Digital vs. Traditional Marketing

Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing

There are many misconceptions as to what digital marketing really is and how it differs from traditional forms of marketing. The question often asked is, which is more effective? Both have their pros and cons, however digital marketing offers greater data tracking options so marketing spend can be allocated more precisely to achieve maximum ROI. By comparison, most traditional marketing tracking is performed manually and some forms, such as subscriptions and signage, exactly how many have seen/read cannot be calculated.

A quick primer: digital marketing primarily includes web design, web development, pay-per-click, social media, email marketing, and search engine optimization, many of which include tracking elements so the effectiveness of campaigns associated with each discipline is measured. Therefore digital marketing initiatives are fully accountable and trends, negative impacts, etc. can be monitored and swiftly remediated.

Traditional marketing includes printed and audio content, from informational and promotional brochures, flyers, magazines, articles, billboards, radio spots, etc. While the effectiveness of these initiatives can also be measured, tracking is not as precise, also the audience reach is not as vast as it once was. Additionally, traditional marketing campaigns can cost far more than digital initiatives.

It would appear that digital marketing has it all over traditional marketing channels. Not so fast. When making a traditional marketing vs digital marketing comparison, it is important to realize that some forms of traditional marketing have great currency. Direct mail, is one example, By comparison, a time-sensitive email promotion can be overlooked because the recipient’s online mailbox is full. To be successful, both traditional and digital marketing campaigns have to be well-researched and executed.

What is the best way to influence prospects and to make the sale? Global Consulting Director and renowned brand strategist, Dr. Thomas Oosthuizen cites the correlation between how measurable data affects ROI (return on investment). Oosthuizen notes, that for businesses with websites or another type of digital presence, there are ample opportunities to increase exposure, and drive more traffic to the website, thereby increasing sales/revenue and ultimately the ROI.

Audience Segmentation

Audience segmentation is a key component to marketing success. The goal of the marketer is to reach and communicate a message to their intended audience, not random groups. In traditional marketing, ad placement can be made in the publications of the agency or client’s choosing. Similar decisions can be made regarding billboard ads as well. However, segmenting the audience is very broad (those who read the publication may not be interested in the client ad content and we’ll talk about billboard effectiveness later on) therefore conservative when compared to the digital marketers’ approach to segmenting their audiences.

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Ad placement is also key for digital marketing – you can choose where you place web banners and measure the stats of your social media posts, but digital marketing is measured to an exact science. For example, a website visitor is looking for shoes but decided to think about whether or not they wanted to buy them. Later online, the same subject visits their Facebook account and notices an advertisement for the very shoes they were considering right next to trending topics. With the introduction of remarketing, consumers are constantly exposed to advertisements for products they have already searched for and viewed online. This visual reminder influences interacting with that product again much more likely, and even perhaps leads to a sale. There is no way traditional marketing can gauge their audience better. Traditional advertisements are unable to track or measure viewing habits, which brings us to our next example.

Digital Data Can Be Measured More Effectively

Measuring data is only as accurate as the quality of the data itself. Digital marketers can collect more relevant data and therefore can more accurately track how well their marketing efforts are working. This allows them to make better decisions moving forward. Let’s remember the key to effective marketing is knowing how to analyze your data and implement changes based on what the data tells you. For traditional marketing, who can accurately gauge how many people saw a billboard? The best one can expect is a generally estimate of how many cars drove by it, but then you have to consider the accuracy of your guess. Do you know how many people were in each car and how many of them saw the billboard and paid attention? There is a lot of room for error. For digital marketers, measuring data is more accurate as their initiatives collect relevant statistics ranging from a simple impression (views of a particular piece) to something more complex, such as how much time someone spent on a web page and where they clicked (which can lead to why).

A Potentially Larger, More Personal Reach

When comparing the difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing, the latter is untouchable for its ability to communicate brand/messaging, worldwide if needed. The ability to correctly, and successfully target your demographic is crucial to your campaign’s success. For digital marketing, your demographic can range from a local to a global audience, which is something much more difficult to achieve with traditional marketing tactics. A billboard is stationed in one place and publications are generally regional, yet the internet is everywhere. If there’s a language barrier, most, if not all internet browsers can translate the text instantly. This shows marketers that the digital world grants a potential infinite reach to their audience.

A digital presence also provides a chance to interact with members of the target audience. For instance, social media managers can respond to comments or questions, taking advantage of the opportunity to establish a personal connection with their audience. Never before has there been an interactive approach like this, other than traditional customer service.

Our world has become digital, therefore businesses must revise their marketing approach to locate and reach their digital audience. By adding the element of digital tracking to the equation, an effective approach also becomes a cost-effective way to invest in your business’ marketing efforts.

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Active Web Group is a full-service digital marketing agency with experts in PPC Advertising, Digital Branding, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and many other services to help businesses gain market share and to reach their full potential. If you have questions concerning the difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing and how to harness the best initiatives to benefit your business, speak with our team at (800) 978-3417.