Marketing is something businesses have to do if they are planning to reach success. There might be thousands of people in need of your unique products or services, but they will never find out about your business unless you promote it. All of the companies around the world are competing with each other to get consumer attention. Whoever does it correctly, choose the right path for his business, and gets the most out of marketing sells more and enjoys rapid growth. That’s something you should do too if you want the best for your company. However, you might get stuck right at the start because there is a question every entrepreneur faces. Which marketing strategy should you choose: traditional or digital marketing? Should you choose digital marketing so you can reach to the online audience and increase cost-effectiveness? Or should you instead go for the proven traditional marketing strategies?

No one can give you a straight up answer because there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to choosing promotion tactics. Research has to be made to come into conclusion. You should take all the factors into account, for example, a type of products and services you are offering, age or location of your targeted audience, etc. Let’s start by defining traditional and digital marketing strategies, then look into crucial differences between the two.


What is Digital Marketing?

In simple terms, this is the promotion of your products or services using digital tools on the internet. These promotions are seen on electronic devices such as tablets, computers, and smartphones. It has a large number of advantages such as relevance, personalization, high measurability, and the list still goes on. Don’t worry, we will talk about every one of them in detail later. For now, let’s define the other marketing strategy.


What is Traditional Marketing?

As the name suggests, this type of marketing is traditional meaning it has been used for over a century. It mainly includes TV, radio, newspaper ads, magazines, brochures, and billboards. Traditional marketing does have some advantages, but they are nowhere near digitals’. We will start by talking about the benefits of digital marketing and see how traditional marketing relates to it.

Now before we get into the differences between the two, I would like to give you some statistics in favor of digital marketing. There are three billion people who are online today, which is close to forty percent of the world’s population. Who are these people? What and how are they doing? 62 percent of these people are browsing the internet using laptops or desktop computers. 31 percent use mobile devices, and the remaining 7 percent is using tablets. Choosing online advertising gives you an opportunity of reaching out to three billion people from all around the world — people of different nationalities with distinctive tastes and budgets.


Looking at the statistic of daily media time spent online we can see that the most time is spent online. The traditional TV comes second with 23% followed by Traditional Radio. While most of the young consumers go online, the majority of the elderly population is still watching TVs or radios. They are the ones keeping those numbers in the middle. According to numerous studies, Radio and TV time numbers are expected to drop in the future which will open the doors further for this marketing field.


The Relevance


I will compare this aspect of traditional advertising. If a person is walking down the road and see a billboard ad of some laptops, she may or may not want to buy a computer at that point. She may not have the money for it or may not be in the mood. But if she is looking online and wants to buy a laptop, she might then see ads that are relevant to her needs. The ads might suggest her different type of laptops which she is most likely to click. That has an extreme level of relevance compared to the billboard on the side of a road.




In most cases, the social media you use, like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter collect a lot of information about you which is totally legal. They know your age, location, interests, needs and can even guess your budget. They can use this information to create a better advertising experience for you. If you are looking for shoes for your kid, you might see relevant ads such as “ Maybe you would like some new shoes?”


Cost Effectiveness


Cost-effectiveness is a big driver here. Conventional ways of advertising are way more expensive compared to online advertising. For example, putting a 30-second advertisement on TV can cost you from $250 to $1400. Whereas placing an online advertisement on the internet can cost you considerably less.

Search Engines

Nowadays when people have a question or when they are looking for a particular item, they usually go for search engines, especially Google. There are two types of Google results.  Paid and Organic search results. If your company’s website is optimized, it might appear on the first page of Google results. If not, you can invest your money in Google Adwords so when people search for something related to your products or services your website will appear the first or the second.

You do not have to put time and effort into the other search engine websites because they are not as widely used.

Looking at this pie chart above, we can see that the majority - 59.75% of the Chinese internet users are utilizing Baidu which is the Chinese search engine. Google comes later with 5.34%. The reason why Chinese people don’t use Google is that they can’t. All Google services are blocked in China allowing local companies to grow.




The digital media is also extremely measurable media. You might not have the information about how many people saw your advertisement if you placed it on TV. You will not know how many people went to your store and bought a particular item because of that ad. But if you were to choose to advertise on digital media, you can track this to the very last click. You will know how many people came to your site, where they came from and what they bought. If they do come back, you will know that as well.


Level Playing Field


If you were a small business and chose to go for traditional marketing, you will not have enough money to compete with larger players in the field. However, you can do so in digital marketing. You can decide where your ads will show, how many people will see it and if your ads are high quality, you might get more traffic to your site and expand the number of your customers.

Besides, there is a possibility of going viral. Once your content is unique, and a large number of people find it super interesting you can quickly go viral which would multiply your sales because it is effortless to share interesting content with friends on social media whereas no one makes a copy of exciting material in a newspaper, on TV or radio and shares it with her friends.

Who Would Choose Traditional Marketing then?

While digital marketing is the obvious choice 90% of the time, that does not mean that traditional ones are useless and no one is using them. It depends on who is your target audience. For example, if you are selling products specifically for older adults, you might be better off with traditional marketing rather than digital one because seniors spend most of their time watching TVs, reading newspapers or listening to the radio. Or maybe age, gender does not matter to you, and you are interested in a specific location. In this case, you can put a huge billboard right where there is a lot of people. Therefore, do research and find out which path you are going to take.