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What is the Difference between Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing?

It seems like your curiosity has gotten the better of you and so here you are searching for an answer to a popular question. Whether you are a scholar, student, professional, or a common person, you have encountered marketing somehow. Marketing has a lot many flavors to it. Anything and everything around us is a perfect example of Marketing. And with times shifting to a digital era, Marketing has become digital. Now the question arises, what is Digital Marketing and how do you know one when you see it? Doesn’t this question ring a bell to you? It’s so familiar to almost every ear cause we all in some way or the other are affected by Marketing and the way it is conducted. And so, this is a very common question amongst scholars and people in general. And that’s what we intend to find here. So, continue to read further to feed your curiosity with the answer to the most famous question: What is the difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing.


What is Marketing?

Marketing in simple terms is to approach the market with what you feel is the best offer. Marketing in itself is a very broad term. Seen scholastically, Marketing is the process of bridging the gap between the producer and the consumer by using a mix of 4 Ps of marketing, namely product, price, promotion, and place. Product mix refers to the mix of activities that help a product stand uniquely in the crowd. These include branding, packaging, labeling, and imaging. Price, of course, is the monetary aspect of the product’s cost and profits. The place is the channel which helps in the distribution of the product. And promotion is the element that helps you communicate your product values to the customers and convince them to purchase it. So overall, marketing is really vast. And when we talk about traditional and digital marketing, we are actually referring to the promotional part of the subject. So, now that we are aware of what Marketing is, let’s explore what digital marketing refers to.


What is Digital Marketing?

Now that’s a real good question. What exactly is Digital Marketing? And why is it important to know about it? Digital Marketing is a corollary of Traditional Marketing in a way that it complements the objectives of what traditional marketing does. Digital Marketing refers to anything that has to do with the internet and digital technologies like computers, smartphones, laptops, etc. which help you to interact with your target audience over digital media platforms and promote your product or service in the most efficient way. So Digital Marketing simply is carrying out Marketing activities, especially promotion, online, using the internet.

Now that we know what digital marketing is, the question remains why is it important to know about this term? In recent times, about a decade after the computers had started being used extensively in professional areas and businesses, the internet too gained a lot of popularity. Over the years, the internet became a way in which people communicated. It became essential to their very being. To an extent where we can’t even dream of parting from our phones for a single minute without anxiety. And that’s when it strikes the genius minds. What if we started using this social media to communicate with our customers directly? Wouldn’t that be personalized, and more effective apart from being easy to use and with the lesser cost? The answer is before all of us. Today the time has arrived when marketing is dressed in the newer attire of digital technology. So, it is imperative to know what Digital Marketing is because for sure, it is the present and the future of Marketing.


What is the Difference between Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing?

And now the question which brought us all here. What makes digital marketing different from traditional marketing? The basic difference that we are aware of by the very definition of the terms is that while traditional marketing takes place via traditional means of promotion like an advertisement, digital marketing takes place over the digital platform. For a detailed explanation, we further discuss the most striking differences between traditional marketing and digital marketing to help you clearly distinguish the two:


  • Components: The major difference in traditional marketing and digital marketing is the way these are conducted. While traditional marketing includes promotion via notices, pamphlets, TV advertisements, business cards, handouts, announcements, print advertising including magazines and newspapers, radio promotion, publicity events, product show, and others. On the other hand, the digital marketing area includes Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Mailers, Content Marketing, and Public Relations. So it is pretty much clear that traditional marketing is basically made from components that are conducted in a traditional, old school way, while digital marketing is focused solely on components that are linked to the internet, the Search Engine and Social Media.


  • Cost: Now when it comes to business, we are all very conscious about the costs because these are ultimately going to impact our profits. And that’s where digital marketing is different from the traditional one with an upper hand. Traditional Marketing sources mainly print, TV, and radio advertising, lead to enormous costs. A single TV ad costs in thousands of rupees per ten seconds. While these rates may vary from property to property (the spicy shows, hot news and dramatic movies you watch on the TV are called Properties), the commercial rates are extremely high. And so is the reach. But, Digital Marketing, with its component of Social Media Marketing helps to do the exact same thing with more or less the same impact at a very less cost. For a single ad campaign on Instagram or Facebook, you might need about 100-200 rupees. So traditional marketing is costlier and digital marketing is cheaper.


  • Customer Targeting: Now another striking difference between these two forms of Marketing is that while in traditional marketing you may lack a choice of target customer, the same is not true for digital marketing. Now what this means is that in traditional marketing, all you can focus on is the quality of the commercial, the creative part, and the reach of the property in your target base. This leads to a bit of spillover to customers who may not belong to your target. But in case of digital marketing, you get to define the target audience and the ad campaign is run only on the feeds of these targeted customers. This makes digital marketing quite flexible and traditional marketing a bit rigid.


  • Results: Aren’t we all impatient to know the results? And that is extremely important when it comes to business because quicker results lead to quicker decisions. Digital Marketing helps you monitor the results of your campaign daily through reach, clicks, visits, etc. While in traditional marketing results are visible in a more indirect way. Mainly through predictions of the future. In TV commercials, you get the weekly reports of reach. For radio and print, it is quite difficult to ascertain this.


  • Brand image: Marketing has been used over the years to create brand awareness. Today it is used as a tool for brand imaging. Brand image is the visual of the brand that you create in the customer’s mind. It is the thought that strikes the customer on viewing or hearing about your brand. For eg., Xerox has become an epitome of a photocopy. That’s how people identify it. Now traditional marketing helps in the creation of a general brand image and awareness of the brand’s presence. On the other hand, digital marketing helps in creating a digital presence of the brand. And in today’s era, the time people spend on TV or radio or reading newspapers is quite less than what they spend on Google searching for product details or on Social Media scrolling pages of influencers to know about a product. So Digital presence is the key to reach the customer today. And that’s done by digital marketing.


  • Analytics: Another difference here is analytics. In traditional marketing it is difficult to analyze the campaign while it is life. It is certainly not possible to collect data then and there. But in digital marketing, tools like Google Analytics help you to keep an eye on what’s going on. You can access data of your customers, and analyze your performance using charts, graphs, etc which is all said and done by the advanced tools. So while digital marketing allows analytics, traditional marketing doesn’t.


  • Life of the Creative: This is an important aspect and differentiates traditional marketing and digital marketing quite well. Traditional Marketing creatives (the creative part, plot, imaging, etc. of the ads, in newspapers or on TV are called Creatives. Basically, ads are nothing but creatives) are usually created for longer durations. Like in a TV commercial, the ad may be shot once in three to four years. This means the same creative/ad can be used in multiple campaigns. Same is the case with newspapers and radio. You may have seen the same ads for the brands in the newspaper or on the TV a hundred times. This helps businesses in cost cutting. On the other hand, when it comes to digital marketing, you need to be proactive and robust. You need to be aware of the trends, the hashtags, the memes and the current affairs so that you can use these little things to develop posts and stories for social media platforms. Similarly you need to be updated to write blogs on the latest topics, and promote them immediately. It’s all a matter of timing in digital marketing. Time is very important. What’s in the morning may get stale by the end of the day. If you have ever noticed Amul’s ads in newspapers, it may strike you these ads are basically memes of the old days!


  • Point of Marketing: This means the point where the brands try to seek the attention of their customers. In digital marketing, the brand would follow you anywhere and everywhere you visit. For instance if you want to buy a school bag, you search for it on google. And the next thing you know is that you start getting ads of bag brands on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and any site you visit will have pops of bag ads. Even your games would be filled in with these ads. So basically, digital marketing uses cookies to track you and seek your attention at every digital point. But, once you’re done with your phone, and it’s either switched off or basically you’ve cut your contact with these devices, the impact of digital marketing is gone. No one can chase you any further. And that’s where traditional marketing comes in. Traditional Marketing targets you at all the platforms that are not digital. Be it your newspaper, your TV show, a radio buzz, on-road, at the mall, in the theatre, within the movie, at the bus stand, in the metro, at an event, or any other place. You’ll always be welcomed with traditional marketing efforts from brands. So, digital marketing targets you online and traditional marketing does it offline.


So here we come to an end. The above differences create a holistic view of what traditional marketing is, what digital marketing is and how are they different from each other. These also give us an insight into their importance and on the fact that traditional marketing and digital marketing are not two sides to the same coin, rather they are the two wheels of the brand cycle. Both are needed equally to create a complete presentation of the brand and grab the customer’s attention at every possible point of contact. You cannot ensure your brand’s acceptance using just one of them. While traditional is needed to interact at offline points, digital marketing is the need of the hour. Both are corollary to each other and both are important to make the brand a success.