Updated: Jun 12, 2020
It can seem like the marketing world moves at the speed of light, and what was once considered the most current and profitable form of marketing is now considered old-fashioned. In our recent blog post, we got into what exactly digital marketing is and what you should know as either a business owner or someone working in digital marketing, but in this post we want to explore the differences between traditional marketing and digital marketing.
Traditional marketing typically refers to any marketing efforts not online - think print magazines, billboards, direct mailers, television, and radio ads. It is important to note that these are still useful marketing tools and should be used in conjunction with digital marketing for optimum results.
However, for smaller budgets, digital marketing gives you way more bang for your buck. That billboard? Depending on the location, prices vary from $500 a day in rural locations to $20,000 a month and up in metro areas. Now, if you're in an area with low views per billboard, the cost is reasonable for your budget, and you feel confident that people driving around are going to see your sign enough to motivate them to buy, then stick with a billboard.
Print magazines can be similarly wide-ranging in cost, from $2,000 a month for smaller ads in smaller publications to $100,000 a month in major publications with significant distribution. You can drop any amount of money on magazine ads. Again, if you feel confident flipping through your chosen mag is enough to push someone to purchase, then go ahead.
The issue often is, the budget a client has allotted isn't enough to even make a slight dent in the consumer psyche via traditional marketing methods. If you wanted to dabble with desk-side mailers, radio ads, as well as a billboard and print magazine, well you're looking at a huge dollar spend before you even consider the cost of creating the needed content. Traditional marketing offers a really limited way to track consumer behavior and see what is actually making you money, forcing you to take more time to wait and see what works. You, as the advertisee, have very little control over the specific timing, the customer interaction or consumer feedback.
Here is where digital marketing comes in as a cost-friendly but still really effective marketing step.
Since you are doing everything in real-time, you're able to see fairly quickly what is working, what isn't, and what you should do more/less of for customers. You're able to target people very quickly, create content far less-expensively than for traditional advertising methods, and track ROI with detailed analytics.
On top of real-time adjustments, you're also operating from a place of inbound marketing. Instead of going out there to find people, people are directed to you.
Whether it is running an advertisement on Google or creating marketing related content for your blog, it's all about attracting your target audience and spreading awareness. It usually takes eight points of contact for a customer to make a new purchase with a digital brand, so the more online points you have a curated presence on, the quicker the sales process.
To break it down even further, here are a few stats from a variety of sources regarding the rapid-fire growth of digital marketing:
More than 80% of shoppers/buyers do their research online before investing in a product/service.
84% of people will not purchase if they are dealing with an unsecured website. (Blue Corona, 2018)
By 2021, global retail e-commerce sales will reach $4.5 trillion. (Shopify Plus, 2018)
Referrals — defined as traffic driven from external sites that link to your online store — are the greatest source of e-commerce conversion. (Growcode, 2020)
B2B e-commerce sales are expected to outgrow B2C e-commerce sales by 2020. (Ecommerce Platforms, 2018)
90% of B2C businesses report social media as being the most effective content marketing tactic.
Google drives 96% of mobile search traffic. (Jody Nimetz Co., 2018)
Building and optimizing a website can be pricey. Still, if done correctly, you can see exactly where customers are spending the most time, what products are most popular, and who and where your customer is before you even start trying to spend money on new ads. Social media, incredibly important for any business today, lets you get started and push out content for free, and in front of an audience interested in what you're selling. This type of clarity is available with detailed tracking and analytics that allows you or your marketing team to pivot as needed, without a pricey strategy.
Long Story Short, Which is Better?
There is no question digital marketing gives you a better ROI. Would you rather have an advertisement or email campaign running based on performance or an expensive magazine ad with an unmeasurable audience?
Digital marketing: Spend Less, Gain More.
For most businesses, it's a no-brainer.
In our experience, we highly suggest optimizing your website and conducting email marketing first, to create a cohesive, branded, easy-to-shop consumer experience, and then investing in ads. If you want to see a significant return on investment quickly, a $2000+ monthly ad spend is where you will see the most significant
growth, especially for e-commerce businesses.
Your competitors are on Google, and it is a pay-to-play system. However, even with smaller budgets and the right campaign management coordinated on Facebook, Instagram, email marketing and website campaigns, you will see increased product/service sales, as well increase your brand awareness, target new customers and conduct real-time consumer research.
If you're still debating digital versus traditional marketing, feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.