Traditional Marketing Vs. Digital Marketing – What Do You Need In 2021?

Traditional Marketing Vs. Digital Marketing – What Do You Need In 2021?

Do you get into the debate of digital marketing vs. traditional marketing with fellow marketers? It turns out that we all have our biases. A digital marketer would be inclined towards digital marketing. On the other side, a traditional marketer might not accept how digital marketing is changing our lives.

We are going to take an unbiased approach. We’ll discuss the difference between the two types. We’ll talk about the pros and cons of each type. Finally, we’ll discuss which approach you should use in 2021.​

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Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing – What’s The Difference?

First, let’s see what is digital marketing?

As the name describes, digital marketing is about using digital channels such as websites, social media, and email to market your products or services. An example would be the ads that pop up when you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed.

On the flip side, traditional marketing involves traditional channels like billboards and printed media. This was the main type of marketing until the internet developed in the 1990s.

So the main difference lies in the medium through which an audience gets a marketing message.

We are living in the digital age. This doesn’t mean that traditional marketing is dead. It still has its value.

For example, who isn’t familiar with Rolling Stone? The magazine’s ads and copy are still impactful as they were decades ago. They have a profound effect on your memory. Without knowing it, you get attached to them.

On the other hand, we are surrounded by digital marketing every day because of the role of the internet in our lives. This can range from finding holiday gifts for your brother on Google or seeing personalized ads on Facebook.​

Traditional Marketing – Pros and Cons

Digital marketers often undervalue traditional marketing. However, you’ll still find its impact on consumers’ lives every day. Depending on your budget, you can share your campaigns through the following channels:

  • Outdoor (Billboards, bus/taxi wraps, posters, etc)
  • Broadcasting (TV, Radio, etc)
  • Print (Magazines, newspapers, etc)
  • Direct Mail (catalogs etc)
  • Telemarketing (Phone, text message)
  • Window display and signs


  • Impactful and easy to understand: Whether it’s a billboard ad or a TV commercial, people are used to traditional marketing. In addition, they are fun and easy to understand.
  • Printed marketing materials are more permanent: Let’s say you got an ad in the Washington Post. It will stay there as long as the magazine is recycled.
  • More memorable: People are more likely to remember them, especially if it’s a big platform like Super-Bowl ads.


  • Measuring campaigns is difficult: Contrary to digital marketing, you don’t have the same in-depth tools in traditional marketing.
  • Heavy on the wallet: We are not talking about running a 10-dollar Facebook ad. Many forms of traditional marketing require a lot of budgets which is why it’s not feasible for new brands.

No direct interaction with the consumer: You don’t get personalization like digital marketing. To know about your audience’s reaction is hard.

Traditional Marketing Vs. Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing: Pros and Cons

Traditional marketing is impactful, more permanent, and memorable. That doesn’t mean everyone can afford it. That’s why digital marketing is a game-changer.

You don’t have to be a big brand to reach a wider audience now. It has allowed even the mom-and-pop shops to reach the audience of their choice, within their allowed budget.

A major portion of the global population is on the internet. Among that portion, a majority uses the internet daily. Consider this: According to ClickZ, a projected 73% of all e-commerce sales will come from mobile by 2021.

So if someone is trying to convince you against digital marketing, run away. That person doesn’t know the power of this modern way of marketing.

These are a few digital marketing channels:

  • Social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc)
  • Website
  • Content marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Inbound marketing
  • Email marketing
  • PPC (pay per click
  • SEM (Search engine marketing)


  • Budget: You can run digital marketing campaigns for a low amount like $10. This amount may not be possible in traditional marketing.
  • More options for engagement: With the power of social media, you can directly see how people interact with your brand. You can look at likes, dislikes, comments, shares, and messages to improve how people use your services.
  • Easy to measure your campaigns: Unlike traditional marketing, you get to track your campaign, learn from them, and improve future marketing efforts.
  • Makes clever targeting possible: You can target a 25-year-old male who loves Eminem and Jack Nicholson using digital marketing. I challenge you to tell me a way to do so with traditional marketing.


  • Digital ads can be deemed as annoying: When you are scrolling through your Facebook feed, you don’t want to be bombarded by ads related to a search you performed yesterday.
  • Less permanent: Google ads, banners, promo emails, or social media ads are less permanent which can decrease their impact.

Constantly evolves: You have to learn a lot. Again, if you are an avid learner, this is not a disadvantage.​

Traditional Marketing Vs. Digital Marketing – What’s The Best Approach In 2021?

Now it’s time to address the elephant in the room – Traditional Marketing Vs. Digital Marketing, which type of marketing should you use?

I run a digital marketing agency. Still, I won’t be biased.

I think that digital marketing is universal, as it gives everyone a chance to get in front of a huge audience.

That said, you shouldn’t ignore traditional marketing.

I recommend exploring digital marketing vs. traditional marketing and finding what your audience wants.

What is your favorite type of marketing? Do let me know in the comments below.​

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