Traditional Media vs. New Media: Which Methods Belong in Your Marketing Plan?

Your business relies on a variety of marketing and advertising methods to reach potential customers and leads. Over time, the marketing methods you use have likely evolved, changed, or even been retired and replaced with new ones.

That’s why more businesses are asking about traditional media vs. new media.

As marketing continues to evolve, new methods — typically referred to as “new media” — have emerged. These methods are mostly said to deliver better results than other tactics — known as “traditional media” or even “old media”.

Keep reading to learn the about new and old media, plus the differences between traditional media and new media, to help your company decide which method is best for your business.

Could your business use new media marketing? Looking for ways to bring your marketing strategy up to speed? Give us a call at 888-601-5359, and we can help you start marketing your business with new media methods!

The difference between traditional media vs. new media

Traditional media allows businesses to target a broad target audience through billboards, print advertising, television commercials, and more. In comparison, new media allows companies to target a narrow target audience through social media, paid online ads, and search results. Price-wise, traditional media tends to cost more than new media due to its broad targeting and advertising channels.

What is traditional media?

Traditional media includes mostly non-digital advertising and marketing methods.

Traditional media is:

  • Television advertisements
  • Radio advertising
  • Print advertising
  • Direct mail advertisements
  • Billboards and off-site signs
  • Cold calling
  • Door-to-door sales
  • Banner ads

Companies have used these methods for many years to reach consumers and motivate them to make purchases. Up until very recently, these marketing and advertising styles were very effective, and helped businesses just like yours make a profit.

However, as the needs and expectations of consumers evolve, marketing has no choice but to evolve as well. This is what has led to the rise of new media and digital marketing methods — and the decrease in popularity of some traditional methods you know well.

It’s also led to the debate between traditional vs. digital media.


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What is new media?

New media, also called digital media, consists of methods that are mostly online or involve the Internet in some sense.

These methods include:

Many of these methods have been around for several years, but have only gained prominence recently. So when the topic of traditional media vs. emerging media is discussed, it’s somewhat misleading to call these methods “emerging” as very few of them are new.

Having said that, these marketing methods are continuing to change as time goes on. Best practices for these methods are currently dependent on their sources, as opposed to depending on the attitudes of consumers. But over time, we may see another shift as consumer feelings change toward these methods.

The decline of traditional media (and outbound marketing) in 2020

Within the last few years, new terms have been coined to discuss traditional marketing methods and modern ones. These terms are outbound marketing, which typically lines up with traditional advertising, and inbound marketing, which aligns with new media.

The “outbound” in outbound marketing refers to the fact that these marketing methods rely on messages being sent out to consumers. On the other hand, the “inbound” in inbound marketing refers to marketing where consumers are seeking out the company, or coming into their marketing channels willingly.

Over the last few years, outbound marketing methods like those you have relied on have declined in popularity among consumers. Now that potential customers can use new channels like the Internet, websites, and social media to research and discuss companies, they can choose to draw their own conclusions on where to take their business—and ignore advertising that suggests otherwise.

That’s one reason why new media has pulled ahead in the debate between traditional media vs. new media.

Consumers have also become less receptive to traditional media now that they are able to tune it out. Commercials can be skipped, radio stations can be changed, mail can be thrown away, and banner ads can be blocked. This means that marketing methods are often ignored or even seen as ineffective.

You can learn more about the difference between inbound and outbound marketing by reading this article on the topic.

Should my business stop using traditional media?

Not necessarily! No one can tell you which marketing methods are and aren’t worth your time and money. Since your business and audience are both unique, it’s impossible to say that something will or won’t work for you—and that applies to new media, too.

As we mentioned, many marketers are finding that traditional and outbound marketing methods are losing their effectiveness over time. If you’ve noticed lower returns on your advertising or outbound marketing, this is likely a symptom of that decreased effectiveness. So it would be a good idea to slowly phase those methods out in favor of new ones.

Many companies have found that one or two traditional media methods still work very well for them.

For example, billboards, while expensive, may help businesses gain awareness in local operating areas. And print advertising can help some companies reach markets that include those who still read books or magazines regularly.

While often positioned against one another, traditional media and new media can offer immense value when combined with one another.

There’s no harm in continuing your current marketing methods if they are still working for you. It’s entirely possible to invest in both new and traditional media! However, with all of your marketing methods, you should pay attention to their performance, and do frequent evaluations so that you can scale up or down your spending appropriately.

5 new media strategies that are worth your company’s time

If you think new media is the way to go in the digital media vs. traditional media debate, you have several options when it comes to channels and strategies.

Let’s take a look at some of the newer marketing methods that you may not yet be familiar with. These methods all revolve around your website, so in the off chance that you don’t currently have a site, please visit this article on website design and cost to learn what steps you should take first.

The five new media strategies your business should think about in 2020 include:

Learn more about each of these new media approaches below:

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization, commonly abbreviated as SEO, refers to a series of processes by which a website improves its rankings in search engines like Google. SEO is a crucial component of online marketing, because without ranking in searches, your website may never attract targeted leads or customers.

You can use SEO in many ways to improve a website’s ranking. One of the biggest ways is through the use of keywords. Keywords are specifically selected words or phrases that are placed within a website’s content. These keywords match up to the words or phrases that people are searching for. If you use the right keywords, your website is more likely to show up for these searches.

Find out why WebFX is the best SEO company for the job.

A website’s ranking isn’t just determined by keywords, however. A site may be more or less visible in searches depending on the number of links it has from other sites. A website with a great deal of links from others is more likely to be trusted by Google, and thus ranked highly for the keywords it targets. A website with very few links, on the other hand, will be ranked lower.

Research has shown that your search engine presence is strongly tied to the number of leads and revenue your business is able to generate. It’s for this reason that you should consider investing in SEO for your website and improving its visibility in search engine results.

You can learn more about how to get started with SEO by reading this tutorial for beginners.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

With pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, you can choose which keywords and phrases you want to trigger your advertisements. Then, if your bid is the highest, your ads will display above organic search results for those terms. And you only pay when people click on your advertisements, so if nobody clicks your ads, you won’t pay a cent.

One of the main benefits of PPC is that results are instantaneous. Unlike SEO, which can take several weeks before you see results, PPC ads can start driving qualified traffic to your website the minute they’re clicked to go live. If you’re looking to quickly boost sales, PPC is a great option.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a form of marketing with new media that has exploded in popularity over the last three to four years. As its name suggests, this marketing method relies on the distribution of content—including written content like articles, blog posts, and guides, as well as visual content like videos—to appeal to potential customers and business leads.

The popularity of content marketing has stemmed from the fact that consumers tend to react very well to businesses that provide entertaining, engaging, or helpful content. A consumer is much more likely to learn more about an unknown company if it has provided them something of value—like an answer to a question or a guide to performing a complex task.

Content marketing is also popular because it is able to have an impact on a website’s SEO. Google tends to rank websites higher that are providing substantial, worthwhile content that also uses the targeted keywords we mentioned above. This is another factor that has helped content marketing gain prevalence.

You can learn more about how content marketing works by reading the first chapter of our Beginner’s Guide to Content marketing.

Social Media

Even if you don’t currently rely on it as a marketing method, chances are good that you know what social media is and how it works. Social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram are used by businesses to establish connections with their potential customers, and also strengthen the relationships they have with current ones.

The biggest advantage of social media is that it allows you to have one-on-one, unfiltered conversations with potential customers. You are able to answer questions, respond to feedback, and address concerns or possible issues quickly, and in a very personal way. Although this may sound intimidating at first, it’s proven to be a huge benefit for companies that want to improve their customer service.

When you invest in social media, you don’t have to necessarily create a page or profile on each and every network. Your social media activity should depend on where your target audience is located. So for example, if your target audience is women in their 20s or 30s, you would likely set up a profile on Instagram and Pinterest. But if your audience is mostly young men, you might have better luck on Twitter.

No matter how you use social media, or which networks you choose to try, it’s crucial to not forget that your presence online requires attention. You’ll need to assign someone to monitor your pages and respond to customers in a timely manner. Otherwise, you might find that your reputation takes a blow from those who aren’t satisfied with your service.

Email Marketing

Finally, email marketing is one of the best new media methods you’ll find for directly reaching your customers and motivating them to take action. Although you might expect email to be classified as outbound marketing, email requires consumers to show their interest in joining a list before they can be sent to, so it qualifies as inbound.

What should you send in emails? That’s up to you! Many companies have begun using their email marketing as an extension of their content marketing—that is, they send educational, interesting, and unique content to their email subscribers. This can help nurture a relationship with leads or direct interested subscribers to the next step in the sales process.

Learn more about marketing with new media

Now that you know more about the differences between traditional media vs. digital media, you may be wondering what the next steps are. If you’re interested in trying SEO, content marketing, or any one of the other inbound marketing methods we highlighted here, it’s difficult to know exactly where to start.

We recommend browsing through our Beginner’s Guide to Inbound Marketing to decide what to do next. This detailed guide will help explain some more things you may not yet know about new media and modern marketing methods. It will also give you some ideas to help you develop an inbound marketing plan that is suited for your business.

If you don’t think you have the time to work on these new marketing methods, or would like help from a professional, feel free to contact us! WebFX is a full-service Internet marketing company that specializes in SEO, inbound marketing, and all things digital. We would be more than happy to discuss the topic of marketing with you, and make some recommendations to help improve your current program.

We hope you found this page helpful and educational on the topic of new and traditional media, and the new methods you should be considering for your marketing plan. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to let us know!