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Traditional vs Modern Marketing - who wins?


traditional vs modern marketing illustration

Marketing specialists have been arguing the pros and cons of traditional versus modern marketing since the dawn of the internet. We thought we'd take a look at the state of play in 2021 and weigh up the benefits and disadvantages of traditional marketing against modern digital marketing.


What is Traditional Marketing?


Not that long ago, the tools of marketing were limited to print (magazines, newspapers, flyers), broadcast TV (commercials or sponsorship) or radio (Ads or sponsored content). Print, TV and radio are what we now call 'Traditional Media'. Despite predictions about their demise, these media forms continue to operate and can still deliver large audiences.


Modern Marketing

Modern marketing, sometimes called digital marketing, encompasses everything from eDM's, podcasts and websites to digital ads, YouTube videos and social media content.

The pros of digital marketing include:

  • The ability to target particular demographics or interest groups
  • Detailed metrics on audience responses, including open rates, viewing time etc
  • Lower costs and a greater return on investment


Even if your campaign assets are expensive to create, digital marketing still wins on cost over traditional marketing because you can continuously test and modify your campaign based on the audience data received. By comparison, a TV Commercial, once completed and ready to air, cannot be easily modified. Nor can a TVC garner the immediate feedback that is available on a digital platform.


Digital marketing content is a lot more malleable as well—it can be easily adapted to different channels and customised to suit specific audiences.


Why use Traditional Marketing then?


The key to successful marketing is knowing your audience, and this is why traditional marketing still has a role to play. For example, customers expect to see a premium or luxury product advertised in a glossy magazine or a big-budget TV commercial. Likewise, a community newspaper ad or mailbox flyer can still be very effective when targeting a local audience.


Modern marketing and traditional marketing are not mutually exclusive—the best campaigns combine the strengths of both media. Let's face it, we still live in a physical world, and a well-placed billboard can reinforce your digital messaging and encourage that final call-to-action response in a customer.


There are some unavoidable disadvantages with traditional marketing though. Typically, a page of advertising in a magazine or newspaper is much more expensive than the digital equivalent. That printed content also has a shorter lifespan, as the newspaper quickly becomes yesterday's news.


There has been a significant drop in the numbers of people who watch broadcast television, as more viewers switch to streaming services and content delivered through social platforms. Last year's lockdowns saw the closure of some magazine titles, as readers migrated to online content.


Digital marketing offers one killer feature that no magazine or TV ad can match—the ability to convert ad viewers into e-commerce customers with a single mouse click or finger tap. Internet-based marketing opens up a wealth of different creative outlets for promoting your company and products, including:


  • YouTube' How-To' Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Live-streamed events
  • Social media competitions


So, in the battle of digital marketing vs traditional marketing, we have a winner, and it's digital. But while digital marketing is more effective, it's not necessarily easy. As more businesses promote themselves online, the competition for eyeballs has become fierce. Marketing pro's like the team here at Activate can help you design digital campaigns that actually deliver on their objectives. The key is integration—making sure your messaging is consistent across all platforms and working together to drive sales. We believe a great website should be the core of your marketing strategy, as it offers you the most control over your brand and the customer experience.


If you're looking to refresh your digital marketing this year, we can help you with website development, brand design, SEO and online marketing. Contact the team at Activate to get started.

Posted in Marketing

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