Which is Better for Businesses: Traditional or Digital Marketing?


Which is Better for Businesses: Traditional or Digital Marketing?

Businesses need marketing to reach new customers, increase sales, and introduce new products and services. It is an essential part of their operations because its effectiveness can determine a company’s success. The evolution of technology has challenged the way companies traditionally market their products and services and created new opportunities for small businesses to thrive.

Traditional and digital marketing have their pros and cons. Some businesses use both simultaneously, while others predominantly use one over the other. The form of marketing businesses use depends on their preference and what they feel is suitable for their long-term growth.

Traditional Marketing

This involves advertising on mass media like billboards, magazines, newspapers, television, and radio. Traditional marketing has been the mainstream advertising method for decades. It relies on the interruption marketing concept, where a marketer interrupts a potential customer’s daily routine to promote their business. This form of advertising has proven effective, but its influence is slowly declining as people increasingly spend time online.

Pros of Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing is a staple form of advertising because companies get a significant return when they invest in it. Here are some of its advantages:

Wide Reach

Advertisements on mass media can reach many people, especially those that do not spend much time online. For example, a billboard ad on a highway will have thousands of viewers a day. This boosts brand visibility and will make a lot of people interested in the advertised business.


This is the ability of customers to touch and feel a product before they buy it. Tangibility helps customers decide if a purchase is worth it before making any financial commitment. For example, samples of some phones and tablets are displayed in phone stores so customers can check them out.

Increased Brand Credibility

The media platform through which a company advertises their product or service can give it credibility to the public. For example, a shoe brand advertising in Vogue magazine will create a perception of quality and luxury. 

Cons of Traditional Marketing

Despite the benefits of this form of advertising, it has some drawbacks, as listed below:

Budget Strain

Advertising on mass media is expensive since many companies are battling for limited slots. This can be a barrier to small businesses since they do not have the financial ability to compete. Mid-sized and large companies must allocate significant sums of money to run TV commercials consistently. The company will suffer significant losses if a marketing campaign fails to increase sales.

Complicated Result Measurement

It is challenging to measure how effective a traditional marketing campaign is. This is because it is almost impossible to know how many people watched a TV commercial, listened to a radio ad, or saw a billboard. The lack of figures makes companies unable to make data-driven adjustments to improve their return on investment.

Targeting Restrictions

Traditional advertisements are displayed to the public because there is no way to target only people interested in their product or service. Thousands of people might view an ad, but only a few hundred may be interested in it. 

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a modern advertising approach enabled by the widespread use of smart devices and the internet. Instead of mass media, digital marketing involves advertising on online platforms like social media, search engines, e-commerce websites, and emails. Most forms of digital marketing have a pay-per-click advertising model, where the advertiser is not charged until their ad is clicked.

Online advertising uses the inbound marketing concept, where potential customers seek a product or service instead of marketers interrupting their daily routine. This is most evident in affiliate marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), where companies strategically post content with keywords and phrases relevant to their industry on their website.

There are many types of digital marketing, and companies must develop a solid strategy to leverage them to grow their customer base and sales. They can hire marketing experts to work on this full-time or rely on the expertise of a digital marketing agency like Remark. The latter provides digital marketing expertise at a fraction of the cost of hiring and recruiting in-house marketers. 

Pros of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing effectively promotes businesses because of the large internet user base. Many companies, especially those that sell online, have recognized this and have adopted it to aid their growth. These are some of its benefits:


Digital marketing is less expensive than advertising the traditional way. Most search engines and social media platforms are free to use, support advertisements, and have billions of daily visitors. Ads on these platforms are more affordable than TV commercials, radio ads, and billboard placements. This allows businesses of all sizes to compete for brand visibility.

Result Monitoring

Digital marketers can track the results of their campaigns to gauge their effectiveness. This allows them to make necessary adjustments to the marketing campaign to achieve the needed goals. This avoids ad budget wastage.

Specific Demographic Targeting

Businesses can target potential customers with their ads to increase their conversion rate. Most platforms that support digital advertising can filter customers by location, age, preferences, gender, and other demographics.

Cons of Digital Marketing

Technology evolution has made digital advertising accessible to businesses, but it has challenges. These are some of its disadvantages:

Competitive Market

Digital marketing has a relatively low barrier to entry, so many businesses advertise their products and services simultaneously. This increases the competition, so companies need a sound brand strategy to stand out.

Fast-paced Business World

Online advertising is fast-paced, and marketers must keep up with new trends and technologies for their businesses to remain relevant.

Advertisements are non-tangible

Potential customers cannot look and feel products advertised online. This sometimes leaves them dissatisfied when they receive items slightly different from what they ordered online.


Choosing a better option between traditional and digital marketing is almost impossible. The better choice for a business can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. However, businesses with a young target audience should prioritize digital marketing because they will likely be tech-savvy and see advertisements. Companies that serve an older audience and people less likely to spend much time online should embrace traditional marketing more.

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