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Is digital marketing better than traditional marketing?

Posted by Chad Elliot on April 15, 2020 at 8:00 AM
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digital marketing better than traditional marketingIf you are researching the best advertising method for your company, you may have seen arguments that promote digital marketing.  Many articles claim that digital marketing is a better way to advertise because it is cheaper than traditional marketing and provides more measurables.  

However, many of these claims do not consider the specific circumstances of an individual marketing campaign.  Without any context, the question of digital marketing versus traditional marketing doesn't make sense. These arguments also ignore that digital and traditional marketing methods can be combined in order to make a more effective method of reaching a target audience.    

In order to understand which marketing method will work better, we need to examine the unique circumstances, such as the intended target audience and the product or service that is being advertised.  By looking at the individual circumstances of each marketing method, we can develop a more effective advertising plan for specific products or services.    

What is digital and traditional marketing?  

Digital and traditional marketing methods both allow businesses to advertise their products or services.  The goal of both mediums is the same – to reach their intended target audience, no matter where they are located.  

However, each method uses different platforms to reach their intended audience.  Digital marketing uses the internet to advertise to consumers. This advertising can come on websites, emails, social media sites, or search engines.  Traditional marketing uses print, radio, television, mail, or billboards for advertising. 

What audience are you trying to reach? 

Regardless of your individual goals, the goal of any marketing campaign is to reach the target audience, no matter where they are.  Digital marketing has several strengths, such as the ability to reach target audiences that primarily use the internet. It also can target audiences that cross multiple physical marketplaces (such as a promotion that will run in several states).  

But what if your audience doesn't use the internet that much?  If your target audience primarily gets information through television or radio, then digital marketing will be much less effective than traditional methods. 

Where traditional marketing can benefit your marketing campaign.

When digital advertising has trouble reaching your intended audience, traditional methods may be more effective.  One example of the effectiveness of traditional marketing is through radio advertising. You might believe radio advertising is ineffective.  However, radio has many advantages for advertisers:

  • Radio reaches 93 percent of all adults over 18: That is a larger reach than television (89 percent), smartphones (83 percent), and other devices like computers and tablets (below 50 percent).
  • Radio reaches all segments of the population: Because there are so many different types of radio formats, it is easy to target specific demographics, including the 92 percent of millennials that listen to the radio each week.
  • Radio is a trustworthy medium: Many listeners form a special bond with specific radio personalities and programs, which means they will listen to them every day.
  • Radio advertising is effective: When done properly, radio campaigns can provide a proper return on investment. On average, marketing campaigns that use radio advertising see an eight percent greater return on investment than campaigns that don't.  

When used properly, traditional marketing can be an effective way to advertise.

Benefits of using both digital and traditional marketing.

As separate tactics, traditional and digital marketing can be effective in the right situations.  But they can be more effective when they are combined. In many cases, your best tactic is to support the weaknesses of digital with traditional advertising (and vice versa).  By combining a traditional advertising method, like radio, with digital marketing, you can create a seamless omnichannel experience for your target audience. 

Looking closer at the example of using radio with digital marketing, we can see some of the benefits: 

  • Expand marketing reach: Since radio and digital ads often appeal to different audiences, using both can reach a larger audience segment than only one type of marketing.
  • Increase ad frequency: A target audience that uses the internet and radio can be reached more frequently and in different ways.
  • Build brand awareness and strengthen your brand: By using radio and digital marketing, your target audience will hear about your product or service more often. This will make them more familiar with your brand and increase brand recognition. 

As you can see, by using both types of marketing, you can increase the power of each one individually, appeal to more potential customers, and minimize weaknesses.

Use multiple types of marketing to your company's advantage.

As you can see, there is no way to say that either digital or traditional marketing is the better way to reach a target audience.  Instead, you have to know you target audience before trying to answer that question. Even then, you don't have to choose between both methods.  You can mix digital and traditional marketing methods to minimize weaknesses and amplify strengths.

A Simple Guide to Digital Advertising

Topics: Radio Advertising, Marketing Strategy, Digital Marketing