Traditional vs. Digital: Which Marketing Is Best for Your Company in 2020?

Pros and cons of old and new strategies


Korga Szabina

3 years ago | 7 min read

To run a successful company, you need to choose the applicable market and sell a good product or provide a quality service. Besides that, the next critical decision is choosing the most suitable marketing technique for reaching out to your audience and converting them into customers.

Every company is unique and needs an individual strategy. Sometimes you need to choose from conventional marketing tactics or to rely solely upon social media pages and use other online platforms. Of course, you can also have a combination of both.

Traditional Techniques Used Most Often

  • TV or radio advertising (only offline, through cable or satellite)
  • Branded merchandise/packaging
  • Newspaper or magazine ads
  • Telemarketing (calls and SMS)
  • Outdoor appearances (fliers, ads on public transports, billboards, shows, and expos)

Nowadays, a lot of companies believe these are outdated marketing methods.

This is due to offline advertising generally being more complicated to reach the appropriate targeted audience and also because it’s more expensive most of the time. It drives to a low ROI rate (return on investment). Furthermore, it’s quite difficult to measure the results of your campaign.

Putting these issues aside, if you have a specific target audience or your business needs to focus only on the locals — and of course, you have enough budget — then you might think of using one of the above-mentioned adverts.

Later, we will go over the method required to figure out if your company needs to consider offline marketing. But first, we need to know what kind of online marketing methods you can choose from.

What to Use to Decide to Start a Digital Marketing Strategy

  • Website (good landing page, content marketing using SEO, using HTTPS, mobile optimization)
  • Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, etc.)
  • SEM /PPC marketing (Google Ads, YouTube ads, mobile application ads, etc.)
  • Inbound marketing (know your audience, target them effectively)
  • Remarketing (use of cookies)
  • Influencer marketing (hire influencers to promote your product or service)
  • Automation (use CRM)
  • Email marketing (can be part of remarketing)

As you can see, online marketing is a strategy using the internet to reach the audience through electronic devices such as laptops, mobile devices, tablets or modern TVs (e.g., YouTube). This is the reason why digital marketing is almost indispensable, as these are the most-used tools to purchase goods and services, search for solutions, learn something, view entertainment, or do almost anything.

Why Use Offline Marketing

After this, you would ask, “Why do I need offline marketing? With online platforms, you can reach people in so many ways more effectively and for less money.”

Initially, I would say you’re right; forget about the old-school, conventional methods and dive into the digital world. However, you need to be prudent before you do that:

  • What if your targeted audience does not use the internet (or not on a regular basis), but still watches TV or listens to the radio?
  • What if you could outshine your competitor with better-looking product packaging or environment-friendly packaging? What if they could reuse the box or bag packaging with your logo on it?
  • What if your competitor is present at expos or trade shows and reaches people you have not thought of?

Let’s see what’s required when considering your choice for your company’s marketing strategy.

How to Choose Your Marketing Strategy

1. Understand your product/service

You need to know what kind of needs your product/service fulfills. This knowledge leads to the next point.

2. Identify the targeted audience

As I mentioned previously, this is a very important point in decision making. For example, if your targeted audience’s age is above 65, you may need to consider advertising offline instead of social media campaigns. On the other hand, if your product/service is targeted toward teenagers, you can most likely forget about TV and radio ads, as they do not watch or listen to these anymore.

3. Know your competitors

After you have a clear picture of what you provide and for whom you provide it, it’s time to check your competitors. How could you do it better than the other companies in your field?

To give you an example again, if your competitor has a large number of followers on social media or their website is so famous that you feel you cannot reach that, then you can outshine them with offline marketing ideas, such as good packaging, gifts that they can use for something else with your brand’s logo and name in addition to your product.

From another aspect, if your competitor does not successfully use digital marketing strategies, avoid spending money on offline methods and concentrate on a good online presence.

4. Define your budget

Reality often proves that great marketing ideas and really well-built strategies are worthless if you do not have enough budget for them. You can think of a good TV commercial in the early mornings for the elderly, but you need to be aware that it could cost you a fortune.

Sometimes you can think of these costs as investments for your future, but then you need to be really sure that your ROI rate will be good so that you will earn more in the long term. Don’t forget to be realistic. Check your income and estimate your future income wisely according to that.

Traditional Marketing — Pros and Cons


  • Cost: Even if you can afford one or two commercials on TV or an article/ad in a newspaper, and even if it gives you a good return at that time, it is mostly only temporary. Compare that to an evergreen article on your website or on your social media, which could create customers as long as your company exists.
  • Inelasticity/No feedback: In the offline world, it’s hard to customize your campaign and reach only the targeted audience. Besides, you don’t receive more information about your potential customers, how they reacted to it or why they did not react at all. Furthermore, if you realize in any way that you need to make a change, then it takes time (like printing new fliers, shooting new commercials) and also costs additional money.
  • Geographically limited: With the internet, you can reach almost anyone in the world, but with offline marketing you can only get to the people who pass your billboard, travel on the metro where your ad has been placed, or have that TV channel where your commercial is visible (and they cannot skip your commercial because of a satellite function).


  • Target the locals/elderly/offline people: With conventional marketing, you can reach the people who are not surfing on the internet often or at all. Furthermore, a well-placed advertisement on the street around your local shop or someone who handing out fliers near your store could get to the people living near you or passing by you occasionally.
  • Outshine your competitor: I already mentioned before that in addition to your online marketing, you can beat your competitor with good branding and traditional offline methods like good packaging, appearances on TV shows, attendance at expos, or direct mailings.

Digital Marketing — Pros and Cons


  • Cannot reach people without internet: Repeating myself, not everyone is on the internet. If your targeted audience doesn’t use it often or at all, you cannot reach them with digital marketing.
  • Depending on others: Sometimes you cannot control the outcomes of your campaigns, or commenters and others who write a review about you. You probably heard about trolls on the internet who just write a negative opinion about your business for fun. You can create great marketing strategies, use great online tools, write engaging content. But if one negative article or comment about your company goes viral, you cannot really control it, even if it’s completely unfounded.
  • Hard to compete: Nowadays almost everyone uses digital marketing strategies. It’s really hard to stand out from the crowd of social media sites, tons of Google ads, and loads of webpages. It is just difficult to create something new and unique.


  • Reach a wide range of audiences: The most obvious advantage of online marketing is that it is online, where you can reach everyone across the whole world without any geographical limit.
  • Customer engagement: Online, you can always interact with your audience and make contact with your customers (by social media, email, online customer service, etc.). You can put a face and people behind your brand. With that, you can engage your customers and build trust and long-term relationships.
  • Measure results: You can receive tons of information about your customers using analytic tools (like Google Analytics). You can use this data to personalize your campaign more for your audience, to engage with your customers better, and to be more efficient, creating good returns.
  • Flexibility: In most cases, if you realize that you need to change something in your campaign (because of some bad results), you can easily do that, mostly immediately (typo, mistake, wrong link, wrong post, etc.). Also, corrections are free.
  • Lower costs with more efficiency: Maybe design and printing out some fliers can be cheaper than a big online marketing campaign. But if you examine your ROI after, you can see that with a digital strategy, you can reach more people and gain more profit than with some fliers. Therefore, in the long term, it will be more profitable.
This article was originally published by Szabina korga on medium.


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Korga Szabina







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