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Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing: What’s the Difference?

The Oxford Dictionary defines marketing as “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.” Perhaps put more simply, marketing is everything you as a business owner do to get your products into the hands of customers. Historically, marketing required placing advertisements into newspapers, magazines, television spots, and pamphlets or cards sent directly to potential customers’ doorsteps. As technology and the use of the internet have grown, the landscape of marketing has changed. Today, business owners and marketing professionals like MGMT Digital have two options to reach their client base. But what are the differences between digital and traditional marketing? Which one is better?

What Is Traditional Marketing?

Traditional marketing is the use of “traditional” channels to reach customers, new and old. Businesses may use billboards, printed media, and television commercials to direct attention to a product or service. Until the early 1990s, when the internet changed the landscape of business, traditional marketing was the only type of marketing available.

What Is Digital Marketing?

As the name implies, digital marketing uses digital channels to deliver marketing messages. Examples of digital channels include websites and social media. Think of the pop-up ads that appear when scrolling through Facebook or along the side of a website page. Those are all digital marketing.

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Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing:
Which One is Better?

The primary difference between digital and traditional marketing is the channel you use to get your message out to potential audiences. Traditional marketing uses “traditional” methods where digital marketing turns to newer and more technology-focused delivery applications. This does not mean that traditional marketing is not relevant or practical. On the contrary, traditional marketing still plays a significant role in day-to-day business operations. Although social media seems to be everywhere, not every potential or existing customer is fully engaged in the digital world.

For this reason, using traditional marketing methods such as magazines, newspapers, and television commercials will help to reach members of your potential audience who are not “online.” Additionally, when viewers see and hear a familiar jingle on television or a radio broadcast, that message sticks with them. In these instances, professionally designed traditional marketing campaigns can be equally as impactful as digital. 

Digital marketing is also important. Depending on your target demographic, digital marketing is equally if not more important than traditional marketing channels for reaching your target audience. Digital marketing is present in almost every facet of your day-to-day life that accesses the internet. When customers perform a google search, scroll Facebook or use other social media apps, advertisements are an ever-present part of the visual experience. Today people are online, sometimes for several hours each day. Digital marketing takes advantage of this and gets your business name in front of potential customers through many different channels.  The basics of digital marketing will help you understand how you can benefit from this type of advertising.

The question of which one is better is best answered with three words—both of them. The key to an effective marketing campaign today is to find an effective balance between traditional marketing. Both can and do play a vital role in marketing to potential and future customers across demographics. Your business will reach a younger audience through digital channels, and traditional channels typically appeal to an older audience or those who are not interested in social media. 

Today, traditional marketing doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. Newspapers, magazines, and television still hold a strong presence in your average consumer’s life. Therefore, if you have the budget to include traditional marketing as part of your larger marketing campaign, you should. Digital marketing in addiction treatment (and most industries) allows for easy ways to measure the success of your campaign, and precise market targeting is easier in the digital environment. However, digital ads can be seen as annoying by consumers who aren’t interested in viewing them, and they sometimes lack the same level of permanence as traditional ads carry. 

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Each method has its share of pros and cons. The best approach is the one that gets your business name out there to the customers you currently serve and those you hope to serve in the future. A boutique marketing agency like MGMT Digital can work with you to design a comprehensive, well-rounded marketing plan that considers your specific customer base. Let us help you build your presence with a marketing plan that focuses on your customers’ needs and wants. 

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