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Marketing strategies can include a number of separate tactics, both offline and online. Understanding the difference between the two categories of marketing, traditional marketing vs. digital marketing, can help you make effective strategic decisions when it comes to your company’s marketing campaigns.

What Is Traditional Marketing?

Traditional marketing is any form of advertising that uses non-digital delivery methods to reach the potential customer. Traditional marketing is a broad category and encompasses many different styles or subcategories of marketing. The most common types of traditional marketing include:

  • Print – Print marketing includes specific tactics like newspaper ads, magazine ads, and other paper-based marketing.
  • Broadcast – Broadcast marketing includes audio and video ads presented on the radio or television.
  • Direct mail – Direct mail marketing includes any advertising done through the mail, such as brochures, letters, and catalogs.
  • Telephone – Telephone marketing, which is also called telemarketing, includes calling potential customers to offer a sales pitch over the phone.

What Is Digital Marketing?

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Digital marketing is a broad landscape that includes any form of advertising done online. Like traditional marketing, there are many subcategories and tactics under the umbrella of digital marketing. A few of the most common digital marketing channels include:

  • Website marketing – With website marketing, a company uses a dedicated webpage to share information about their company, brand, and products and possibly sell their wares.
  • Pay-per-click advertising – Pay-per-click, or PPC, advertising includes paying for the placement of strategic ads, usually on search engines and social media channels.
  • Content marketing – Content marketing is usually educational content, often blog posts or eBooks, focused on providing information to potential customers rather than a direct sales pitch.
  • Email marketing – Email marketing is the use of targeted and often personalized email messages to entice potential customers to make a purchase.
  • Social media marketing – Social media marketing is the use of social media channels, like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to build relationships and share information about your company.
  • Affiliate marketing – Affiliate marketing is the promotion of other companies’ products. If a customer makes a purchase through your promotion, then you receive a commission from the seller.
  • Video marketing – Video marketing is the use of video content to share information or sales pitches online.
  • Text marketing – Text marketing, also known as SMS marketing, is the use of texting to share information about your company’s products or services with potential customers.

Pros and Cons of Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing has a number of advantages and disadvantages for companies. Consider the typical pros and cons of using traditional marketing strategies:


There are a number of benefits to using traditional marketing tactics, particularly to:

  • Raise awareness – Traditional marketing strategies are very effective in raising awareness about your business, particularly for the local market.
  • Convey emotions – To elicit an emotional response from potential customers, consider using video or radio ads. Customers are more likely to listen to or see the whole ad than they would in a digital format.
  • Target specific customers – Direct mail is one of the best ways to hyper-target specific potential customers.
  • Sell high value items – When selling luxury items, personal letters or phone calls often have more success than general and impersonal digital strategies.


Traditional marketing is not without its disadvantages. Consider these downsides before committing to a traditional tactic:

  • Expense – Traditional marketing is often more expensive than digital marketing.
  • Harder to quantify – It’s much more challenging to track the impact and success of a traditional marketing strategy than a digital marketing strategy.
  • Longer release time – Creating traditional collateral usually takes longer than creating digital collateral.
  • Lack of sub-segmenting – While direct mail is great for targeting certain consumers, many digital strategies give you the necessary information to sub-segment more effectively.
  • Smaller audience – The channels associated with traditional marketing, like broadcast television and print newspapers, have rapidly declining audiences, meaning that the associated marketing strategies are less effective.

Pros and Cons of Digital Marketing

Just like traditional marketing, digital marketing has a number of benefits and disadvantages. Review the most common pros and cons of digital marketing before deciding on tactics or strategies for your campaign.


Here are some of the best reasons to use a digital marketing strategy for your business:

  • Save money – It’s often much cheaper to implement digital marketing strategies than it is to implement traditional marketing strategies.
  • Generate demand – You can use the analytics tools available on most digital channels to hyper focus your demand generation strategies on the ideal target market.
  • Improve brand identity – Using digital marketing channels shows that you’re an innovative company interested in developing your brand to meet the needs of the customer.
  • Put mobile first – Many people use their mobile phone as their primary internet access tool. Digital marketing allows you to customize your strategies specifically for mobile friendliness.
  • Use interaction – Several digital marketing strategies allow you to interact with your potential customers in real time online, which can help build brand trust and loyalty.


Consider the cons of using a digital marketing strategy before establishing the details of your marketing campaign:

  • Highly competitive – The digital marketplace is very crowded. It can be hard to stand out compared to your competitors.
  • Easy to ignore – Unlike traditional media, like a radio ad that most people have to listen to continue enjoying their chosen content, it’s easy to scroll past or close digital ads.
  • Fraud concerns – Scammers can create fake accounts using your business information to try to steal customers.
  • Reputation management – Negative online reviews or posts can vastly impact your brand’s reputation.

Both traditional and digital marketing strategies can provide enormous benefits to your business. Consider the pros and cons of both when structuring your overall marketing strategy for maximum impact and customer conversions.

Knowledge Base: Digital Marketing

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