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Can Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing Be used Together?

August 18, 2020

Can Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing Be used Together?

Our Short Answer: Today Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing can be used in tandem through digital billboards and advertising both in digital and physical formats at once. The more you combine these in your marketing strategies the more potential there is for greater returns. 

Can Traditional and Digital Marketing work on the same team?

blog graphic for traditional vs digital marketing

A typical day in our interaction with Traditional Marketing

You wake up yet again to the shrieking ringing of the alarm clock. It’s another ordinary day. You have a shower and make some breakfast. While reading the local paper you see an ad on the second page for “20% off furniture at Ben’s Furniture Shop”. 

You turn on the radio to listen to the news. During the ad break you hear “Get 20% off on luxurious lounge chairs and couches at Ben’s Furniture Store”. 

These are two examples of traditional marketing:they’re both offline and targeted at a local audience. 


A typical daily interaction with Digital Marketing

You then leave the house, get on a bus and travel to work. It’s quite a long ride so you decide to check our social media accounts to see what’s happening. On your Facebook feed, there’s an ad by Ben’s Furniture that leads to a landing page with a blog on it: “How to choose the best furniture for a small apartment”. 

It really resonates with you. Having just moved to a smallish apartment you think “I could do with a nice, affordable and comfortable couch”. Plus the article is easy to read, informative, empathetic and generous. 

You decide to visit Ben’s Furniture Store website that day to take a look at his selection.


During the course of our day, we encounter a mix of traditional marketing and digital marketing. They seem like opposites: traditional marketing is offline, its target audience is more local, while digital marketing is online and reaches a much wider audience. 


Digital marketing is not a physical billboard advertisement you walk by,or a newspaper paper you pick up to read; it’s an ad you see in your social media channel feed, a Google Ad, a piece of branded content and more. 


Both traditional and digital marketing have benefits. Ultimately, when choosing one over the other it depends which one suits your business more, but could you use both?


What are the benefits of Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing is one of the oldest and researched forms of marketing. It’s still used because it’s tried and tested and it works. It’s very much a part of our everyday lives: it could be in the form of billboard advertising on the side of a building or truck; television and radio advertising, or advertising on widescreen in the middle of a sporting event.

Traditional advertising can also be up for a long time. It’s common to have the same ads running on television and radio and placed on physical billboards for months.

In America, 99% of people have a television. That’s 315 million people that your ad can potentially reach. Plus there are thousands of networks that you can advertise on. Newspapers, periodicals may not be as popular now with more people getting their news online, but they are great for brand awareness and getting your brand’s name out to as many people as possible.


What are the benefits of Digital Marketing?

Today we live in the digital age. There are more people with smartphones today, growing social networks, and the use of PPC (pay-per-click campaigns) and paid social ads is growing and changing. The latest trends are brands are increasingly investing in Social Ads. One example of this is Facebook’s recent release of personalized ads that delivers products in attention grabbing ways. They even change their CTAs and formats (like carousel selections) based on who is being served.   

Scrolling down a daily feed on anyone of my social channels, I’ll see tips from social influencers like Tim Ferris, LinkedIn ads promoting their courses, very human videos from Amazon that you connect to about their engineers working from home. “Even Googling “what is TikTok?” is great evidence of digital marketing”. Not only is digital marketing more economical than the traditional type, it also has more of a global reach.

Digital Marketing has become essential for all businesses today. It’s become the way we shop and the way we find out information. When my wife and I were working out what we can do with my son during the summer, our first port of call was Google. 


Traditional Versus Digital: The differences broken down

Traditional Marketing:

  • Offline advertising.
  • Identifying customers, then placing ads where their audience will hear, see, or interact with them offline.
  • Billboards on a billboard on trucks, building or road.
  • Ads on television, radio, or in magazines or newspapers.
  • The audience is usually local.


Digital Marketing:

  • Online advertising.
  • Paid or organic ads on search engines or on social media.
  • Includes email marketing, influencer marketing, and Video Marketing.
  • Content creation for inbound marketing (check out our article on inbound marketing here)
  • SEO, Search Engine Optimization
  • Digital Marketing has a wide reach: local and global audiences.
  • Businesses have full control over their audience growth
  • Can see real time results of each part of an ad campaign
  • The growth of inbound marketing means customers find businesses and not the other way around.

What are the disadvantages of Both Digital and Traditional Marketing?


Traditional Marketing

Digital Marketing

Little or no interaction with consumers:You cannot Tweet DM an American Eagle ad on a billboard and ask if they have the shirt advertised in purple size XXL.

Technology can be unreliable: The internet connection can be sketchy.  When a social media marketer has posts to go out and the internet blacks out, the only thing they can do is wait.

Unreliability: you can’t edit or change an ad once it’s published or a radio or television ad once it’s been recorded.

Continual changes: to learn a new social media channel can take time out of your day so can learning effective strategies.

Expensive: It costs between $2K and $160K for a print ad.

Security: Since Facebook leaked 87M profiles a couple of years ago, social media channels have taken more precautions to make sure users’ information is more secure.

Lack of metrics: You can’t measure a print ads effectiveness.



Can you use both Digital and Traditional Marketing Strategies together

Think about it like this: when you combine as many marketing strategies together, the more potential return you can get. If you wanted to invest in stocks, it would be much better to spread your investment rather than putting it one place. And if one is not working for you, the other will. 

Digital Billboards:

Digital billboards combine digital advertising with a billboard. They are computer generated meaning that animated images change every few seconds. Research by Outsmart found that 47% of people who have seen a digital billboard will recall the ad and even the smallest details. These pieces of technology can display responsive adverts, marketing and branding. 

SP Marketing suggests combining digital billboards with geo-targeted ads resulting in sending a banner ad to passing shoppers or drivers

Combining a magazine ad with an ad online:

Many people still read magazines to get an authoritative perspective on niche subjects like antiques and other businesses. By purchasing an ad in a magazine you can get more eyes on your ad. You should also inquire if the magazine can promote your ad on their website.

Newspaper ads combined with digital marketing:

Local papers often have classified sections combined with online social media. For example, you get ads that advertise events, but also include social media addresses. You could also find a job listing which says, for more information look on Indeed.

Physical Catalogs with social media marketing:

Despite the surge of digital media physical catalogs are also in high demand.Research shows that there has been an increase in response rates by 140%. Many brands have social networks for those who prefer to follow them on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, they also have physical catalogs too.


Our Bottom Line: Despite their differences, businesses will get the greatest yield by using traditional marketing such as print advertising and google ads together.