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Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing: 2022

Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing
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Philip Kotler defines marketing as “the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit.” However, there is a distinction in how you approach this science. One way to do this is through Traditional marketing and the other is Digital Marketing which we discussed in previous articles. To better understand the two one must consider looking at digital marketing vs traditional marketing examples, and the similarities of traditional marketing vs digital marketing.

The goal of this article is to shed light on the key differences between these two approaches. We are going to first and foremost briefly look at, what is Digital marketing and Traditional marketing separately. Secondly, we will discuss the key differences, and last we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

What is Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing
Elements of Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing is the promotion of goods and services through digital platforms on the internet. Digital marketing consists of several methods which we discussed in the previous articles such as email marketing, social media marketing, paid advertising, affiliate marketing, mobile marketing, and many other strategies. Each digital marketing strategy makes use of different tools and platforms.

Digital Marketing Tools

  • Systeme
  • GetRepsonse
  • Snovio
  • Clickmagic
  • Aweber
  • Active Campaign

Digital Marketing Platforms Examples

What is Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing is the promotion of goods and services offline. Examples of traditional marketing are billboards newspapers, magazines, word of mouth, and telephone calls. An internet connection is not a requirement for marketing.

Forms of Traditional Marketing

  • Print Marketing
  • Face to face marketing/ or Word of Mouth
  • Flyers
  • Broadcasting(Television and Radio)
  • Referral Marketing
  • OutDoor Marketing
  • Direct Mail

Key Differences

The above section clearly shows one biggest distinction between traditional marketing and digital marketing, which is one requires the internet and the other does not. That being said, it perves way for us to further look at several different points which can help us understand even further how the two approaches to marketing are different. In the following paragraphs, we are going to discuss digital marketing vs digital marketing from the following perspectives:

  1. Targeting
  2. Conversion rate
  3. Tracking
  4. Reach
  5. Engagement
  6. Consumer Control
  7. Communication type
  8. Reporting.

These perspectives on marketing will give guidance to small businesses based on objectives to which approach to choose.


Targeting in marketing means being able to fine-tune the details of who, what, when, and How you want to reach customers. Traditional marketing limits businesses to only choosing when, and to a certain extent where, and who. Digital Marketing uses customer data for targeting, as a result, it is possible to fine-tune marketing campaigns.

For example, with Traditional marketing, you can put an advert for teenagers on tv, which people of all age groups will watch. However, since digital marketing makes use of customers’ data, you can easily target your ads to teenagers based on their age profile which you cannot do with broadcasting, newspapers, and billboards.

As a result of digital marketing, retargeting customers who have shown interest in our products is very possible. Retargeting increases the possibility of getting more sales by showing our ads to people who followed, commented, clicked, or engaged with our targeted marketing efforts. Retargeting is not possible with traditional marketing. This is because we cannot measure interactions or collect indirect information from our marketing efforts, as a result, we cannot retarget any customers.

Conversion rate

Digital Marketing has a high conversion rate than traditional marketing. This is because when a user clicks on an ad online, they are directed into a sales funnel through a landing page, where they can make an immediate payment. Tools such as Systeme, GetRespsone, Covertkit, and Clickfunnels are used to build these sales funnels. Due to these technologies, digital marketing will lead to more conversations.

To supplement the point above let us consider, a newspaper ad from a traditional marketing perspective. A reader will see an ad, after that they have to find the nearest shop which sells the product, that if they don’t forget to do so. Another example is that of an ad on a billboard. You can see an ad on a billboard but the only way that it becomes a conversion is if you then make your way to the nearest shop, and make a purchase. I think you get the point here. Digital marketing allows you to see an ad and within a few clicks, buy the product.


Traditional marketing makes it difficult if not impossible to track sales from the advertising campaigns. It must be noted if the only approach you are taking is traditional then you can attribute your success in sales to those methods. However, it is difficult to know when and how. This is not the case when it comes to digital marketing. Tracking software such as Clickamgic will provide analytics and data between your ads and conversions. From the tracking, you will be able to know when and where, how many products were bought and did you make a profit or loss from an advertising campaign.

Tracking will show you what is working and what is not and this will help you to make changes. Because you cannot make such correlations in traditional marketing, you will lose a lot of money and your businesses cannot make changes in time.

Because there is no direct tracking in traditional marketing you will not be able to tell the motivation behind a sale. For example, digital marketing uses keywords to target consumers. Individuals interested in digital marketing will see ads mainly to do with that topic, and people with an affinity for football will often see ads about sports and football clothes. So once a purchase is done it can be easily tracked back to the user’s primary interest. However, with traditional marketing, we are not easily able to tell if the buyer was influenced by the advert. Or was told by someone or if they happen to be in the shop at that time and decided to make the purchase outside the influence of our products.


Traditional marketing has more reach as compared to digital marketing. Reach is defined as the number of people that can be exposed to a particular marketing campaign. A good example we can use to easily illustrate this point is as follows. Let’s take for example a billboard vs display ads on a website. To view an ad on the internet several factors must hold true. For example, you must first be connected to the internal, visiting that website for one reason or another. A billboard however requires only one condition to be met, you must pass close to it, along some highway to notice it.

Another factor to consider when discussing reach is the cost. On one hand, Traditional Marketing seems to be more cost-effective when it comes to digital marketing. With digital marketing advertisers pay per one thousand views, as a result, the more people that will see the ad, the more they have to pay for it. However, in traditional marketing, the cost is fixed and many people can see the same billboard as many times as they can as long it is up there.

On the other hand, the reach can also be looked at from a geography standpoint. Digital marketing has a global reach than Traditional marketing. With Digital marketing, you can attract customers from all over the world unlike rational marketing techniques of billboards and flyers.


Digital Marketing offers more engagement than traditional marketing. Consumers interact with Landing pages by entering their contact information. Comments on social media platforms and clicks on ads are all valuable interactions that you get from digital marketing. Traditional marketing, however, does not offer the same amount of engagement. As a result, users are limited to either call, message, or visit the company which cannot be easily traced back to the marketing campaign.

Consumer Control

Traditional marketing gives consumers less control over ads. Consumers cannot manipulate the ads in front of them. We cannot say that about digital marketing. Ad blockers block ads on websites. Users can choose to skip ads on platforms like youtube, and in some cases, they can close the advert without even reading the information. This is unfortunate. Companies pay for every thousand views to their webs

When you consider the level of consumer control when talking about traditional marketing vs digital marketing you will quickly realize that this is where traditional marketing wins the most. Consumers have less control over ads in traditional marketing. You can be driving, and once a billboard is in from of you have no choice but to see it. While enjoying music over the radio an advert will just pop up and you cannot skip viewing something else. Print marketing does not allow skipping or removing ads.

Communication Type

Most digital marketing campaigns foster two-way communication where there is instant feedback on the ads or content created on digital marketing platforms. traditional marketing is one-way communication in most cases.


Digital marketing tools and platforms allow businesses to track the performance of marketing campaigns. As a result, tracking, reports have been generated that show the relationship between revenue spent and the sales made. It is impractical to generate reports from traditional marketing methods. There is no automated way to generate reports on the performance of advertising campaigns.


Traditional marketing materials can last for a long period of time at no additional cost. Digital marketing campaigns cannot survive for the same duration as print marketing, attracting an additional cost in the case of pay-per-click advertising. For example, a business places an advert in a magazine. People will view the ad for many years unlike a youtube ad, or display ad on a website. Using the magazine example or newspaper articles. A company pays once for an advertising slot. A newspaper can survive for many years. The longer the newspaper article survives, and circulates. The more exposure a business is getting.

Similarities Between Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

There are several things that are common between digital marketing and traditional marketing. Despite the many differences both of them fall under the same category of marketing. For further analysis let us look at some of the similar concepts between the two approaches.

  • Both approaches require a budget
  • Businesses use copywriting to create traditional and digital marketing content.
  • Content is generated by using electronic devices.
  • Going live on youtube and twitch is the same as broadcasting(tv and radio).
  • Both approaches require platforms for delivery. Radios and TVs for rational and cellphones and laptops for digital.

Pros of Digital Marketing

  • Targeting
  • Tracking
  • Retargeting
  • Global reach
  • High Engagement
  • Easy to correct mistakes
  • High conversions

Cons of Digital Marketing

  • There is no longevity
  • Budget constraints lead to fewer views than print marketing.
  • Constant changes in technology make it difficult to be effective.
  • Clicks from bots will lead to losses.

Pros of Traditional Marketing

  • Bots will not burn your advertising budget.
  • Perfect for building a larger local customer base.
  • Customers cannot switch off or skip ads.
  • Traditional marketing has better longevity than Digital marketing.

Cons of Digital Marketing

  • Engagement is low
  • There is no tracking
  • No targeting or retargeting.
  • Low conversions rates


In conclusion, when discussing digital marketing vs traditional marketing, it is important to note that the former is online and the latter is offline. Depending on your objectives traditional marketing can be the most effective approach for your campaigns. Businesses want the ability to track sales, target consumers, and get high conversions, hence digital marketing has become more popular and cost-effective than traditional marketing. Digital marketing strategies such as social media marketing fosters growth at little to no cost with a global reach. Traditional marketing campaigns require large budgets in order to reach a lot of people.

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