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The Difference Between Digital Marketing and Traditional Marketing

By Denis K. Dec 9, 2020

Have you decided to take on the ecommerce industry and launch your own online venture? If so, to find and reach potential customers, you need to learn and implement various digital marketing strategies. 

If you already have some business experience, you probably know how traditional marketing works. Experienced entrepreneurs know how to effectively promote products to people and turn them into customers. However, running an online venture can be a completely different experience which requires a different approach in the form of digital marketing. 

Today, we will discuss the differences between traditional and digital marketing. 

What is traditional marketing?

In traditional marketing, the means for promotions are usually considered to be TV and radio commercials, as well as different physical forms of advertising, such as billboards, flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, etc. To keep it simple, traditional marketing can be defined as offline promotional activities. 

Many of the mentioned above methods are still used by businesses to this day. You can see them everywhere, just by walking on the street, watching TV, reading newspapers, etc. 

What is digital marketing?

In digital marketing, the only channel that is used for promotional purposes is the internet. On different websites and social media platforms, you can see various digital advertisements, such as banners, pop-ups, emails, sponsored posts, etc. 

However, even though digital marketing and traditional marketing use different types of channels to reach their audiences, their principles are mostly the same. 

Nevertheless, digital marketing has several key differences compared to traditional marketing. 

Things you should know about digital marketing

Before you make some choice, it'll better to get some close-ups on aspects of digital marketing

Digital marketing is less personal 

Most of the traditional marketing methods include some kind of personal interaction. Take, for example, consulting a consumer in a store, or even giving out flyers – this allows to communicate with customers directly. 

However, in digital marketing, it’s a little bit different, as there is no exact way of communicating with the customer directly. 

The only way to establish communication is through various instruments like emails, chats, and messages. It may be considered as a way of direct communication, however, it is still not the same as interacting with the customer personally. 

Furthermore, digital marketing instruments of reaching out to potential customers can be far more effective than traditional ones. For example, sending out newsletters, you can reach far more people than you do while giving out flyers or completing cold calls. What’s more, digital marketers constantly develop new ways and methods of personalization to attract customers. 

An overzealous way of advertising

Marketing as a whole can be overwhelming for the consumers, and whatever channel you choose to promote through, some people may consider it excessive or intrusive. When talking about digital marketing, one might view it as very annoying and frustrating. 

For example, when you’re watching television, you expect to see some kind of commercial. Yes, they are annoying, but at the same time, you are prepared for it. 

Although, when you read an interesting article and a huge promotional pop-up appears out of nowhere, you kind of don’t expect it. Or when you scroll through your social media feed and see the same advertisement over and over again it may seem a little frustrating. 

For this reason, digital marketers need to carefully consider their every step so that they don’t scare away a potential customer. 

Digital advertisements can be skipped 

We all know that television advertisements and radio ads can’t be skipped and that’s really annoying. 

In digital marketing, almost all ads can be skipped or closed, whether it is a pop-up, video ad, banner, or something else. Of course, some services allow their ads to be skipped only after a certain amount of time passes, or don’t allow them to be skipped at all. 

Because of this, internet users have come accustomed to integrating various ad blocking services to remove ads completely. According to Statista, in 2019, almost 26% of internet users were blocking ads on their devices

People tend to use ad blocking services more and more often

From all of this, we can say that digital marketers need to be more cautious about their approach and present their offers in a way that’s too appealing to be ignored.

Some digitals ads can be easily missed 

A common challenge many digital marketers have to deal with is banner blindness. Many consumers experience it even without any blocking tools. 

Usually, people visit various websites to find some kind of information and have a clear goal in mind. And with time, we have got used to these banners and advertisements so much that subconsciously we simply ignore these things as they’re not related to our searching purpose. 

With that said, in digital marketing, catching a user’s attention can be even more difficult compared to traditional marketing. Although, seeing that with digital marketing you can attract far more audiences, even low conversion rates can result in great sales numbers. 

Internet users can reply 

Usually, when someone sees an advertisement they didn’t like, whether on the TV or in a magazine, they can’t voice their opinion to a massive audience. On the Internet, however, you have a chance to be heard. 

When users interact with an ad on a social media platform they can immediately react to it in the form of a reply, share, or comment. If for some reason they thought the ad was inappropriate, they can even report it to the platform’s managers. 

It is easier than ever before to make yourself heard on the Internet. And that’s something any digital marketer should be aware of. Moreover, they need to know how to deal with angry customers and make sure their negative comments don’t affect the business.  

Nonetheless, digital marketing has lots of significant advantages over traditional marketing methods. 

The benefits of digital marketing 

Perfect for any online business 

Targeting online users via digital marketing is the best way to reach them. Although you don’t have to limit yourself to these methods only, however, this way is clearly the most effective. 

Time-efficient compared to traditional marketing

To prepare an advertising campaign in a magazine or on TV, you need to plan it in advance and spend lots of time preparing the materials. In some cases, it can take several months to get everything ready. 

However, a high-quality digital banner or a video advertisement can be made in a much shorter time period. Typically, it takes 2 or 3 business days to make a creative banner, and 5 to 10 working days to make a video. 

You can see the difference between the two marketing approaches, and what makes digital marketing even more enticing is that you don’t need to purchase any ad space in advance. 

Bigger audiences 

Traditional marketing methods typically target local audiences only. For example, billboards and various brochures can be seen only by locals. Of course, there are TV commercials that can be seen by far more people, but they are much more expensive. Digital advertisements, on the other hand, are available to an unlimited number of internet users across the globe.

Lower cost

Digital advertisements are relatively low-cost compared to traditional methods and are far more flexible when it comes to planning them. 

Easier to measure the results 

Compared to traditional promo methods, digital ones are a lot easier to track and evaluate. Results of online advertising activities like SMM, email, PPC, etc. can be seen almost instantly. In traditional marketing, however, it takes days or even weeks to fully measure the expenses and see the results they bring. 

Final thoughts on traditional marketing VS digital marketing

When comparing the two marketing methods, you must remember that you don’t necessarily need to focus on just one of them. Many successful companies combine the two approaches to get the best results. 

Having said that, if you are just starting your business journey and intend to start an online store, we suggest you start with understanding digital marketing, as it is far more convenient for beginner ecommerce entrepreneurs. 

If you need any help with promoting your business online, you can always count on our professional assistance.

By Denis K.
As a copywriter, Denis explores the rapidly evolving digital marketing industry and feels committed to sharing his findings with a wider readers' audience.
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