How Does Online Marketing Differ From Traditional Marketing, and Which Should I Choose?

If you’re looking to bring your organization or offering some extra exposure, then marketing is probably something you’ve already considered. As defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, marketing is/are “the activities that are involved in making people aware of a company’s products” — however; this definition doesn’t say anything about what exactly can constitute marketing, which can leave many confused about where to begin.

Marketing is typically split up into two subgroups: traditional marketing, and online marketing (also known as ‘digital’ or ‘internet’ marketing). While they are both indeed used to make people aware of your company or its offering, they do have some significant differences, which we’ll be going over in this article.

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What Does Marketing Include? Traditional vs Online Methods

To differentiate them, let’s start by comparing the two in what they involve…

Traditional Marketing Methods

Here is what the main methods of traditional marketing are:

  • Printed media — newspaper and magazine advertisements, leaflets, posters, guest articles, catalogs
  • Traditional digital media — TV advertisements, TV personality sponsorships, radio shows, radio advertisements
  • Telemarketing — cold calling (most often)

Online Marketing Methods

On the other hand, here are some of the things that online marketing can include:

  • Websites — ecommerce websites, blogs, banner advertisements, listing websites, online marketplaces
  • Social media — post advertisements, personality sponsorships, product/company pages
  • Search engines — SEO, search engine advertisements

Factors Differentiating Traditional and Online Marketing

Now let’s look at how these different methods shape traditional and online marketing, i.e. how their particular characteristics differentiate them…

Characteristics of Traditional Marketing

    Typically more expensive

    Better at conveying subconscious messages (e.g. choose Coke instead of Pepsi when standing in the drinks aisle, as opposed to buy Coke right now)

    Slower to execute, and a slower, gradual audience response

    Worse metrics

Characteristics of Online Marketing

    Typically less expensive (esp. Social marketing)

    Better at evoking immediate action from the audience

    Easier and faster to execute

    Better metrics

    Greater choice of communication mediums (e.g. video, text, audio, interactive)

Let’s now explore these some of these topics in more depth to decide which method is better for you.

Cost: Traditional vs Online Marketing

Often, online marketing costs a considerable amount less than traditional marketing, and also allows you to create smaller ads with even the tiniest of reaches (allowing you to target as few as 10-100 people).

Communication Mediums: Traditional vs Online Marketing

Traditional marketing is limited in the number of mediums which you can use to communicate your offerings. When using traditional media, you can only rely on text or images, and even with broadcasted media (video and/or audio), the interaction is much more limited than on online counterparts.

Metrics: Traditional vs Online Marketing

Because of the advanced, digital nature of online marketing, you can collect much more accurate, specific data about the reach of your marketing campaigns, the audience who responds best, and the approach that works best. With traditional marketing, the metrics are non-existent, or at best very vague (for example with television, where you can know the number of viewers and perhaps their location).

With all of that in mind, it seems like in today’s day and age, you should really be focusing on using online marketing. Not only is more cost-efficient than its traditional counterpart, but it also provides you with more metrics which you can use to improve your campaigns, a more targeted reach, and more ways to communicate your message.

Which type of marketing do you use — traditional, online, or perhaps even both? What are your favorite marketing methods? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below, along with all your other questions and remarks!

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