Traditional vs Digital Marketing

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Marketing methods are constantly changing to keep up with the evolving world we live in. Tastes and preferences change and so should our marketing efforts. Over time we have gone from posting flyers through letterboxes to religiously updating our SEO efforts on our company websites, but our marketing goals still remain the same: to increase awareness, generate sales and build loyalty.

Traditional marketing refers to the use of business cards, printed adverts, magazines, posters, brochures and TV commercials etc. Digital marketing encompasses all of these but also focusses on social media, SEO, analysing data, videos and interactive content and more. This method has become a faster, cheaper and more creative form of marketing.



Benefits of Traditional Marketing

Although it may be slightly dated, traditional marketing has several merits, it’s an effective method that should not be forgotten about as it is:

An easy way to reach your local target audience - adverts in local papers, flyers through letterboxes or radio adverts are some ways to reach a local audience effectively.

Easy to understand - this form of communication can be understood by the many, meaning your message can be quickly communicated to your entire target audience. It’s actually quicker to understand compared to digital forms of media “direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media[…] suggesting that it is both easier to understand and more memorable.”

Physical - you may have received flyers through your letterbox and kept them for later reference, the physical marketing material enables people to read through it several times at their own convenience or keep it for when they need it. For example, you probably have a few local takeaway flyers lying around your house for when you next want a pizza.

However, digital marketing has become more efficient with the rise of the internet, it also allows for a flexible budget. Companies can advertise online whatever their budget whereas traditional marketing methods aren’t as flexible on price. It also means there is little interaction between the brand and the consumer making it difficult to measure the success of traditional marketing efforts.


Benefits of Digital Marketing

With the increased use of the internet and social media, there are several new ways to deliver marketing efforts to a target audience. As a whole using the internet enables marketers to target their campaigns at specific people and collect data to make more informed business decisions. With this in mind digital marketing has several benefits:

Businesses can target local and international audiences - marketers can tailor their campaigns to specific demographics including age groups, locations, interests and more. Social media advertising enables brands to deliver the same or slightly different adverts to various demographics as well.

Audiences choose how they prefer to receive marketing efforts - with access to billions of websites users can now choose where they see adverts, some like to watch videos on YouTube whilst others prefer to read a blog. The choice to opt in or out of marketing communications is beneficial because as a brand you will be reaching people who are genuinely interested in your brand.

Increased interaction - two-way communication between brands and consumers has opened up through the use of social media as brands can now engage and reply to user’s comments and consumers can leave feedback. Both are of high value to each other.

Cost effective strategies - social media is essentially free, (you may need to spend some money on cool artwork or a social media person if you don’t know what you’re doing) you can just create a page for your brand and start posting! Setting up adverts is also relatively cheap as you are only charged a nominal amount when someone clicks on your advert. Of course, there are many ways to make sure your social media pages and adverts are fully optimised in order to reach the right people at the right time. SEO is also another digital marketing technique that helps to increase your website traffic but it takes a little more effort to have your site fully and effectively optimised.



Easy data recording and analysis - sites like Google Analytics and social media insight tools are a great way to see who is viewing and interacting with your site, adverts and products online. Results can be viewed in real time and help to identify what is and isn’t working for your brand, you can then make better decisions based on this data.

Real-time results - posting an advert online means your specified audience will start seeing it instantly considering the number of people who are on social media platforms every day whereas traditional marketing methods like posters will take longer for people to see especially if they are hung up or handed out in public. With digital marketing, you can see how many impressions, interactions, click-throughs and other data points your adverts or posts have garnered with just a click of a button.

Brand extension - social media channels have enabled brands to extend their marketing efforts, spreading their message and product offering to as many people as possible. This all helps to create lead generation opportunities; the more times a consumer sees your brand online the more likely they will be to remember you the next time they go to buy something that you offer.

Brands can go viral - any press is good press, right? Going viral is something many marketers dream of due to the huge volume of exposure a brand or campaign can get, however, going viral can be a good or bad thing just look at the reasons McDonalds’ latest advert was pulled. No matter what the advert is, many people are likely to share it with friends on social media causing the advert to gain soaring sales and increased brand awareness. 


By looking at both types of marketing we can conclude that there are several benefits to both. Digital marketing enables marketers to reach specific target audiences and analyse the data to make better future decisions whereas traditional marketing involves more emotional processing which is important for the memory and brand associations. It is therefore important for brands, dependent upon their business goals, to use both traditional and digital marketing techniques in order to create an effective multi-channel approach.

However, brands should also recognise the ROI impact for each method. Due to increased accessibility and efficiency, the average business implementing digital marketing could expect to reach 2,000 people by only spending $125 on search and social media advertising. Comparing this to the $1,800 it would take to reach the same number of people using traditional marketing methods it’s easy to see which one has the bigger ROI. This clearly demonstrates why digital marketing is the more commonly chosen method.


Get in contact with Perceptive Flow to get your marketing strategy off the ground, we offer a wide range of digital marketing services including SEO, social media, data analysis and more to suit your business needs.

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