What is the difference between traditional & digital marketing?

By NIIT Editorial

Published on 28/07/2020

6 minutes

With the growing usage and accessibility to technology, the way marketers communicate with their audiences has changed drastically. With a clear understanding of the differences between traditional marketing and digital marketing, you will be able to pick the right marketing field and achieve your business goals.

So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at the two different fields of marketing.

What is digital marketing?

To put it simply, digital marketing is predominantly the act of promoting and selling products and services via an online medium. At a high level, digital marketing is delivered through digital channels viz. websites, social media, email, and mobile apps. Digital marketing covers an array of marketing activities, some of which are:

What is traditional marketing?

Traditional marketing refers to marketing which is not done on any online platform. It covers advertising done via print, broadcast, direct mail, phone, and outdoor advertising such as billboards. This type of marketing uses newspapers, magazine ads, and radio to reach their targeted audiences.

As the name suggests, traditional marketing is one of the oldest forms of marketing. Many marketers count on this method of advertising as it is tried, tested, and true. Traditional marketing has shown excellent results in the past and continues to do so when it comes to reaching local audiences. Additionally, print media advertisements can be kept away somewhere for a long time, if they’re physical.


Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

The debate on digital vs traditional marketing is old and long going. While both offer means to advertise, how can one choose between print ads or digital ads?  

Let’s take an in-depth look at investing in both.


Investing in Print Ads

Print advertising can be extremely beneficial to a business if it is done consistently and within reach of right target audiences. Print ads are not something that you can engage in one time via magazine ads or on a billboard or in a newspaper; it’s a long term game. Financially, a print ad is bigger investment. Additionally, when we are speaking of investing in a print ad, you will have to look at various print mediums to feature the ad on. Each medium comes with different costs for featuring the ad. You also have to consider that the number of magazines in one circulation does not guarantee the number of targeted audiences viewing your ad. This is because not every copy of the magazine will be purchased.


Investing in Digital Ads

To begin with, digital ads are less expensive as compared to print ads. With the help of search campaigns, you can customize your ads to a specific target group. Also, you have the liberty to make the changes at any time, from anyplace. Since the medium is online, you can check how your ads are performing and rectify them in any way that you see fit. Another benefit of opting for digital ads is, for some digital marketing channels, CPM (Cost Per Mille) can be free. For example, Google display ads charge you CPC (Cost Per Click) instead of CPM.

When we compare them both, digital marketing involves less financial risks than traditional marketing.

Along with a lower budget, there are other reasons why old and new companies have gradually started leaning towards digital marketing and creating strategies around it.

Two of the major advantages of digital marketing over traditional marketing are:


Higher level of customer engagement:

Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing interacts with customers directly, paving the way for more audience engagement. This interaction is created via various digital channels such as social media comments, email messages, etc.


Broadens the audience reach:

One of the fallouts of traditional marketing is that it puts limitations when it comes to reaching audiences beyond regional or local boundaries. Digital marketing, on the other hand, broadens the reach to different areas across the globe. It also allows you to implement different digital marketing strategies across borders.

Today, the market has a great demand for digital marketing professionals. Many management institutions also offer digital-marketing-centric certificate courses. We at NIIT offer Post Graduate Programme in Digital Marketing and Branding which is designed to educate you with the nuances of digital marketing for rewarding careers. 


Reviewed on 19th April 2024

Post Graduate Programme in Digital Marketing and Branding

NIIT offers programmes, especially designed for young guns. Focused on intensive learning that lays a strong foundation, they are not just about the nuts & bolts, but also about comprehensive skills required for a career in Digital Marketing.

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