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  • Writer's pictureSeth Flora

Digital marketing vs traditional marketing: Why digital marketing is better than traditional.

Today, businesses of all sizes have several options in how they market themselves. Most big businesses that have the time, money, and team will use both digital and traditional marketing. A good example of this is the big box stores like Wal-Mart. We see ads on billboards when we're driving, we see ads in the paper, ads on TV, and ads on social media. Why does Wal-Mart do both? Is it because they can? Is it so no one else can buy up the ad space? Or because their customers are both online and offline? Would you be surprised if I told you that it's all three?! Yes, Wal-Mart used both digital marketing and traditional because they can (they have the team, money, and time), so their competitors don't buy space and take away business, and because their ideal customer is anyone looking to shop for the items Wal-Mart sells (This is people from any gender, economic standing, and ages from 3 to 99!).

If you're reading this you are probably not the CEO of Wal-Mart or the head of their marketing department, you are most likely a small business owner who is trying to determine if you should put money into social media, a website, and SEO or into billboards, newspaper, and radio. So, let's take a look at the benefits and shortcomings of both.

What are the advantages of traditional marketing?

Traditional marketing like radio, tv, billboards, and direct mailers have been powerful tools small and medium-sized businesses used to advertise their products or services. Even today, in a world where almost everyone is online traditional marketing, can still play a role in a successful advertising campaign.

Local appeal

Traditional marketing approaches are great for local appeal. We all have seen a billboard or two that just catches our eye and demands our attention when we are out driving or walking downtown.

It reaches those offline

Surprisingly, not everyone is online and even in some rural parts of America high-speed broadband is not available leaving many unable to use the internet. Not to mention that many retired seniors are not on social media or searching Google to find a handyman. No, they will see an ad in the paper or see a sign in a yard and take their business to them.

What are the advantages of digital marketing?

Digital marketing like social media, web design, SEO, email, and more are great ways to reach your target audience. Most people are online scrolling through social media or searching for something they want to buy or a service they are in need of.

Measurable Results

Digital marketing allows you to see the results. If you run an ad on Facebook you are able to see how many people it reached, how many took the desired action. Measurable results allow you to make changes to the ad campaign because you can see what works and what doesn't.

Better ROI

Your money goes further when it is used on digital advertising. For the same monthly cost as one billboard, you could run a social media ad that targets the entire region reaching more users

Advanced Targeting

Digital marketing gives you the ability to target your audience when making social media ads, when creating backlinks, and creating keyword content on your site. If you are running a Facebook ad and you want to reach women between the ages of 32 and 56 who are mothers of children with birthdays coming up then you can place an ad right in front of her while she is scrolling through her social media.

What are the disadvantages of traditional marketing?

We covered the advantages of traditional marketing and how you can use them to effectively market your business. Now we are going to take a look at some of the disadvantages traditional marketing has.

Not very measurable

If you are using traditional advertising campaign methods you are going to struggle to see any measurable results. The only real way to measure this form of marketing is to offer a discount or BOGO deal and track how many times that deal was used. Unless you have the technology in place beforehand you will struggle to know who used the deal and will not be able to target those who got the ad but did not take advantage of the savings.

Not as specific targeting

With traditional methods, you can make still target an audience but it will never be perfect. Using a billboard that is on a busy road will get you lots of exposure and some of them will be your ideal customer but many won't be.

What are the disadvantages of digital marketing?

We covered the advantages of digital marketing and how you can use them to effectively market your business. Now, let's take a look at the disadvantages.

Can be costly

Running a successful digital campaign can get costly. With proper web design and development, monthly SEO, social media ads, and more you could be looking at around $3,000 per month depending on the agency.


Let's say the cost was too high to hire someone or an agency. You decide to do it yourself. Be ready to spend several hours a day working to get your site at the top of Google searches, create a great audience on social media, make updates to your site, and all the other steps needed to make a digital campaign work.

Why digital marketing is better than traditional

The LEO team agrees that digital is better than traditional because digital marketing allows you to reach your ideal customer through targeting and keyword content while traditional marketing isn't capable of being as targeted. It is also the now and future of marketing. Soon direct mailers, billboards, radio, and tv will all be outdated while things like social media, SEO, and future digital spaces will still be valuable resources to growing your business. That is one of the many reasons we are a digital marketing agency and not an old-fashioned traditional marketing agency. We know what works and what doesn't and are helping to build a future for our partners.

With that said we suggest that if you have the resources to do both.

Want the benefits of a digital marketing campaign while you focus on the day-to-day business operations? Then schedule an introduction meeting to learn how our team of elite marketers can help.

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