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Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which way to way?

March 6, 2018

What’s the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter?

The answers may surprise you.

Many small businesses struggle with deciding which kind of marketing to do because their budget will only stretch to one or the other, not both. The decisions that must be made are not easy: which method of marketing will give me the most bang for my buck? How do I know if my marketing is working? Who should I trust with my marketing? Should I do it myself? The answers may surprise you.

To clarify the terms, the use of print ads in newspapers and magazines is a simple example of traditional marketing. Other examples include flyers that are put in mailboxes, commercials both on TV and radio and billboards. On the other hand, when a business invests in building a website, advertising the brand name through different social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, this kind of strategy is called digital marketing.

Benefits of Traditional Marketing

You can easily reach your target local audience. For example, a radio ad might play in one location: your city or region. Or mailbox flyers will go to households in a select number of suburbs.

The materials can be kept. The audience can have a hard copy of materials of which they can read or browse through over and over again.

It’s easy to understand. It can be easily understood by most people because they are already exposed to this kind of strategy.

Neuroscience seems to support the benefits of hard copy marketing. A study sponsored by Canada Post and performed by Canadian neuro-marketing firm TrueImpact compared the effects of paper marketing (direct mail pieces, in this case) with digital media (email and display ads).

The technologies used in this study were eye-tracking and high-resolution EEG brain wave measurement. The three key metrics evaluated in the study were cognitive load (ease of understanding), motivation (persuasiveness), and attention (how long subjects looked at the content).

Direct mail was easier to process mentally and tested better for brand recall.  According to the report,

Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media (5.15 vs. 6.37), suggesting that it is both easier to understand and more memorable. Post-exposure memory tests validated what the cognitive load test revealed about direct mail’s memory encoding capabilities. When asked to cite the brand (company name) of an advertisement they had just seen, the recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to a direct mail piece (75%) than a digital ad (44%).

The Downside to Traditional Marketing

There is very little interaction between the medium used and the customers. It is more of providing information to the public that the brand exists with the hope of these people patronizing the brand.

Print or radio advertisements can be very costly. Printing materials can be expensive and you need to hire people to distribute these.

Results on this marketing strategy cannot easily be measured.

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