Today, digital marketing is a no-brainer for any business that wants to grow. But a decade ago, digital marketing was a new concept, and most of the business world relied on traditional marketing strategies. They don’t have to be opposites, though.
Combined, traditional and digital marketing have the potential to transform your business through explosive long-term growth that can make you a powerhouse in your industry.
Defining traditional and digital marketing
In a nutshell, traditional marketing includes any form of marketing that doesn’t take place online. Digital marketing, on the other hand, is every form of marketing that takes place online. Specifically, traditional marketing includes:
- Print (magazines, newspapers)
- Broadcast (television, radio)
- Direct mail
And digital marketing includes:
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
Although they’re different, traditional and digital marketing don’t have to be enemies. Both of them have their own distinct advantages that can help you get more for your marketing dollar.
Advantages of traditional marketing
Traditional marketing works because it has its roots in — well — tradition, for lack of a better word. These marketing strategies all revolve around media that’s existed for decades, if not centuries, so they’re all tried-and-true methods of growing your business.
For the most part, they’re built on brand awareness and product promotion on a massive scale. They may be a little expensive, but traditional marketing has its advantages:
- Active customer acquisition
- Proven effectiveness
- Huge potential audience
Of all these factors, accessibility might be the most important. Practically everyone in the world has access to televisions, radios, newspapers, and other entertainment media that thrive on advertising. In America alone, 99% of all families own a television.
That’s 315 million people with access to broadcast advertising just in one country. Plus, because there are literally thousands of TV stations, you can almost always find one that fits your niche on cable, satellite, or network. Despite their waning popularity, a lot of people still read newspapers and periodicals like magazines.
It may seem like a shot in the dark, but these old-school print media can work wonders for brand awareness. Basically, when you use traditional media, you get your name out to as many people as possible. The results may be difficult to track, but the sheer potential is enough to make traditional marketing a smart move.
Advantages of digital marketing
Digital marketing focuses on highly-targeted, results-driven marketing that lets you advertise exclusively to people in your niche. Digital marketing for environmental testing companies, for example, can reach its target audience easily.
It’s narrow, laser-accurate, and — most importantly — affordable. You might not get the same reach as traditional methods, but you’ll only reach out to people who are interested in becoming your customers.
The biggest advantages of digital marketing include:
- Passive customer acquisition
On top of all of this, Internet use is rapidly increasing, and it’s slated to continue increasing for years to come. That means you already have a large audience already online — and it’s probably going to get bigger. A bigger audience means more business, and that means more growth.
Plus, the fact that a lot of digital marketing — like content marketing — includes passive customer acquisition makes it the perfect complement to the active acquisition tactics in traditional marketing. And to make it even better, digital marketing as a whole is much more flexible and responsive than traditional strategies. You can alter your campaigns whenever you want with fast (sometimes immediate) results.
There’s no waiting, no contracts, and no upsells. You just do what you want when you want to do it. And because it hardly costs anything compared to traditional marketing, your company can start using digital marketing with hardly any additions to your budget.
So when it comes down to brass tacks, both traditional and digital marketing have their advantages. But what’s the advantage of using them both?
Advantage of using both
Customer acquisition, reputation management, brand recognition — it’s all there when you use every marketing strategy you have at your disposal. And when you build a strategy that allows them to work together, the benefits can be huge. Think about your marketing strategy like a stock portfolio — it’s best to invest in a variety of marketing strategies so you can maximize gains and minimize losses.
For example, a medical equipment marketing plan may use traditional and digital channels. They use traditional channels like trade shows and conferences to connect with physicians one-on-one and then digital channels to connect with physicians 365 days of the year. You might think that online marketing strategies offer more opportunities to drive results when it comes to digital marketing vs. trade shows. However, when they two work together, you can drive more sales and revenue for your company. If one strategy doesn’t work well for a few months, you don’t have to worry about losing much since the others will cover for it.
If one strategy works really well, then you just make that much more money. Diversifying your marketing strategies is great for long-term growth. Short of some marketing catastrophe where every medium fails, you’ll almost always continue moving forward.
Make traditional and digital marketing work for you
Traditional and digital marketing sound like opposites, but you can use them together to achieve huge levels of growth.
The only real barrier to using both is your company’s budget, but you can overcome that with enough returns. And just like that, you’re shifting your company’s growth into high gear. Have you used traditional and digital marketing at the same time?
What results did you get? Let me know in the comments!
Trevin serves as the VP of Marketing at WebFX. He has worked on over 450 marketing campaigns and has been building websites for over 25 years. His work has been featured by Search Engine Land, USA Today, Fast Company and Inc.
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