Can a product sell itself? A product must be able to stand on its own once it’s in the market. Still, one of the reasons it’s worth going to the trouble of taking marketing courses and getting a marketing degree is that marketing plays a proven role in helping your target audience find your product.
From word-of-mouth advertising, to print media, to TV, marketers have evolved with the times to learn ever more sophisticated marketing strategies for selling products to all types of people. Digital marketing is just the latest in a long line of innovations.
But does digital marketing work any better than traditional marketing in today’s media landscape? If you were to begin a career in marketing, which one would you specialize in? To answer these questions, let’s compare and contrast the two approaches in greater detail.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing gained traction because of the Internet. Most digital marketing started with emails and ads on websites but has grown because of social media. To become a digital marketer, you need to know the latest trends and strategies for reaching people over the web.
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Businesses now do a ton of advertising on platforms like Facebook or Twitter to capitalize on the amount of time people spend there. YouTube also allows monetization of content through ads played in the breaks between videos. And marketers pay search engines like Google to show advertisements for their products on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Digital Marketing Salaries and Job Outlook
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, digital marketers are under the same category as Marketing Managers. On average, people in the marketing industry earn about $135,900 per year. In the next ten years, marketing jobs are expected to grow by 7 percent.
What Is Traditional Marketing?
In traditional marketing, marketers make more use of print and broadcast. Newspapers and magazines sell space on their pages for businesses to advertise their products or services. Television and radio reserve airtime for commercials to be played between shows. Traditional marketers also use direct mail to send letters and print fliers to potential clients.
Traditional Marketing Salaries and Job Outlook
Traditional marketing also appears under the Marketing Managers heading in the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2019, the median pay for marketing managers was $135,900. In recent years, however, traditional marketing has lost ground to digital marketing, leaving fewer opportunities for marketers to make a career in print, TV, radio, and direct mail.
Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing: Important Differences and Similarities
Though digital marketing and traditional marketing are similar approaches in many ways, the difference in medium is the basis for several features that distinguish one from the other. Let’s take a look at what these are.
Difference in Platforms Used
Traditional marketing goes by word-of-mouth, print ads in newspapers and magazines, and commercial spots on TV and radio. Meanwhile, digital marketing makes use of social media ads, email, and websites.
Difference in Audiences Reached
Digital marketing reaches the younger demographic more effectively, mostly because 82 to 90 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 use social media. Traditional marketing reaches people in higher age brackets, who tend to prefer print and broadcast. In the US, about 44 percent of adults still read newspapers.
Difference in Engagement Analysis
With traditional marketing, it takes a while to figure out how many people are engaging with your ads. You may have to, for example, conduct a survey to determine whether a particular advertising strategy was effective. In digital marketing, especially in Internet marketing, ad impressions are easily collected and readily available.
Similarity in Types of Ads
Both traditional marketing and digital marketing use similar types of ads. On both TV and YouTube, for example, video commercials are the go-to. And in both newspaper ads and in digital advertising on websites, marketers with careers oriented to graphic design target their audiences in similar ways.
Similarity in Goals
The main purpose of both traditional and digital marketing is to reach as many people as possible. They both direct their marketing campaigns towards specific target demographics.
Similarity in Following Consumer Behavior
Traditional and digital marketing are both concerned with consumer behavior. In their own ways, they follow marketing trends to know whether a product is viable for the target market. Being attuned to consumer behavior helps improve a product.
Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing: Pros and Cons
No matter which type of marketing you choose, there will always be both advantages and disadvantages. Understanding the pros and cons will help you cater your marketing strategy to a given situation and maximize your return on investment.
Digital Marketing Pros
- Lower Cost. The Internet often provides free space for you to do business. For instance, you can utilize social media to promote your products by simply creating a specific account for them.
- Engagements. In social media marketing, the number of likes and impressions help you gauge people’s interest more effectively. Based on the data collected, your page will be shown to users with interests similar to those who have engaged with the ad in the past.
- Global Reach. The digital world successfully bridges all countries and cultures. One tweet or post from you can reach other parts of the world. This might even allow you to tap into a particular international market.
Digital Marketing Cons
- Competition for Exposure. Online marketing has become saturated with a lot of digital advertising over the years. You may be paying to get your tweet promoted, but it does not guarantee attention from users.
- Vulnerability to Fraud. A lot of individuals have been victimized by fraudulent emails from scammers posing as banks. Having your work exposed in the digital world makes it easier for others to copy and use it for bad intentions.
- Media Conversion. Your promotions may not get the numbers of likes and impressions that you expected. The digital world might offer a lot of free space, but it does not automatically convert engagement into sales.
Traditional Marketing Pros
- Accessibility for Older Demographics. Not everyone is on the Internet. Some consumers still prefer print, TV, and radio. For this reason, traditional marketing still works best for middle-aged folks and seniors.
- Familiarity and Comfort. People are used to traditional marketing, and so the materials tend to be more conventional and easier for the masses to digest. For instance, you won’t have to worry about your audience not being able to understand Internet slang.
- Tried and True Approach. This is especially true of TV ads. Once a captive television audience sees something remotely interesting on a commercial, the first instinct is to look for where to buy it.
Traditional Marketing Cons
- Environmental Impact. You need to use a lot of paper for print marketing in particular. While some of them are recycled or properly disposed of, many old fliers and letters just end up in the trash.
- Late Results and Data. Consumer data is not immediately available. A marketing team needs to go the extra mile to get hold of the right data to make an analysis.
- Higher Costs. Ad space in print, TV, and radio is expensive due to competition. This is not unlike digital advertising, which can occupy a space for free.
Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing: Required Skills and Duties
Digital and traditional marketing require different skills for you to be effective. Check out which one matches your skills, and whether the job description interests you.
Digital Marketing Required Skills
- Tech Savvy. You need to know how to navigate social media and make use of available tools to create content.
- Creative and Witty. Witty captions and creative content easily captures the attention of a consumer.
- Familiar with Trends. You need to be sensitive to marketing trends to keep up with the interests of the consumer.
Digital Marketing Required Job Duties
- Planning. Content marketing requires you to always be one step ahead with a plan for different marketing strategies.
- Building Online Presence. By utilizing social media platforms, you can establish your online presence to reach more potential customers.
- Preparing Reports. Part of your duty is to establish key performance indicators (KPI) to measure how well you’re doing.
Traditional Marketing Required Skills
- Communication Skills. You must be well-rounded in a wide range of print and visual media to capture potential target audiences across all platforms.
- Broad Perspective. You must always try to feel the pulse of your target market through which products sell most. This is how you plan out your next strategy.
- A Mind for Sales. Since you don’t want to waste resources, your first priority is to sell a product immediately. Waiting for second encounters is not enough.
Traditional Marketing Required Job Duties
- Researching New Opportunities. You should be making a constant effort to find ways to improve the product so more people will buy it.
- Launching Campaigns. You need to come up with campaigns that will immediately pique the interest of the consumer.
- Maintaining Good Branding. Once you have earned a good reputation for the brand, you must keep it up to prosper in the future.
Should You Use Digital Marketing or Traditional Marketing?
There are so many ways to utilize both traditional and digital marketing. No matter the medium, the outcome depends on your creativity as a person. Knowing the advantages of each approach is essential to coming up with the perfect marketing strategy.
Advantage of Using Digital Marketing
Living in a digital world means taking advantage of digital marketing to sell your product or service. The space is usually free, so even a small business can advertise at a lower cost. You also get to see the engagements in real-time, which allows you to tweak your marketing strategy more easily.
Advantage of Using Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing is still a tried-and-true approach. Most of the older demographics rely on print and broadcast for their daily information needs. Making use of traditional methods helps you reach consumers who are less familiar with the Internet.
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