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Jun 1
Eric Phung

What is Traditional Marketing? What about Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing is a form of Internet Marketing which leverages technologies to precisely measure a campaign performance. Traditional Marketing is direct marketing which is old and costly.

What is Traditional Marketing? What about Digital Marketing?

Let's start with the definition of marketing. 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, Approved 2017).

Or we can simply put as marketing is a process that businesses roll out to understand their customers' needs and to fulfill that gaps more efficient than their competitor.

There are many types of marketing, but the two biggest categories we should focus on is the traditional marketing and digital marketing. The main difference between the two is the medium in which the audience receive the message.

traditional marketing and digital marketing by Socialectric Web Design

Traditional Marketing includes any types of marketing that is not online such as OOH (Out-of-home advertising), print, broadcast (TV commercials or radio), mail, and phone. You may have encountered many OOH advertising without realizing it:

  • Billboards (of course)
  • Ads on trolleys
  • Ads on vehicles
  • Before a film in the cinema
  • On the flight (15 seconds ads before taking off, and 30 seconds ads before landing)
  • On the wall of a hallway

Advertising agency gets quite creative with all kind of ads placement. They cost a fortune, but not quite effective. Why? Let's take a look at Digital Marketing.

Digital Marketing leverages the Internet and technologies to deliver brand messages to its audience more effectively. Digital Marketing includes:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Display Advertising
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Branding
  • Website
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Performance Marketing
  • And more...

Why is Digital Marketing better?

What's good about Digital Marketing is that it is measurable and optimizable. This means you can run a targeted ads campaign to only the people that are interested in buying your products/services. Once you have launched your campaign for a few days, you can start to optimize your ads to reduce the advertising cost significantly.

This optimization process is done by machine learning algorithm made by platforms such as Google, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, etc. This process is called segmentation where your audience is segmented into groups such as Geographic, Demographic, Psychographic, and Behavioral.

  1. Geographic - Country, city, density, language, climate, area, population
  2. Demographic - Age, gender, income, education, social status, family, life stage, occupation
  3. Psychographic - Activity, lifestyle, interest, opinion, concern, personality, values, attitude
  4. Behavioral - Benefits sought, purchase, usage, intent, occasion, buyer stage, user status, life cycle stage, engagement

With all these attributes, you can track what comes in and what goes out easily. Whereas it is very difficult to do so in traditional marketing. [We recently see a trend of companies rolling out new technologies that let billboards measure the amount of impression it gets on the highway. We will cover this in the next article]

There are 7 big categories of online marketing:

  1. Search engine optimization (SEO)
  2. Search engine marketing (SEM)
  3. Content marketing
  4. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  5. Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
  6. Affiliate marketing
  7. Email marketing

Are you in control with your online data?

If you would draw a picture of some customers by hand, you would put something like name, location, phone number, purchase date, and money spent. That's it! But wait, that is done manually. Facebook, Google, or Twitter never disclose any information about what data they collect, but one thing for sure, you can always find the right target audience for your ads campaign. Some articles say it is 29,000 data points and some say it is 52,000 data point.

You can always go to your Facebook Setting to download your Facebook information. You will be surprised how much data they have been collected since the day you opened your Facebook account. You agree to Facebook policy when you create an account, so you are kind of in control but not really.

Besides data privacy, targeted ads is a great way for you as an advertiser. You get to choose which attributes that fit your products/services the most, and you can start running ads on those targeted interests to reach the potential customers and convert them into sales.

Let's say you want to sell an online course, you can run a Facebook Ads that target people with an income of $100,000 to $125,000 per year, have an interest in real estate, is a business owner. Those alone can help you reach people who will potentially buy your online course about Social Media Marketing. It's extremely powerful, isn't it?

How big is Digital Marketing?

Facebook Ads is a type of Paid Ads, which is part of Social Media Marketing. And it is only a portion of Digital Marketing. Every time you type in a query on Google, a website with the keywords you put in earlier shows up. This is the organic search we called SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Sometimes you saw a few other pages at the top with a little icon next to its URL saying "Ad." These websites pay for their keywords so they could be displayed above its competitor. It is a type of Paid Ads (Pay Per Click) and we often call it SEM (Search Engine Marketing). Generally speaking, Digital Marketing is a relatively young industry, and there is a lot of room to grow.


Companies constantly want people's attention on their brand or the products/services that they are trying to sell. Marketing is a long term strategy and advertising is a part of marketing. You will run a paid advertising campaign to promote a product in a long term marketing vision of your company.

Traditional Marketing is good for brand awareness, and it is mostly affordable for the big brands due to its excessive cost. On the other hand, Digital Marketing is a lot cheaper and you get to target the right audience for the budget you have.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!