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Niki Pacheco
November 08, 2022

True or False: Digital marketing is supposed to replace traditional marketing

DIGITAL VERSUS TRADITIONAL - Traditional Marketing: Little Customer Engagement and Interaction, Poor Campaign Measurement, Target Audience is Accessed as a Blanket, Higher Costs & No Control Over Timing / Digital Marketing: Higher Level ofCustomerEngagement, Ease of MeasuringResults, Access to a Relevant Audience, Less Expensive &More Effective

Digital marketing might be the attention-stealer when it comes to trending market methods these days, but that doesn’t mean that traditional marketing has been kicked to the curb for good. In fact, most companies can benefit from a mixture of the two types of marketing methods in order to access a larger portion of their target audience. However, that doesn’t mean that both methods of marketing can offer the same benefits–and the same results–for your business. Learn all about the essential differences between traditional marketing and digital marketing, how inbound marketing comes into play, and which method suits your business best.

KK_10166_inbound_marketing_DigitalWhat is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is marketing done online, which includes email marketing, PPC, social media ads, SEO blogs, among countless other types of internet-based advertising. Digital marketing can help companies connect directly with customers all across the world, and can offer a more targeted–and more cost-effective– approach than traditional marketing can. 

Digital marketing is so common that consumers nowadays expect it and rely on it to learn about brands, their reputation, their services and more.

KK_10166_inbound_marketing_TraditionalWhat is traditional marketing?

Traditional marketing is marketing done off the internet. Non-online-based forms of marketing can include billboards, direct mail, print ads, and TV commercials. Huge media platforms, such as radio and print, can be used to help businesses reach their target audiences.

Traditional marketing is the result of the advertising boom of the 1950s and 1960s. Back then, he only way for people to see any kind of advertising was through a newspaper, magazine, billboard or a TV commercial. Although radio advertising did exist, those ads couldn’t reach the same kind of audience. With television, advertisers could reach a massive audience in the comfort of their homes, transforming the way that businesses used advertising.

Today, many businesses don't know how to approach digital marketing and prefer to stay with what they know, reducing their chances to reaching their most relevant audiences. 

Download this cheat sheet to get your inbound marketing program started.

Will digital marketing replace traditional marketing?

While digital marketing is undeniably on the rise in terms of performance and popularity, it’s not quite time to call a complete end to traditional marketing. There are certainly some disadvantages to traditional marketing that companies should know about before finalizing their marketing strategy, such as the higher costs of creating a traditional marketing ad, the inability to edit information once the content has been published, and the results of the marketing can be difficult to measure. However, traditional marketing can help reach potential customers who are not frequently active online, and can be paired together with digital marketing to create more effective results for your business. Rather than pick one or the other exclusively, closely examine your company’s target market and persona, in order to determine the optimal mix of digital marketing and traditional marketing for your business. 

Download this cheat sheet to get your inbound marketing program started.

The difference between digital marketing and inbound marketing

While inbound marketing and digital marketing are similar, they’re not the same thing. Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that relies on assisting customers with answering a question, solving a problem, or fulfilling an immediate need. It’s an incredibly effective method of marketing, as it utilizes valuable content to attract customers to you, rather than concentrating on marketing outwards to them. Digital marketing is simply the broad term for any type of marketing done online and implies only how the marketing message is delivered. Unlike inbound marketing, digital marketing is not a marketing strategy concerned with the message and purpose. 

Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing
Traditional marketing
Digital marketing
Engagement Low High
Conversion Slow Very Fast
Strategy Static Dynamic
KPIs and ROI Not Easy to Measure Simple and Easy to Measure
Targeting Standard Custom
Tracking Not Possible - unless combined with a digital marketing tactic Possible
Adjustments Not possible once ad is placed Can make any adjustment (content or strategy) anytime
Results Slow Fast and with Live Status
Communication One-way communication two-way communication
Invasive User can't skip or update preferences to see ads User can skip ads if they are not interesting to them and can adjust their preferences


Can traditional marketing and digital marketing work together? 

Absolutely! It really depends on your business goals and objectives how the combo is strategized and implemented, but there isn't any reason why both approaches wouldn't work together. A couple of things to consider are your target audience and your budget. With digital marketing you can be more targeted and you can have a better use of your budget, while traditional marketing can be more effective at reaching a larger audience and might get expensive. 

How does inbound marketing come into play as a marketing approach with digital marketing?

Just because inbound marketing and digital marketing aren’t the same things, doesn’t mean they can’t be used together. In fact, inbound marketing done online can be highly effective, and critically assist in boosting web traffic, brand authority, and online awareness. There are countless different  inbound marketing tools and tactics that you can use to better advertise your business on a digital platform, such as blogs, reports, guidebooks, surveys, and trial downloads, among others.


Overall, traditional marketing is still a powerful method of advertising your business and reaching out to your target market — but digital advertising has become the undeniable face of the future of marketing. While it might not be time to drop traditional marketing methods completely, it’s most likely time for you to take a careful look at your current marketing strategy and the ratio of traditional and digital marketing methods, and make some much-needed updates to the digital marketing side of your strategies. And, be sure to focus on utilizing inbound marketing strategies on your online marketing campaigns in order to genuinely attract and engage potential customers.

Now that you’ve got a solid grasp on the relevance of traditional marketing and the power of digital marketing, plus how digital marketing and inbound marketing can join together to create highly impressive results, it’s time to figure out the in-depth reasons why inbound marketing is just that effective.

Get our Inbound Marketing Cheat Sheet and learn how to get your inbound marketing program started.

Download this cheat sheet to get your inbound marketing program started.

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