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Comparison of Traditional and Digital Marketing

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 4798 words Published: 13th Oct 2021

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Table of Contents


Traditional Marketing

Digital Marketing

Highlights of Traditional and Digital Marketing

Marketing Strategy Development




The American Marketing Association has as a definition for marketing the following:

“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” (American Marketing Association, no date)

According to Kotler (2016), marketing is “meeting needs profitably”. This statement is what marketing is when someone identifies a need can create a service or product to meet that necessity and why not by generating a profit. (Kotler and Keller, 2016)

Do marketing is to design the right product or service for the customers, is create the trust with your consumers along the way of purchasing. (Kotler and Keller, 2016, p. 43)

Traditional Marketing

Nowadays, diverse methods of advertising like print, broadcast, direct mail, and telephone are called traditional marketing. The first strategy in marketing was printing, since the Egyptians when they made sales messages and wall posters on papyrus. At present, an example of print marketing is advertising space in magazines, newsletters and any other printed materials for circulation.

(Traditional Marketing | What is Traditional Marketing?, no date)

Furthermore, traditional marketing includes print, broadcast, direct mail, telemarketing; and the strategies to establish this kind of marketing is very variable. Within small companies, the whole workforce usually collaborates to plan and implementing the marketing strategy, on the contrary, the most prominent companies have a particular area to design advertising campaigns.

(Traditional Marketing | What is Traditional Marketing?, no date)

Traditional marketing can be expensive because of all the printing and just as TV ads can cost millions, especially during the super bowl or any important event for example. Equally important traditional marketing is challenging to track. The most significant companies can afford this, but the small ones should look for another kind of advertising.

(Save, 2017)

Digital Marketing

Nevertheless, digital marketing offers products and services through digital channels, for example, social media, websites, email, and so on. Digital marketing is being a revolution for the companies because now the suppliers have to understand the customer attitude.

(Digital Marketing Definition from Financial Times Lexicon, no date)

The customer behaviour is led by other consumers, they use their social circles to get feedback from products and services in the market, and this trend is growing every single day. This new customer behaviour is the most powerful tool that can be the success or the ruin for any company in the world.

(Kotler, Kartajaya and Setiawan, 2017)

This new marketing approach can give a strategic advantage for the small companies because now they can compete with the world-wide companies. Kotler (2017) said the competition is moving from vertical to horizontal and technology is the reason. As it was mention before customers trust more in the f-factors which are Friends, Families, Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers) than in marketing communications from the companies.

(Kotler, Kartajaya and Setiawan, 2017)

TripAdvisor and Yelp are two of the most active instruments for the consumers to get feedback from different products and services in all over the world, that´s why marketers must adopt this inclusiveness and horizontal approach to build a better strategy of marketing.

(Kotler, Kartajaya and Setiawan, 2017)

Nonetheless, digital marketing can be tricky, if a consumer is unhappy with their product or service the person can go online on social media and publish a severe comment about the brand and because of many people trust better in the consumers rather than the company, this kind of comments can ruin a brand.

(Save, 2017)

There is a kind or marketing called “Word of Mouth” and is what the customers think about a brand and tell everyone else (another consumer), it can be positive or negative.

(S.H. Leeflang et al., 2014)

For example, the company Chipotle succeed with Word of Mouth (WoM) marketing in 2013 by releasing an online video “The Scarecrow”. The animation video was about a scarecrow who is forced to work in a factory but after he starts his own, add this video was a trailer for an accompanying iOS app that gives players the opportunity to earn codes for free Chipotle items.

(Econsultancy | Achieve Digital Excellence, no date)

The combination of a storytelling and real-life motivation, Chipotle´s campaign made a large engagement with their consumers. The campaign involved no paid media for the first four weeks, and offline the company guarantee WoM marketing with exceptional customer experience.

As good as this WoM was for Chipotle, in 2015 the company suffers a food safety scandal, after 13 customers reported sick with symptoms consistent with norovirus, without wanting it the company got a negative Word of Mount marketing and they are still recovering from that bad experience.

(Forbes, no date)

Highlights of Traditional and Digital Marketing

The neuroscience study performed by TrueImpact (Canadian neuro-marketing firm), shows that direct mail (paper) was more accessible to process mentally and verified better for brand recall. In this study were measured three-metrics cognitive load, motivation, and attention to compared the influence of traditional and digital marketing.

(Pavlovic, no date) (Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?, no date)

Another study from 2009 from Millward Brown, a Bangor University, got similar results and states that something tangible is more “real” to the brain, and connects more sensitive processing.

(‘MillwardBrown_CaseStudy_Neuroscience.pdf’, no date)

Even though the results from this study were outstanding for the traditional marketing, companies must think twice before following this strategy due to the expensiveness of printing materials, and it´s almost impossible to measure the effectiveness of the campaign.

However, with digital marketing the strategy it can be broader and get local and worldwide customers within hours, and that can bring better results and a most important measure of it. Companies can give a different way of delivering the message to their customers, like a blog, video, image, among others.

Most importantly, if the strategy is to use social media network companies can have interaction with their consumers and open the door to get feedback from them, and through a good review, the organisation gets more customers. Moreover, this digital strategy is low-cost and more efficient for both parties, and because it is digital, all the data can be stored and reviewed in real-time, and apply a change control in a prompt time.

(Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?, no date)

As might be expected, with a strong marketing strategy any business can be a competitor no matter the dimension of the organisation. The globalisation has hugely changed the market. First, the countries are more multicultural than years ago, and thanks to the easy access to the technology all over the world everyone can get ideas from any part of the globe.

Within the marketing strategy, all the organisations have to be aware of the ethical, environment, legal, and social framework of all the activities performed.

(Kotler and Keller, 2016, p. 37,38)

Furthermore, the organisations have to progress in their process, look for new advantage and not use the old strengths. Adapt is the most important to survive in a globalisation world with all that changes every minute.

Smart Insight is a digital platform that supports the members (marketers and businesses) to manage and improve their marketing by providing templates, and interactive learning tools. To help their customers to grow in this digital transformation.

According to a recent study made by Smart Insights call “Managing Digital Marketing” the outcomes are:


(‘Digital marketing strategy: How to structure a plan?’, no date)

The majority of the companies (in this study) don’t follow a defined strategy, they do digital marketing but don´t have a plan; and just the minority have a defined strategy for digital marketing. This company is an excellent example of the approach they are following; Smart Insights is creating a service who meets the needs of their consumers.

Having this in mind, to create a successful digital marketing strategy the companies might follow these steps:

  1. Set the mission. Choose the market, the consumers, work on one ideology.
  2. Define and measure your Key Performance Indicators, define the tools the company can use to measure the KPIs (E.g. Google Analytics, and BuzzSumo)
  3. Analysing customer markets. The company needs to know who is its market, who are its consumers, organisations must speak their language, know everything about their consumers. Supply to their emotional needs and most important please their deepest passions.
  4. Recognize your resources. Analyse the actuals and consider if you need new ones.
    1. Budget
    2. Team
    3. Channels
  5. Prepare the plan, and changes needed.

(5 Steps to a Powerful Digital Marketing Strategy, no date)

While there are a lot of organisations focus on how to market to the millennial market, the company Safety Labs which supplies with an innovative medical alert device, focus on seniors, because according to its CEO and founder Sanjay Chadha seniors are tech-savvy and they have a positive reaction to traditional advertisements as well.

(Blacharski, 2016)

The senior market has been adapting to this technology era; Limelight Networks admit that people born among 1946-1964 invest significant time online than young people, and spend about $7 billion a year online, this was discovered after “The State of the User Experience Annual Survey” performance by Limelight.

(Limelight Networks: Content Delivery Networks (CDN) Services, no date)

Marketers need to have more consideration for the customer experience to focus their strategy, from the beginning to the end of the sale and of course after that as well. Sometimes, traditional marketing might be more personal, to have contact face to face with the consumer can bring better results for the sales, and doesn´t suddenly vanish, e.g. business card, flyer, among others.

As evidence, different marketing methods worked before and are working right now. The organisations have to be intelligent enough to choose the correct for their services or product and most important for their consumers.

There are a lot of companies using different techniques to improve their digital marketing. Marketers have to comprehend the theory of Information Technology and work side by side with technologists to produce a marketing technology architecture.

(Kotler and Keller, 2016)

This blending of markets and IT team would bring the best skills from both sides to analyse and manage customer behaviour. The following tool is excellent to exemplify this customer relationship.

Many organisations are using Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM) as a part of their strategy; this tool allows to collect data from different points of contact amid the company and the customer. CRM systems give information about their consumers to the company, to understand their behaviour and preferences.

Likewise, all contacts, schedule coordination, follow-up action items, planned activities, meetings, notes, in general, all interaction, between customer and suppliers, can be accessed and reviewed merely through this software, and all information can be archived as well for future consultation.

Companies that are using this software need to give training to their staff to know how to use it and to get the best benefit possible from it.

(IQMS Software | ERP Company, no date)


(‘Customer relationship management (CRM) Services’, no date)

There is a big challenge in digital marketing nowadays; marketing analysts are missing, likely the rising importance of data, the staff of any company should know how to analyse all the information.

(S.H. Leeflang et al., 2014)

That´s why is important to keep people under training all the time because maybe a company can have the newest technology to gather data but if the team don´t know how to analyse it, the company won´t have any benefit from it.

One of the best companies to exemplify the blending of traditional and digital marketing is IKEA; its strategy is going to the market by doing surveys and doing home visits to know what is happening in the real world, with real customers and to get from them the perception of IKEA.

IKEA is blending both traditional and digital marketing, with the online store and their print catalogues in 32 languages.

The differentiation about IKEA is their room sets in their store, IKEA adapts their store to the location they are in, for example, if they are in Holland IKEA displays the same architecture in that country in each store to create the same atmosphere and to make the customers feel like home. By making this approach, all the consumers can visualise IKEA's furniture in their own home.

(Ikea’s secret to global success, no date) (Johnson et al., 2017)

Interior de la tienda de IKEA en Málaga | Autor: malagatrabaja.com

Another good example is the start-up companies when these companies are hosting a meet-up event they use social tools like Twitter with hashtags to cheer people to get more significant involvement in the event. Also, games on social networking websites can increase customer engagement and retention.


(Twitter. It’s what’s happening, no date)

Marketing Strategy Development

Mostly, the marketing strategy of a company must be created before starting any business. Marketing strategy is the tactic/plan that the organisation is going to follow to engage consumers, and is part of the business plan.

(The Balance, no date)

In fact, to develop a grand marketing strategy the business has to include the marketing mix


Furthermore, the organisations have to be flexible and be able to change any time the market requires to progress their results, especially the financials. The market is always changing and thanks to the digital information the data is reachable at any time in real time.

First of all, enterprises have to do market research, as it was mention before IKEA does very often that´s why its success. Once the market is known by the company, the strategic can start developing by marketers, having in mind the market mix.

What is the company selling? Product/Services. How much the people are willing to pay for it, of course having in mind the competitors, Price. Which is the better location, where the customers will be buying the product/services? Is it online? In a physical location? Place. Which marketing strategy the company will use, traditional? Digital? Both? Promotion. And finally, who is going to do what? In this process of developing the marketing strategy, People.

(Kotler and Keller, 2016)

The initial step in market selection is developing a framework for creating the strategy in marketing. Companies must consider the following range:

  • Demographic: consumer, industrial
  • Geographic: Trade regulations, market potential
  • Psychographic: Consumer lifestyle, corporate culture
  • Product use and application: Consumer, Industrial

(‘Marketing Strategy An Overview.pdf’, no date)

Companies must be careful when they do their market strategy; they need to gain the trust of the customer by delivering what they promise, to do the customer experience one of the best and they can come back any time to buy another product or use the same services again.

Marketers wants to make easier the life of their customers, and E-marketing could be one of the best way to accomplish it.

Dave Chaffey (2002) defines “E-marketing is digital technologies application which form online channels to contribute to marketing activities aimed at achieving profitable acquisition and retention of customers, by improving customer understanding and deliver integrated communications and online services”.

(Salehi, Lumpur and Mohammadreza Aghae, 2012)

For instance, following some examples where the organisations choose to use a digital marketing strategy, and the success of it.

  • Zappos.

Zappos is one of the most important online shoe commerce. The company has so much success in online customer care that its CEO wrote a book on this. Zappos has a complete digital strategy. One of their success is the promotions for their customers, for example, they provide 365-day money back guarantee, and they offer free shipping if the customer wants to buy or return something.

Zappos focus on what the customer wants and needs, not on what they want the customer to want or need. This statement is a differentiation for a digital strategy for Zappos. The company does invest in online marketing. However, doesn´t spend a lot of time to market its online presence, because their policies are so great, and their customers are satisfied with their services.

(Digital Marketing Agency / Online Marketing Agency with a strict ROI focus., no date a)


(Online Shoes, Clothing, Free Shipping and Returns | Zappos.com, no date)

  • Dollar Shave Club (DSC)

Dollar Shave Club is a company from the USA that delivers razors and other personal grooming products by mail. Its catch to be a successful company is not a drab, their videos and digital marketing are out of the conversion industry. The following is their legendary launch video:


(Dollar Shave Club | Shave and Grooming Made Simple, no date)

It was created in 2011 by Michel Dubin, and their originals ideas and fantastic manage of marketing strategy have to lead this company to be one of the most successful in their industry. DSC was recently acquired for $1 billion by Unilever.

(Digital Marketing Agency / Online Marketing Agency with a strict ROI focus., no date b)

Phrases like “Do I need to wash my hands after I pee?” and “Is it bad to pluck nose hairs with my fingers”, the company understand how to talk with their consumers, casual and direct, like it was a friend telling, and they customers adore them for it.

The lesson learned from this company might be that they took a significant risk by not taking themselves so seriously, they are making a profit by selling razors and entertaining their customers.


(Dollar Shave Club | Shave and Grooming Made Simple, no date)


Since the rise of the digital era looks like common sense is to invest in a digital campaign, even though the traditional method is still valid and useful for a lot of companies. For all the business is essential to have a website or at least to use some of the virtual tools like Facebook to be in the view of their consumers.

Therefore, any activity followed must be especially carefully managed, as it was mention before nowadays the opinion of the people is stronger than ever, and the word of mouth marketing is risky but effective.

Undoubtedly, there is not a correct answer to use either traditional or digital marketing strategy; the recommendation could be to integrate both into one strategy for the organisation. It´s pointless to think a business has to choose one or the other for their marketing strategy because of one approach enrichments the other.

Digital marketing can be considered as active and traditional marketing as a passive. Television and print advertisements are beneficial in publishing information; both can also include a “call to action” a message to look for more about that topic in their website, Facebook, Twitter, and so on.

The many channels a company use for its marketing the major spread of its brand is going to have. Having that in mind, while a company is developing its strategy should be thinking that every person is wide-open to all different types of media.

If the organisations focus in only one way to do marketing either traditional or digital might not be getting all of their potential consumers, by doing a mix of these two strategies can make a difference in a company marketing strategy.


5 Steps to a Powerful Digital Marketing Strategy (no date) Digital Marketing Institute. Available at: https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/blog/5-steps-powerful-digital-marketing-strategy (Accessed: 19 February 2018).

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