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Difference between Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing

by Jeffery Opoku August 15, 2023
With the internet gaining greater ground, businesses have the option of choosing which avenues to promote their products and services. The question is “Which way should you go- traditional or digital?”
To answer this question, you need to have an idea of what both approaches entail to make the right decision. Let’s take an enlightening journey on both marketing approaches, shall we?
First, what is Traditional Marketing?
This kind of marketing is multi-faceted, as it combines several channels of advertising. It is generally the most common as we see it in our everyday lives.
If you have watched TV, listened to the radio, read the papers, come across one or two fliers or received a phone call from a business or company, you have most likely come across traditional marketing.
Although viewed as archaic, it is still an effective way of marketing products and services.
A typical example of the power of traditional marketing is in the case of the 2012 Super Bowl. It recorded a whopping audience of 111.3 million viewers in the United States.
According to a survey conducted by Nielsen, the Super Bowl is watched for the adverts, and about 51% of viewers say they enjoy the commercials more than the actual game.
So, what are some of the benefits of traditional marketing?
Believe it or not, traditional marketing has some benefits marketing agencies need to consider.
  • Viewed by everyone
People who use digital marketing are tech and internet savvy. But traditional marketing is accessible to everyone and anyone.
For example, how can you miss a huge billboard advertising the latest Mercedes Benz model?
Or the front page of the Daily Graphic newspaper sold by the young man in traffic? This kind of marketing catches us unawares and in some cases, may even lead to impulse buying.
  • Traditional marketing maintains the “human touch”
In a fast-paced era where the element of face-to-face contact is becoming a thing of the past, traditional marketing could be a breath of fresh air.
Especially as it maintains that element of physical contact with the target audience. This is because it involves sometimes contacting the customer through phone calls, visits, etc.
  • Traditional marketing is multi-faceted
Traditional marketing combines several strategies as we mentioned earlier. These include print, television and radio and telephone calls.
This broad spectrum enables the marketing agency to reach a wide audience across a large geographic area.
P.S. Did you know that:
  • In the UK, 57% of people see television advertising as the most impactful? The second highest is newspaper advertising, at 15%.
  • Radio advertising produced more than $17 billion in ad profits in 2011? According to research conducted by Nielsen, radio ads are also the least overlooked in the US. This is because almost 70% of people stay tuned during commercials.
These advantages sound great, but what about the disadvantages?
  • It’s quite expensive to maintain
To get traditional ads done, marketing agencies will, of course, have to invest some money to enable the campaign to be a successful one. In the digital marketing space, it does not cost much to add extra product and service pages to your website.
For traditional marketing ads, you pay for them. This means whenever you need to update your product information, you, for example, may have to pull down the old billboard and replace it with a new one.
Or get an extra ad space in the newspaper. Not forgetting the cost of delivering fliers, emails etc. to your target audience. With digital marketing, you can spread info can with the click of a button.
  • Viewed as “too general”
Traditional marketing techniques are often a bit generic as it may be difficult to target specific customers. This is because consumer habits and views are not tracked through traditional marketing.
So, instead of identifying trends and developing ads tailored to suit those trends, the ads remain generic since it is being presented to a large audience.
What about Digital Marketing?
As an online marketing expert, Neil Patel ( puts it, “digital marketing is any form of marketing products or services that involve electronic devices.”
It is about trying to catch people’s attention using many avenues. Such as e-mail marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing and content marketing.
Neil explains that with a great number of people on their phones, any business that wants to progress needs to take on digital marketing as well.
Does digital marketing have advantages?
Yes, it does!
  • It’s less costly
You can build digital marketing strategies at little cost. This is because not much goes into printing and acquiring physical ad space. Digital marketing enables marketing agencies to do more at less cost, and faster too.
  • Easier to measure
Whereas it is difficult to measure feedback through traditional marketing, digital marketing enables marketers to track customer traffic and feedback.
This makes digital marketing progressive since you make changes in response to these metrics. There are several tools that make tracking of feedback easier. Most common include Google AdWords and Google Analytics.
  • Easy to share
Imagine you went to a salon and saw a few fliers at the front desk. Chances are you may pass by without picking up any of the fliers. Assuming you did pick up the flier, what are the chances that you will pass it on to someone else?
With digital marketing, sharing information with others is much easier. It enhances word-of-mouth marketing.
This is done through share buttons and icons that help “spread the word” with the click of a button. No wonder it takes seconds for the news to spread so fast these days!
  • Easier to call your target audience to action
Through pop-up buttons e-books, etc. digital marketing makes it easier to encourage your target audience to decide, buy or read more about your offerings.
This is because it’s not “in-your-face” and gives the potential client some time to follow through by only clicking a button.
But of course, there are a few disadvantages too;
  • Not accessible to everyone
Believe it or not, not everyone has access to the internet or electronic media, and so may not be a part of digital marketing campaigns. Plus, like we said earlier, not everyone is internet and tech savvy.
This could in effect cause marketing agencies to miss out on a segment of their target audience if they do not integrate their digital marketing strategy with traditional marketing as well.
  • High competition rate
These days it’s not as easy to dominate a marketing space as it was before. There could be one clothing line advertising on Instagram today, and before you realize there are about ten different others!
This means to succeed in the digital space, marketing agencies must be on their toes 24/7 to watch what their competitors are doing, so they can keep up. Otherwise, they may have to kiss their position in the digital space goodbye!
  • Security Fears
Especially in Ghana, people prefer to stick to what they know than what they do not know. There have been several stories of hacks and security breaches.
This sometimes makes people uncomfortable to allow digital marketers to get closer.
On the flip-side, marketing agencies also need to be cautious when employing digital marketing, to prevent issues such as a leak of customer information etc.
After all this, we’re pretty sure you’re wondering which strategy is best to choose. Well, you need to consider what you want to achieve through your marketing campaign.

Finding out what works best for you

Both marketing options complement each other. Nevertheless, as businesses are transitioning into the digital world, becoming tech-savvy and digital-oriented is important.
Also, it’s important you know which option will help reach your target audience faster, then go for it! Don’t be hesitant to combine both either. Find what works best for you.

Your Turn,

Which option are you likely to go for? Would you go traditional or digital? Let us know in the comment section.
If you’re also wondering what you need to know and do when you want to hire a digital marketing agency. Download our e-book and let’s show you how!
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