therefore there is a degree of learning required.
This learning isn’t just isolated to one person, but the whole team in the business. Whether you decide to train your employees and business via online resources, courses and reading. Or, you choose to hire someone who knows what they are doing, is up to you. But both options could result in extra time or money.
A healthy balance is key
When it comes to the question of traditional marketing vs digital marketing, the truth is, both digital marketing and traditional marketing should co-exist as they can complement each other very well.
Rather than taking an all or nothing approach, it’s far better to opt for a multi-channel approach that leverages the unique benefits of paper with the accessibility and convenience of digital.
If you balance the two marketing strategies well, then you’ve got a business that’s a force to be reckoned with!
There are so many ways to combine both digital marketing channels and traditional marketing, you just have to find a way that suits you.
Lots of brands gain their customers via a digital strategy, then use a traditional method to keep them loyal. For example, sending out a monthly magazine with discount codes, free delivery or free samples.
This form of traditional marketing instils a personal touch into an online transaction and since the customer has already used and trusts your brand, they won’t mind receiving a discount via the post!
This is the end of our traditional marketing vs. digital marketing.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this post on traditional marketing vs. digital marketing. Rather than simply choosing one strategy, your budget should involve both. We think a well-balanced combination of both is the perfect solution to get your business on the road to success.