The Benefits of Digital Marketing Compared to Traditional Marketing

Marketing is one of the oldest practices in the world, even older than you might think. Some of the first marketers on planet Earth were plants. Plants go to great lengths to attract the right “customers” so their pollen and seeds are distributed. It’s a simple idea with immense potential for growth and evolution. 

One of the most important aspects of running a successful business is a good marketing strategy. Without it, attracting new customers, engaging with existing patrons, and exploring new business opportunities can be challenging, if not impossible. The human race has been marketing for centuries and in the information age, marketing has undergone a new evolution. Digital marketing or online marketing, social media marketing search engine optimization, virtual reality marketing, and augmented reality marketing are just a few of these new marketing categories.

Say goodbye advertising on the back of a grocery store receipt, bus benches, billboards, and magazine ads. The reason why digital marketing is so important is that all forms of digital marketing are not only more efficient, but they also are cheaper, offer more targeted advertising, and are much easier to track.

What exactly is considered a traditional marketing technique?

  • Television ads and sponsorships
  • Radio ads and sponsorships
  • Magazine ads and sponsored articles
  • Newspaper ads and sponsored articles
  • Catalogs and phonebooks
  • Telephone marketing
  • Billboards
  • Fliers
  • Direct mailings
  • Trade shows and Industry events
  • And more

We have put together a comparison of the benefits of digital marketing and advertising campaigns compared to more traditional marketing strategies to give you an idea of how your business can benefit from prioritizing digital marketing over traditional marketing. 

The Key Benefits of Digital Marketing Compared to Traditional Marketing:

Digital MarketingTraditional Marketing
Cost: An annual digital marketing campaign including Webinars, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, SEO, Content Marketing, PPC advertising, and visual content marketing would cost on average $280,308/year according to Inbound Marketing Inc.Cost: According to a study by Inbound Marketing Inc, the median annual cost for traditional marketing techniques is anywhere from $100,590/year for direct mail to $2,012,000/year for newspaper advertising. The cheapest form of annual traditional marketing is a press release campaign at $15,300/year.
Campaign Tracking: The nature of almost everything in the digital space is the ability to track and measure online interactions. Things like campaign impressions, site traffic, website conversions, social engagement, and more are digital marketing metrics you can track to evaluate and adjust your marketing campaign accordingly. Campaign Tracking: Tracking impressions, conversions, brand awareness, and other marketing metrics is an educated guess at best with traditional marketing. There simply are not very accurate ways to measure how many people listened to a radio ad, how many people opened a piece of direct mail, and how many people glanced at a billboard.  
Audience Targeting: In almost every type of online marketing you have the ability to target hyper-niche consumer categories based on the types of products they buy, the school they attended, groups they’re interested in, keywords they have searched, and site’s they have visited.Audience Targeting: Traditional marketing audience targeting is limited to things like a consumer’s location, language, broad interests, time & date. This level of targeting can be incredibly high-level especially when compared to the hyper-targeted options in online marketing.
Global Reach: Most digital marketing is inherently global reaching. Many forms of digital marketing also make it easier to adapt your campaigns to fit a particular language or culture.Global Reach: Very few forms of traditional marketing and advertising offer a global reach of some sort, but it usually requires something like taking out multiple magazine ad campaigns in the various publications for a particular magazine in each country. That’s still a lot of steps to make a campaign achieve a global reach.
Engagement: Not only can engagement be tracked with digital marketing, but it is also the nature of many online interactions. Digital marketing opens up opportunities for businesses to engage with customers by answering questions, creating affiliate programs, and providing helpful information.Engagement: While many forms of traditional marketing have tried to find ways to engage their viewers, many of them simply can’t compare with digital marketing engagement. And some forms of traditional marketing simply can’t use any kind of engagement, such as billboards, because of the danger of people being distracted while driving.
ROI: Because digital marketing is more affordable, easy to measure, hyper-targeted, globally reaching, and engaging, the ROI of a well-planned online marketing campaign is undeniable. And with all of the data and metrics available through digital marketing, calculating the ROI of digital marketing is even easier.ROI: Without a way to accurately track key marketing metrics, target niche shopper categories, reach consumers on a global scale, and add more engage with prospective customers & existing customers, traditional advertising and marketing campaigns often have a hard time achieving a return on their investment.

Small businesses and eCommerce businesses, in particular, can benefit from many of the advantages of using online marketing. Since it is usually cheaper, more efficient, and easy to track, eCommerce businesses and small businesses can afford to fit digital marketing campaigns into their budget and their available time. 

While the benefits of digital marketing compared to traditional marketing are overwhelmingly positive, this doesn’t mean that all businesses should abandon traditional marketing completely. There are still relevant ways for many businesses, especially local businesses, to take advantage of more traditional marketing techniques. For example, local restaurants will likely benefit from including themselves in local collections of coupon mailings. Businesses that are off the beaten path and difficult to find can typically benefit from purchasing billboards to help direct customers to the right exit or road to reach their location. 

The main thing to keep in mind is to be smart about the types of traditional marketing your business chooses to use. Make sure you’re able to make the debate of why you feel the marketing technique you’re using is going to benefit your business in some way that digital marketing can not.

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