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Can Digital Marketing Replace Traditional Marketing?

Sep. 19, 2020 | Dwight Zahringer

Transforming into Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is taking over. Can you remember the old days when the highways had billboards all over? What were your favorite TV and radio commercials when you were growing up? Business owners have been promoting their brands for centuries. However, the marketing field has gone through several evolutions to be where it is today.

When emails were introduced, some people predicted that the traditional post office could get faced out in a few years. Several decades later, we still have post offices despite reducing numbers. Digital marketing was introduced a few decades ago. But the big question is, will digital marketing end traditional marketing? Before we answer this question, let us explore some of the benefits of digital marketing over traditional marketing:

Digital marketing is cost-effective and sustainable

Have you ever tried to buy an ad in your local newspaper or TV? Those platforms are somehow expensive. The issue with this approach is that the ad will only air once or several times and be forgotten. You can as well rent a billboard space for a few months. On the other hand, digital marketing is somehow sustainable because some of the content you share will remain on those mediums forever.  You can invest in SEO and generate organic traffic for the rest of your life. You can visit here if you want to learn more about how SEO works.

Digital marketing is measurable

Marketing has always been described as a game of numbers. Traditional marketing is somehow hard to tell the numbers you get from a certain campaign. For instance, when a business places an ad on TV, it is hard to determine the campaign’s reach. On the other hand, a digital marketing campaign, such as placing an ad on social media, is measurable. The email open rate will also indicate the number of people who have read your email. You can use various tools to determine the reach and engagement levels.

Audience targeting is possible with digital marketing

Holding a roadshow looks like a great idea. However, you may plan a big roadshow but fail to attract a big crowd. The same happens to ads on the radio or even TV. Your product could target men, but the ad will air to all, regardless of gender. Traditional marketing platforms charge you based on their overall reach, not the target market. Digital marketing allows you to refine your target market, which reduces wastage. You can refine your reach based on location, age, and spending habits. There are also some ads where you pay only after the target market interacts with the ad.

A woman and man looking at a laptop during work | Digital marketing vs. traditional marketing
Refine your target market with digital marketing.

Digital marketing provides immediate feedback

It is hard to know how customers feel when you use traditional marketing. For instance, an ad on TV will just air, and that is all. A digital campaign on platforms like Facebook and Instagram allows the target customers to comment on your products. You can thus know the areas to improve and improve the product. On the other hand, gathering feedback from traditional marketing can be more expensive because marketing and gathering feedback are different.

Digital marketing is non-intrusive

Do you watch TV because you want to see adverts or because you want to follow your favorite program? You are definitely looking for the latter. The same happens to newspapers and large print publications. People buy newspapers because they want to read the news and not adverts. Digital marketing allows people to choose the nature of content that they want to view and interact with. For instance, you can skip ads on YouTube or marketing podcasts, but this never happens on TV or radio. You can even hide ads you do not want to see on search engines. You can opt to either open or ignore a promotional email.

Easy to refine a strategy in digital marketing

Measuring the performance of a digital marketing strategy is easy. You can thus note the areas that perform the best and those that require a boost. For instance, if you note that your emails’ open rate is low, you can improve your headline. You can also note when your posts have the highest engagement and change your posting calendar. Refining a strategy on traditional marketing may not be that effective because your business might have messed up long before you get feedback.

Easy to share the copy across different platforms

What happens when you want to share the same message across several traditional marketing platforms such as TV, radio, and newspapers? You will have to create a video for TV, create an audio recording for radio and then draft your newspaper copy. On the other hand, you can use the same copy across different platforms, which lowers your marketing costs. You just need to know every platform’s dimensions and then cross-promote your content on email, social media, forums, and your website.

Should business owners use digital marketing channels only?

It depends. Some businesses purely operate online and target international clients. For instance, if you own a web design company based in India but target customers in the U.K. and U.S., you can only use digital marketing to make your brand known and drive sales.

However, there are still businesses that need to combine both marketing types. Good examples are multinationals such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, which target both online customers and those who are not online.

Many people still watch TV, listen to the radio and read newspapers. Placing your billboard in a strategic location will still pass the right message. The same happens to posters. Essentially, digital marketing is simply digitizing traditional marketing. For instance, instead of having physical posters on the roadside, we now have banners on websites and social media platforms. Instead of paying for ads on TV, they are now paying for ads on websites and platforms such as YouTube.

Maybe there will be a day when digital marketing will replace traditional marketing. However, in the meantime, we can only say that the two should go hand in hand. Look for digital and traditional marketing trends to learn what to incorporate into your strategy.

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