Digital Marketing versus Traditional Marketing
The debate continues as to whether digital marketing is overpowering and surpassing traditional marketing or not. Many think that for the most part, digital marketing has taken over and traditional marking barely exists, if at all. Recent occurrences such as the magazine giant, Newsweek switching to totally digital publications cause ripples throughout the marketing arena. Over the last year or so traditional marketing had fallen nearly 160% while in the same time frame expenses for digital marketing increased over 14%. Are there any real advantages to using digital marketing over traditional means? And what is the big difference between these two anyway?
Defining Traditional Marketing
There are many facets of traditional marketing and examples might include tangible items such as business cards, print ads in newspapers or magazines. It can also include posters, commercials on TV and radio, billboards and brochures. Traditional marketing is anything except digital means to brand your product or logo. Another overlooked means of traditional marketing is when people find a particular business through a referral or a network and eventually you build a rapport with them.
Defining Digital Marketing
The world of digital marketing continues to evolve and as long as technology continues to advance, digital marketing will as well. Examples of digital marketing include things like websites, social media mentions, YouTube videos, and banner ads. Specifically, digital marketing is similar to traditional advertising, but using digital devices. However, digital marketing is considered a form of inbound marketing and its goal is for people to find you. Businesses put content (or ads) out for individuals to find. People may conduct an organic online search, a paid search, find your business on a social network or by reading content that has been published online such as a blog or an article. The more they see you or your content, the more familiar they will become with your brand and they will eventually develop a trust and a rapport with you through this online presence.
Traditional Marketing’s Advantages and Disadvantages
Because of its longevity, people are accustomed to traditional marketing. Finding ads in magazines and newspapers, or reading billboards are still familiar activities and people still do them all the time. Most of the time, traditional marketing is reaching only a local audience even though it is not limited to one. One of the primary disadvantages of traditional marketing is that the results are not easily measured, and in many cases cannot be measured at all. In most cases, traditional marketing is also more costly than digital marketing. And perhaps the biggest disadvantage today is that traditional marketing is static which means there is no way to interact with the audience. It’s more like you are throwing information in front of people and hoping that they decide to take action.
Digital Marketing’s Advantages and Disadvantages
One benefit to using digital marketing is that the results are much easier to measure, and another is that a digital campaign can reach an infinite audience. It is also possible to tailor a digital campaign to reach a local audience but it can also be used on the web and reach the entire globe when appropriate. Digital marketing is also a very interactive means of reaching an audience since it makes use of social outlets. There can be plenty of direct contact between the audience and the business which means that the business can get some very valuable consumer feedback. One of the disadvantages to using digital media marketing strategies is that it can take some time to realize measurable success.
Is there a realistic balance between the two?
The world has transitioned into a very digital environment. Not only are magazines going digital, we perform many of our daily tasks such as banking online and much of our reading is done on e-readers. Because of the rise of the digital age, it just seems like common sense to invest in a digital campaign. Even though traditional marketing still has a place, it is diminishing in our digitally based world. For today’s businesses, it is imperative to have a website and use the web as a means to interact with their consumer base. There are some successful traditional marketing strategies, particularly if you are reaching a largely local audience, but it is important to take advantage of digital marketing so as to keep up in today’s world.
Here is how I see the 10 benefits of Digital Marketing v. Traditional Marketing:
- Level playing field: Any business can compete with any competitor regardless of size with a solid digital marketing strategy. Traditionally a smaller retailer would struggle to match the finesse of the fixtures and fittings of its larger competitors. Online, a crisp well thought out site with a smooth customer journey and fantastic service is king – not size.
- Reduced cost: Your business can develop its online marketing strategy for very little cost and can potentially replace costly advertising channels such as Yellow Pages, television, radio and magazine.
- Simple to measure: Unlike traditional methods you can see in real time what is or is not working for your business online and you can adapt very quickly to improve your results. For measuring traffic to your site you can use Google Analytics to measure specific goals you want to achieve for your website or blog and most packaged email marketing solutions provide good insight into how many people are opening, reading and converting from your emails.
- Real time results: you don’t have to wait weeks for a boost to your business like you would have to waiting for a fax or form to be returned. You can see the numbers of visitors to your site and its subscribers increase, peak trading times, conversion rates and much more at the touch of a button
- Refinement of your strategy: Basically anything that you capture in your customer journey can be reported on and honed for greater success at the fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. After all, how annoying is it to get a couple of forms returned from a mailshot. Marketing online enables you to refine your strategy at any point in time and see any improvements or opportunities for further refinement almost instantaneously.
- Brand Development: A well maintained website with quality content targeting the needs and adding value to your target audience can provide significant value and lead generation opportunities. The same can be said for utilising social media channels and personalised email marketing.
- Far greater exposure: your business can be seen anywhere in the world from one marketing campaign, the cost to do this using traditional methods would be considerable. Plus once you have optimised the key word search content in your website you should see a long-term return on your investment and will be fairly low cost to maintain your ranking.
- Viral: how often do your sales flyers get passed around instantly by your customers and prospects? Online, using social media share buttons on your website, email and social media channels enables your message to be shared incredibly quickly, just look how effective it is for sharing breaking news. If you consider the average facebook user has 190 friends of which an average of 12% see their liked posts – your one message has actually been seen by 15 new prospects, now imagine a number of them also like and share your message and their friends do the same? Mind blowing isn’t it. However a word of caution, bad news can travel much quicker so make sure you have a risk management strategy to tackle negative press as soon as it is circulated.
- Not Intrusive:I know most people hate receiving sales mailshots or phone calls at inconvenient times on stuff that they have little interest in. Online people get the choice to opt in or out of communications and often it is relevant because they were the ones searching for it in the first place. Also, have you ever got frustrated receiving a regular email on a topic that interests and adds value to you? Nor me so don’t underestimate the power of market segmentation and tailored marketing.
- Greater engagement:With digital marketing you can encourage your prospects, clients and followers to take action, visit your website, read about your products and services, rate them, buy them and provide feedback which is visible to your market. So it doesn’t take long for good publicity to enhance the prospects of your business.
Social media We all know that social media has become incredibly popular with consumers and rightly so! For businesses, social media marketing offers a great opportunity to use fans as ambassadors who share your content and recommend our business at a low cost.
So it makes perfect sense that many companies are using social media tactically by posting updates to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter.
But few have a social media strategy which helps them use social media to support their business goals. Our experience is that social media works best when you have a more structured approach that’s part of an integrated digital communications strategy