When companies consider marketing strategies, they may find that their available channels fall into two main types – traditional marketing and digital marketing.  Below, we’ll explore traditional vs digital marketing, what types of advertising fall under traditional marketing, and answer the question of whether we think digital marketing will replace traditional marketing.

Why Digital Marketing is Better Than Traditional Marketing

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing focuses on the advent of the internet, and a company’s presence on it. It includes some of the following types of marketing strategies:

Essentially, digital marketing includes a ton of different routes to meet users where they spend the most time- the world wide web! It includes things like optimizing a website and all it’s content to appear higher in search engine rankings, targeting social media users with promoted and sponsored content, or running ads on popular websites like Google or Facebook. Email marketing campaigns are another popular method, too!

Digital marketing manages to satisfy the four P’s of marketing strategy: product, price, place, and promotion all on a user’s daily interaction with the internet. While traditional marketing meets customers where they’re at in terms of physical location: at home, by the phone, on the road, in the doctor’s office, digital marketing takes steps to be where customers are online.

As society has shifted, too many people spending more time online than in the actual real world, digital marketing has quickly become the most popular and effective form of marketing for most businesses. It’s easier and faster to reach a larger audience as well as being able to better target you want to advertise too. Digital is far and away the most rapidly growing sector of marketing and crucial for businesses both big and small.

Traditional Phone Marketing

What is Traditional Marketing?

Traditional marketing encompasses several different mediums. All of these mediums essentially existed and were the chosen method for companies to reach their target markets, and those target markets to be exposed to advertising prior to the invention and rise of the internet.

Traditional marketing can be broken down into five main categories:

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

Print Marketing

Print Marketing

The advertisement and product placement in magazines, newspapers and other printed publications. According to the American Magazine Association, magazines and newspapers have the highest ROI at 125% compared to other traditional mediums.

Broadcast Marketing

The spoken advertisements on radio, podcasts and commercials on TV. When streaming services first hit the scene, many industry experts worried that broadcast marketing would be rendered ineffective. However, according to IBISWorld Reports, broadcasters have adjusted well to the digital age, and the industry revenues have grown by 3.6% in the last five years.

Direct Mail Marketing

Using snail mail is especially effective in communities and to reach target demographics that are accustomed to direct print marketing. If your target consumer is older and perhaps doesn’t spend as much time on the internet as younger generations, this marketing avenue makes sense. In fact, Alliance Business Services found 56% of customers perceived this form of marketing as the most trustworthy amongst other avenues.

Direct Mail Marketing

Telephone Marketing

This includes telemarketing with phone calls or text messages. According to statistics, telemarketing calls are the least popular method of marketing. In just one year, the Federal Trade Commission receives close to 18,000 complaints about telemarketers. Telemarketers make about 148 million junk calls a day according to Private Citizen. It’s also dangerous- the National Fraud Information Center says Americans lose $40 billion a year to fraud calls, diminishing trust and reception for the industry overall.

Outdoor Advertising

This type of advertising typically includes billboards, posters, and fliers. The outdoor advertising industry is one of the oldest forms of traditional marketing, and is still one of the most effective. This is because commuting creates captive audiences all over the globe that spend hours in traffic or on the road for various purposes. According to Fit Small Business, 7 out of 10 consumers make buying decisions when they are commuting, and 30% of drivers visited a business after being prompted by a billboard.

Digital Marketing vs Conventional Marketing

Will Digital Marketing Replace Traditional Marketing?

While traditional marketing is clearly not as relative as it used to be, it can still effective in specific markets. Depending on your budget, location and market goals, traditional forms of advertising are still used for many companies. In fact, billboard advertising is still highly effective because of the amount of time people spend in a car. For example, Americans spend an average of 17,600 minutes in their car every year (according to a study from Arbitron). That’s 293 hours total. Adults also travel an average of 13,506 miles per year, making them a captive driving audience for hundreds of hours and thousands of miles a year. As long as we are spending time out in the world, there will always be a place for outdoor advertising. This form of traditional advertising has also started to blend with the digital world, making it a hybrid form of marketing. For example, digital billboards utilize the technology of digital marketing to convey many different ads and target certain groups, but the traditional placements and locations of outdoor media.

There are also still forms of traditional marketing that are actively growing, like broadcast marketing, and a large sector of the population still trusts traditional ads. That’s what they grew up with and that’s what they are most accustomed to. It’s impossible to predict what the future holds hundreds of years from now, but in the near future traditional marketing, while not growing nearly as quickly as digital, still has a place for certain businesses and in certain places. It may not be the first place a business should look to promote their brand, but it can be effective especially in conjunction with digital marketing efforts.

So to make a long story short, digital marketing will not replace traditional marketing entirely, but has unquestionably taken a huge portion of the market.