Digital Marketing vs Traditional Advertising: Which Is the Best for Your Company?


In all business, reaching any level of sustained success requires a solid marketing plan. Establishing the correct marketing plan requires an accurate assessment of your company goals. In today’s world, one of the biggest questions facing companies is whether to allocate resources to digital marketing or traditional advertising. Answering these three questions will move you closer to the correct path.

How Far Do You Want to Reach?

At the most basic level, the online nature of digital marketing gives it the advantage of reaching more potential customers than traditional advertising could. But more is not always better.

Strictly local companies—like those in the service, restaurant or fitness industries—usually have better luck with traditional advertising. There is a certain trustworthiness that comes along with a traditional newspaper print ad. Since local businesses thrive on developing relationships with customers, establishing trust is a major part of the equation.

On the other hand, online businesses like e-commerce websites need digital marketing to reach customers. Though online businesses still rely on establishing trust, brand awareness is equally important. Digital marketing is ideal for increasing brand awareness on a national or global level.

Who Are You Marketing To?

The next important question to ask is the demographic your company wants to sell to. It’s probably not surprising that age is greatly important in choosing the appropriate venue for your marketing efforts.

Older generations are more likely to see and respond positively to traditional advertising. Slots in newspapers, television commercials, radio commercials and billboards are the advertisements this age group is comfortable with.

Younger people, however, prefer a different approach. Millennials spend a great deal of time on their phones, and digital marketing makes it easy to advertise on mobile devices. In fact, even if your desired reach is local, it’s worthwhile to create a local digital ad if your target demographic includes millennials. Some sources allege that up to 78% of millennials use Snapchat, a popular mobile communication app, on a daily basis. It should also be noted that millennials make up a huge part of our national economy. Creating an ad on Snapchat or on similar apps is a sure way to gain immense exposure.

What is Your Budget?

Perhaps the most important factor determining your marketing strategy is your budget. On average, a traditional ad costs more than a similar digital ad. This is for two reasons: traditional advertising often requires the use of costly resources like paper and ink, and it has a long history of pomp and circumstance.

With digital marketing, it’s also much easier to see exactly where your money is going. On Google AdWords, for example, you can see the keywords and advertisements that are working the best. These digital programs also allow marketers to change their budget on the fly. Unfortunately, premier digital ad slots can be even more costly than anything in the world of traditional advertising, but the average digital slot is affordable.

As a final note on budget, there are some free resources that give digital marketing a decided edge over traditional advertising. Social media is an invaluable digital resource in today’s world, and it’s something your company should use regardless of your answers to any of these questions. The sheer networking potential of social media, on a local and global scale, makes it possible to grow your reputation as an industry leader.

Taking some time to reflect on these questions will bring your company much closer to the marketing plan it needs. There are countless ways to spend your marketing resources, and your sustained success depends on making the correct choices.