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The digital revolution has transformed so many things, and marketing is no exception.
Many staples of yesteryear, while still having their time and place, feel archaic compared to what modern marketers have at their fingertips.
Traditional marketing vs digital marketing isn’t always a straightforward comparison, as many channels can overlap and some digital methods are arguably just evolutions of traditional ones.
However, utilising modern tech demonstrably increases reach and efficacy, so let’s take a look at the differences between each.
Traditional marketing is a self-explanatory term, yet the methods that fall under ‘traditional’ marketing are separated by being offline rather than non-technological.
This means that TV and radio adverts would be considered traditional marketing channels, despite being much more technologically advanced than billboards and leaflets.
Traditional marketing includes:
Digital marketing concerns all the channels that make use of technology platforms, and principally the internet. This includes social media posts, adverts on YouTube and podcasts, and many more forms.
Targeting users of computers and smartphones, digital marketing is able to integrate analytics and software tools that can give marketers a strong competitive edge.
Digital marketing includes:
Despite the comparison we’re making, a marketing campaign doesn’t need to choose one over the other. Indeed, many marketers use a considered blend of both approaches to get the best results.
This is because there are some demographics and contexts within which traditional marketing still triumphs over digital marketing. Traditional methods are often better at reaching people ‘out in the world’, and they can be used to target audiences based on physical location like in the case of billboards and print adverts.
Traditional marketing can reach people without the need for a device or internet connection, but in many ways it can be easily avoided. A billboard grabs attention and can be seen by many people in busy urban areas, but marketing letters are easily discarded and the vast majority of marketing call recipients won’t entertain the call once they realise they’re being sold to.
Traditional marketing cannot target its audience with as much precision as digital marketing, which can use highly specific parameters to find the exact people that comprise an ideal audience.
Digital marketing has an vast potential audience, with a smartphone in every pocket capable—in theory—of receiving your content. Using analytics, market research, and the tools available to digital marketers, you can push your marketing to individuals that fit the profile of your ideal customer.
Furthermore, digital marketing can often be woven around other forms of content, and reach your audience without disrupting their entertainment.
Digital marketing also allows for more measurement and reflection on your efforts. You can monitor conversions and engagement as a campaign unfolds, reassessing and tweaking as necessary, learning all the while.
Digital marketing can’t reach those who eschew technology such as smartphones and laptops, and that’s where traditional marketing can smooth over the potential gaps in your campaign.
Two people sat next to each other might see the same billboard, but it’s possible that neither will be interested in what it’s selling.
Using geotargeting and demographic data that is both harvested and utilised by digital marketing, those same two people can receive different adverts on their phones, tailored towards their interests and values.
One form of marketing can act as an inlet for the other. For instance, a piece of physical marketing or a outdoor advert could display a QR code directing customers to a website or app, perhaps to claim an offer as an incentive.
Ultimately, traditional approaches mixed into your marketing campaigns will likely lead customers to the digital marketing-based side of things, as this is where the most data gathering and analysis can take place.
In that regard, traditional marketing loses out to digital marketing because the latter can utilise a huge bag of tricks and build a rich customer profile with no limit of refinements.
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