What is the difference between digital and traditional marketing? Well, in simple terms digital marketing focuses on the Internet while traditional marketing relies on conventional media such as television, print, direct mail, and radio to convey marketing messages to the public. Both strategies share the same goal of attracting customers and building more brand awareness in the market.
The debate about which is the better option between the two types of marketing continues to dominate many marketing circles around the world. In Singapore, just like everywhere else in the world, digital marketing seems to be surpassing traditional marketing at a very fast pace. Reports have shown that Singaporeans spent over $3.5 billion online in 2015, which demonstrates how Singaporeans are already firm believers in online shopping. There has also been an upsurge of local companies adopting the digital e-commerce mode of marketing to effectively target the younger generation, fine examples include Redmart, Reebonz, Lazada, and Zalora. As any digital marketing agency in Singapore would tell you, digital is gradually becoming the new traditional. To drive this point even closer home, let’s take a look at both types of marketing and what benefits each provides.
Traditional marketing is conducted in different ways which include business cards, posters, billboards, brochures, advertisements in newspapers, magazines, and commercials on television and radio. Any form of advertisement that does not employ digital methods is referred to as traditional marketing.
The key benefit traditional marketing provides is the ease of reaching a wider base of your local audience. A single radio ad is heard by thousands of people in your city or region. Flyers can spread rapidly within a neighborhood and spread the word about your brand or product. Tangible marketing materials such as brochures and newspapers can be read over and over again to drive the point home. Most consumers are familiar with traditional marketing methods and can understand your message more easily on newspaper or TV than in a website.
However, traditional marketing provides little or no interaction with the audience. You hardly get feedback from your audience. Radio, TV, and print ads are also very costly. You also can never tell how successful your marketing was as there is no accurate way of measuring the effectiveness of traditional marketing.
As digital technology continues to evolve rapidly day by day, it is becoming increasingly difficult to come up with a specific definition of digital marketing. Basically, this type of advertising leverages on digital devices and the power of the internet. Examples of digital marketing platforms include websites, social media, banner ads, forums, YouTube videos, paid search and PPC, just to mention a few.
Objectively speaking, the benefits of digital marketing far outnumber those provided by traditional marketing. Here are just some of the many advantages you get with a digital marketing strategy:
- Targets both local and international markets. While traditional marketing is limited to a local audience, digital marketing has an unlimited reach. You can even tailor your campaigns to target specific audiences based on demographics such as gender, age, location, interests, and much more. This is one thing you will not find in traditional marketing.
- It gives the audience choice of content. Traditional marketing does not provide much in terms of choice of content. Digital marketing on the other provides the audience with a wide choice of content from videos, blog posts, podcasts, and much more. This has given rise to a variety of content marketing methods by a variety of brands and businesses.
- Digital is more accessible than traditional content. Smartphones have revolutionized the way people receive and consume information. A majority of people are on social media with great access to digital content.
- Digital marketing is highly measurable. When you adopt digital marketing methods you can measure almost everything from the amount of traffic you receive, the level of engagement you have with your audience, and the number of conversions you get in each campaign.
- It is cost-efficient. A general comparison of what you are charged by an online marketing agency for a wide range of services and the fees charged by newspaper publications, radio or TV stations shows that marketing through digital media is cheaper than traditional marketing.
- It allows for a lot of flexibility. Say goodbye to the rigidity of traditional methods. Digital marketing allows you to define how much you want to spend for a particular campaign, how long your adverts will run for and where you want them to appear.
- It can bring big results over a very short period. If done correctly, digital marketing has a great potential for making your brand go viral instantly. It also provides results in real time.
Which should you opt for?
Especially from a small business perspective, digital marketing has overtaken traditional methods in terms of efficiency and cost effectiveness. However, traditional marketing is great too if your prime objective is to drive awareness of a brand, product or service. Hence, the best approach in any marketing plan would be to combine both digital and traditional techniques to thoroughly reach out, convince and convert would-be customers.