We probably don’t need to tell you this, but the world of marketing has changed dramatically over the past few decades.
Prior to the internet, marketing channels included traditional print, mail, and television ads. If you’ve seen Mad Men, you know the deal.
With the rise of the internet, however, digital marketing channels have evolved rapidly and exponentially. And, with the average person spending 6 hours and 42 minutes online each day, it’s no wonder.
Obviously, you want your business to capture a piece of the online market. And there’s a wide range of ways to do so.
But should you go 100% digital? Or does traditional marketing still have a place in the game?
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at both types of marketing and help you make an informed decision about which kind will be best for your unique business needs.
Ultimately, we at RAPTAP Marketing see benefits in both traditional and digital marketing strategies and we won’t be surprised if you decide to opt for a combination of both by the end of this post.
What Is Traditional Marketing?
Traditional marketing includes anything that was around before the internet. Common traditional marketing channels include:
Think big. Think tangible. Outdoor marketing can include billboards, posters, lawn signs, bus/vehicle wraps, banners, murals, window displays, mascots, or even an ad pulled behind an airplane.
Broadcast advertisements usually include television or radio ads.
Print ads include traditional biggies like newspapers, magazines, programs, calendars, and more.
Direct mail campaigns could include flyers, postcards, catalogs, bulky mail, or door hangers.
Telemarketing is a traditional marketing strategy that can involve phoning or texting potential clients. It might include cold calls or special offers.
This category could include conferences, workshops, information booths, guerilla campaigns, and more.
These could be sponsorships, referral campaigns, or interactive events or activities.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Not surprisingly, digital marketing is defined as any type of marketing strategy that takes place in the digital world. As the reach of digital devices continues to expand, new types of digital marketing are developing and evolving continuously. Here are some examples:
Social Media Marketing
This type of marketing involves targeting users of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and more.
Website marketing strategies focus on visitors to specific websites.
Blogging and other forms of content marketing can drive traffic via SEO, direct hits to the site, social media shares, and direct person-to-person sharing.
Similar to direct mail campaigns, email campaigns target specific contacts with deals, reminders, and information.
This type of marketing is an arrangement whereby an online retailer pays a commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.
Inbound marketing focuses on creating valuable content and experiences for customers that keeps them returning time and again and results in long-term relationships.
In this type of digital advertising, marketers only pay when their ad is clicked on. It’s essentially a way to “buy” visits to your site.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Interactive conversations with potential clients in real-time can be an amazing way to engage and retain customers.
Produce your own or sponsor a podcast from a relevant niche. Both options can boost your business and increase customer engagement and loyalty.
Consider webinars, summits, forums, and other fun and creative types of events. As with a real event, the sky is the limit!
The Pros & Cons of Traditional Marketing
Now that we understand the differences between traditional and digital marketing and have seen some examples of each, let’s take a look at their pros and cons.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind when thinking about a traditional marketing campaign:
Pros of Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing campaigns have a lot going for them. Though you might not be able to access them on your smartphone, they can still make a big impact!
A humorous billboard or entertaining radio commercial is familiar, easy to digest, and memorable. You can’t scroll past it in seconds, and it might stick in potential customers’ minds. Face-to-face interactions with customers at an event builds relationships and loyalty, and print ads are permanent. If clients want to take a second look, they know where to find your information!
Plus, there’s something cool these days about holding a tangible item in your hands. People are actively looking to disconnect from their phones and engage with real-life experiences. So don’t let that opportunity pass you by.
Cons of Traditional Marketing
Not surprisingly, there are also quite a few cons to traditional marketing channels in the quickly-changing world of instant information.
The flip side of being permanent is that you cannot pivot a traditional marketing campaign. If something changes with your product or your campaign is impacted by late-breaking developments, you can’t just edit it on the spot. It’s already out there.
The truth is also that traditional marketing strategies are typically more expensive than their digital counterparts, and their results are less measurable. In addition, communication is one-way with traditional marketing campaigns with little opportunity for direct interaction or consumer feedback. While not always a bad thing, this is definitely a factor to take into consideration.
The Pros & Cons of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing reaches the 57% of the global population who are internet users and taps into the fact that 73% of all e-commerce sales now come from mobile. Digital marketing is a massive component of a successful business these days, but it’s not all rosy skies all the time. Here are some pros and cons to keep in mind:
Pros of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is typically much less expensive than traditional marketing. In fact, for certain types of digital marketing (such as Pay-Per-Click), you don’t pay a cent unless potential customers actually engage with (click on) your ad.
With digital marketing, you can target potential clients very precisely based on demographics, including age, gender, location, and online activity. Digital marketing also offers the potential to reach customers across the globe, even if you’re only targeting a niche audience.
It’s also very easy to measure the success of a digital advertising campaign. You can monitor and track your campaign with a high degree of accuracy and tweak your next campaign accordingly with confidence.
Cons of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is less permanent than traditional marketing and is easy to scroll past, minimize, or ignore. If you closed or missed an ad you were actually interested in, there might be no way to find it again. In addition, digital ads are often perceived as annoying or irritating. Potential clients may feel frustrated with your business if your ad keeps interrupting their social media time.
The world of digital marketing is constantly evolving and, therefore, requires dedicated learning and experimenting to stay up to date. In many cases, separate specialists are recommended for each digital marketing platform. Depending on the size of your business, this is not always feasible.
Traditional VS. Digital: Who Comes Out On Top?
Every business is unique, and so is every marketing campaign.
That being said, we at RAPTAP Marketing strongly believe that business owners in today’s market absolutely must have an online presence and be using at least some digital marketing strategies in order to succeed. In a world where 80% of shoppers do their research online before investing in a product or service, can you really afford to not get a piece of the pie?
To play devil’s advocate, though, everyone is using digital marketing strategies and you might actually boost your business by diversifying your marketing campaigns and drawing in clients with traditional (think retro) types of marketing. The strengths of traditional marketing have stood the test of time. Consider your competition and ideal clientele, then plan accordingly.
The truth is that digital and traditional marketing techniques both have their strong points, and we cannot unequivocally state which is better. (Though if we were forced to choose just one, it would probably be digital in this day and age).
But why not use both? Can traditional and digital marketing techniques complement each other?
The answer is a resounding yes.
Combining Traditional & Digital Marketing
Including a website link (or QR code) in a print ad, such as a postcard that is mailed directly to a potential client’s home, gives you the opportunity to retarget visitors who navigate to your landing page.
Likewise, sending bulky mail packages can grab potential clients’ attention much more than digital outreach might. Once again, you can then redirect targeted traffic to your website or social media page.
Successful companies are also doing the opposite—converting nostalgic or familiar traditional marketing experiences to the digital marketing world. Examples might include shooting ads specifically for Instagram or YouTube or hosting a previously in-person event digitally—but including tangible elements such as printed swag for participants.
No matter what you end up deciding on, the truth remains that tapping multiple channels and platforms for marketing will increase the strength of your strategy and, ultimately, the success of your business.
Which Type of Marketing Is Right for Me?
The answer really depends on three things:
What Are Your Specific Marketing Needs?
Choosing the best marketing strategy for you is all about knowing your business inside and out. Are you focusing on brand building? Seeking to reach a local audience? Trying to build long-lasting relationships with your customers? Hoping to out-market your competition?
If you’ve already put a lot of energy into traditional marketing materials and aren’t seeing the results you want, maybe it’s time to focus your energy on digital marketing for a while. Conversely, if digital ads just aren’t getting you the traction you’d hoped for, perhaps something tangible in your customers’ hands is just the ticket.
What Is Your Budget?
If your marketing budget is small, digital marketing will probably give you the most bang for your buck. That being said, if you have a few extra dollars to invest in potential clients, a well-placed and long-lasting print ad or billboard might just be in order.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
If you’re targeting Millennials or Gen Z, you’d best have a strong digital marketing presence. Older generations may still prefer television/radio ads or direct mail and phone calls. Don’t be fooled, though. Plenty of older individuals are also digitally literate and have come to expect online marketing as well. So choose wisely!
As long as you’re in touch with what your target audience wants, it should be relatively simple to select a combination of traditional and digital marketing that will work well for your business.
Creating a marketing plan for your business is a big endeavor, especially if you’re new to the digital marketing landscape—it can often feel intimidating and overwhelming.
RAPTAP Marketing in San Antonio is a company that bases its own success on the successes of its clients. If you’re a small business looking to zero in on marketing strategies that will get you the most traction for your time and money, we can help.
Whether you want to go fully digital or are hoping to also include traditional elements in your marketing strategy, our team can help you determine what steps to take. We’ll take the time to get to know your goals and target audience, and we’ll monitor the progress of your campaign so we can tweak it as needed.
Along the way, we’ll teach you about marketing your business so that you can apply what you learn in future endeavors. At RAPTAP, we’re committed to educating our clients and strengthening local businesses in our community.
If you’re wondering how to move forward with your next marketing campaign, don’t wait another minute to get started. Give us a call at RAPTAP Marketing today!