Pros and Cons of Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing
Depending on your needs, there are benefits of both
No matter what your industry, your business should always invest in marketing in order to create awareness about your brand, products/services, and to get your target audience to engage with you. With the popularity of the Internet and social media, some company stakeholders wonder whether they need to abandon traditional marketing methods and instead focus on digital marketing efforts.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each to help you better understand where to put your attention and resources as you develop a solid marketing strategy.
Brochures, posters, banners, postal mailings, promotional items and advertisements are all considered traditional marketing efforts. These methods have been around for decades and there are reasons why they have staying power and continue to be beneficial, including:
- Reach local target audiences easily: When your business reaches out via local newspapers, magazines or radio, you can reach potential customers within a specific location and demographic. Flyers sent in the mail can also be helpful for targeting specific zip codes.
- Something physical: Your target audience can hold in their hands a piece of advertising (flyers, ads, coupons) or even giveaways like pens, caps and t-shirts. They keep these items and reference them repeatedly.
- Easy to understand: Because it’s been around for so long, the audience understands traditional advertising methods. They don’t have to find a website, download a coupon or grasp the concept of a QR code. According to a 2018 report by Association of National Advertisers, direct mail response rates range from about five to nine times greater than that of email, paid search or social media. Target audiences that do not have Internet access welcome this interaction and 79 percent of those with Internet find it’s more convenient than going online. Additionally, these methods do deliver: 76 percent of consumers trust direct mail for making a purchase decision.
Yet, with all that is good, there are some drawbacks to doing things “old school.” This includes:
- Being less engaging: This is a more passive form of marketing wherein you provide information and hope your audience will make a purchase, sign up for something or interact in a way you desire
- More expensive: Newspaper, magazine, radio and television advertising can cost a lot of money and quickly eat away your budget. Print products like brochures and flyers can be expensive to create; if it’s thrown away, it’s like tossing dollar bills in the trash.
- Difficulty in gathering data: You want to know your ROI. This is difficult to achieve via traditional methods. Did 20 or 100 people see your poster? To truly see how successful your marketing campaign was, you need numbers to measure.
Blogs, web content, social media, email marketing, videos and Internet advertising are all digital marketing tactics. Over the years, these have proven to be very effective for reaching audiences. Methods evolve and improve almost daily. Some of the benefits to using digital marketing include:
- Reach a large audience: Online makes it easier to get your message out to more people on a global stage. Posting something on your website or social media means it’s possible to not only reach an consumer in the same town, but also a continent away. This offers up the opportunity to tap a new market.
- Personalize content: When you understand your target audience, you can create a buyer persona that enables you to personalize content that more effectively grabs attention. Today’s savvy consumers expect personalization. In fact, 67 percent of them say brands should personalize the experience and if they don’t, 66 percent of consumers will not make a purchase.
- More engaging: By using social media, email and online chats, brands have increased engagement (and sales) exponentially. Allowing consumers to interact directly by rating products, leaving comments, and sharing content are ways digital inbound marketing efforts build relationships and keep your target audience engaged.
- Cost effective: When you create online content or post to social media, you aren’t limited by a “cost per piece” as you are with printed materials. The cost of advertising online is a fraction of the cost of traditional ads and reaches a wider audience. Plus, dollar for dollar it’s impossible for startups to match resources with industry giants using traditional marketing tactics. When you use digital methods, the playing field is level: small business can engage in the same ways big brands do.
- Consumers get to choose: When your target audience gets to select the best ways to receive your message, you are most relevant, and they are more open to whatever you convey. Creating content via digital marketing such as videos, blogs or social media posts presents different routes for audience members to take the action you request. Plus, digital marketing can be 24/7, allowing you to connect with your target audience at times they want to be reached.
- More immediate response: With advertisements or printed materials, it may be weeks from concept to when the audience sees your message. Posting something to social media gets eyes on your marketing materials much faster. Some great marketing messages get instant success when they hit the mark and go viral.
- Measure ROI: No matter the size of your company, your bottom line is everything. Using analytic tools to capture data about who visited your website, how many people see a social media post and how many times they share content is important to understanding if the time and money you’re putting into your efforts is really paying off. Data also helps you make changes necessary to achieve ultimate success.
Of course, there still are some disadvantages of digital marketing. These include:
- Negative feedback and trolls: When you post online, you open yourself up to complaints by unhappy customers and people who often make it their goal to stir things up and create an annoyance.
- Search engines regulations: Google and other search engines create guidelines for what is and is not acceptable online. It’s important to keep on top of their ever-changing algorithms to ensure your content is found. Sometimes it is important to change strategies.
Which to use?
At T.E. Digital, while we have “digital” in our name, we are first and foremost experts in marketing. Let’s work together to understand your audience and set some goals. It’s then possible to see which method or combination of methods will work best for you.
Even if you already have an agency cranking out your traditional marketing materials, give us a call. Let’s have a conversation about how we can assist with an overall marketing strategy that can leverage your current methods and move you toward greater success.