In 2022, it isn't easy to encounter someone who doesn't have a presence on the Internet. Before the Internet, businesses still needed to promote products and services, and they did it through traditional marketing. But is traditional marketing still relevant in 2022? And how does it differ from digital marketing and advertising?

Understand the differences and discover which form of marketing is best for your company below. 


Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing is a collection of promotional techniques people encounter every day. Things like tv commercials, billboards, and signs you might see in a store window are just a few examples of traditional marketing. Traditional marketing is a great way to reach local audiences; small businesses primarily rely on traditional marketing and advertising. 

Some examples of traditional marketing are: 

  • Outdoor (Billboards)
  • Telemarketing
  • Broadcasting (TV, Radio, etc.)
  • Print (Flyers, coupons, etc.)
  • Window display and signs
  • Direct Mail

Traditional marketing efforts are often more expensive than digital and more sustainable. Printed materials, broadcast ads, and window displays might cost more upfront but are relevant for many months. Users of the digital space are constantly distracted by new things. Brands must create new material to grab their attention. In comparison, direct Mail and telemarketing can run for much longer than digital marketing ploys. 

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Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is an array of promotional techniques online. Advertising online allows businesses to realize new audiences and connect easily with their target market. Consumers today often want a personal connection with the brands from which they buy products and services. Digital marketing also allows companies to create a unique voice for their brand. 

Digital marketing actions include:

  • Social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
  • Website
  • Content marketing
  • Inbound marketing
  • Email marketing
  • PPC (pay per click)
  • SEO (search engine optimization) 

Digital marketers use data and technology to get in front of the right audience for their company. For instance, social media is an essential part of digital marketing. It is a crucial component of brand development and connecting with future and existing customers. 


Now more than ever, consumers want to build connections to companies. Social media is a prime example of this and allows businesses to create a story/image that customers can relate to. According to Sprout Social, 64% of consumers want brands to connect with them. From the same survey, 51% of people said their relationship with a company begins when they feel the brand understands them and their desires. Social media is a perfect place for businesses to communicate with customers in a way traditional marketing cannot. 

Do you want to learn how to build your brand and connect with your customers on social media? Get 10 free social media tips to grow your business online!

3 Key Differences (Traditional vs. Digital)
1. Medium

One key difference between traditional and digital marketing is their medium. Digital marketing uses online channels to reach consumers. Conventional marketing methods are offline, things like print, broadcast, and signage. Choosing the suitable medium to use for your business's marketing efforts is essential. A marketer must first understand the needs of their target consumer, then discover the best method to reach them with the answer to their problem. 

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Many businesses prioritize digital marketing because in 2022, pretty much everyone needs/uses the internet. Business owners find that using an online channel to reach current and potential customers is effective. Digital Third Coast reports that digital marketing efforts generate 50% more interactions with consumers than traditional marketing. 

2. Measurement 

Another difference between traditional and digital marketing is how success is measured. Traditional marketing efforts are often difficult to track success. If a local company were to put a billboard along a major highway in their area, they could increase business. Unfortunately, there are no foolproof ways to determine whether that business came from the billboard. One might assume that if the billboard was the only thing that changed, they could consider the influx of new customers from the billboard.

Instead of assuming, many companies ask new customers, "how did you hear about us?" in a questionnaire or survey. While the survey method works across most traditional marketing channels, complete answers are not guaranteed. Consumers could skip the survey altogether or answer incorrectly, creating discrepancies in the data. 

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Digital marketing is more successfully measured through automation and software. Social media, pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, and search engine optimization are measured through software tools to determine success. Marketers can know in real-time if their efforts have been successful through databases that track the actions of their customers on their website or social media pages. 

3. Cost 

As said before, traditional marketing is sustainable but also expensive. Often businesses will pay more upfront for a broadcast or print advertisement. These marketing tactics have a long shelf life and can be used repeatedly. While digital marketing efforts are less expensive, advertisers, social media managers, and web-optimizers constantly perfect their tactics to improve performance. Businesses might only pay a few cents for users to click on their online ad, but must continually work to get the attention of other consumers over time. 

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Which Is Best For Your Business?

Most companies use a combination of traditional and digital advertising. When deciding on a medium for your business marketing, two things to consider are your audience and budget. Determining your target market will help you know where to reach them best. Deciding on a budget will help you understand what types of marketing tactics you can afford. Then, you can decide whether traditional marketing methods or digital marketing efforts will make the most impact on your business.

Are you interested in exploring digital marketing for your business?

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