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Traditional vs Digital Marketing: The One-Sided Battle?

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Traditional vs Digital Marketing: The One-Sided Battle?

The third millennium comes with the “invasion” of technology in every nook and corner. To adapt and prosper in the new age, companies can’t ignore the move from traditional to modern ways of doing business.
Many businesses believe that in the near future, marketing activities will only take place on digital platforms. But will this be a total or partial replacement? And what should businesses prepare for this upcoming change?
As of July 2020, there are 4.57 billion people (nearly 60% of the global population) with Internet access and 5.19 billion mobile subscribers.

Traditional vs Digital Marketing: The Battle

They Seem Similar on Names

Our two concepts share several functional similarities. We can say traditional marketing is the “father” of digital marketing, or the latter is an upgraded version of the former.

Both exist to serve the ultimate goal: maximizing profit for the business. All creative communication activities such as advertising and PR can be implemented in both forms.

But Don’t Be Confused!

Let’s analyze the difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing.

A traditional campaign provides limited impact and can be expanded greatly with the help of modern tools. While traditional marketing can meet existing demands, digital marketing is more inclusive with enhanced capabilities in leading and directing new customer needs as well as feeding the ever-increasing consumption.

One key difference between traditional and digital marketing is the buyer-seller power balance.
In the old way, buyers don’t have many choices for products and services. They buy what are sold on the market regardless of their true needs.

But the story took a turn: now market entry is lowered and the pie is much more fragmented. The power balance tips, favoring the buyers as their needs can lead to the birth of once unimaginable products.

balance between traditional and digital marketing

Balance between traditional and digital marketing

What Are Distinctive About Traditional Marketing?

Traditional marketing focuses on the creation, promotion and distribution of materials used offline. The main purpose here is to sell and earn profit.

A Statistical Infographic serves the need for statistical information such as revenue or growth. As numbers are key here, charts, icons and eye-catching fonts will be used to make this type of data easier to digest.

Typical traditional marketing products are:

Business cards.
Advertisements on newspapers, magazines, TV and radio.
Promotional banners, flyers and posters.

It also includes other activities:

Sponsoring programs and events.
Attending fairs and trade shows.
Printing and distributing catalogs.
Building relationships with customers when they come to the business through advertisements.

In short, traditional marketing is simply the direct promotion of the business’ products and services without any application of online technologies.

difference between traditional marketing and digital

Difference between traditional marketing and digital

What Makes Digital Marketing Different?

Digital marketing was born to meet the true needs of customers. Our customers today drive the production, consumption and even extinction of certain products and services by expressing their needs, comments and reviews. They stop waiting for the right products. They ask for it.

Because customers now have too many choices to stay loyal to just one brand, product quality is not enough for companies to compete. Brand experience must be improved, and this is achieved spectacularly by the application of advanced technology.

Some crucial tools include:

Social media (Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn).
Video and ads on owned media.

Do you know that the number of Vietnam’s social media users has reached 65 million (67% of the country\’s population)? And if you have to pick a place to start, remember Facebook is the most popular social platform here.

Many consider digital marketing a form of inbound marketing whose purpose is to create and share meaningful content. Since 2006, inbound has been evaluated as the most effective form of marketing for online advertising.
An effective inbound strategy will attract many potential customers and turn them into frequent visitors for receiving useful information. The resultant benefit is improved brand awareness.
The main purpose of digital marketing is to make the business easily found by the customers through PPC ads or on social media. The higher exposure, the stronger the bond between the customers and your brand, thereby fostering trust and relationships through online communication.

traditional vs digital marketing

Traditional vs Digital Marketing: The Outcome

The wave of globalization and digitalization started this “battle”, or it’s more fitting to call it “the evolution” as this is how the world evolves. In the mission of keeping up with the age, digital marketing outshines with undeniable edges.

digital marketing and traditional marketing

Digital marketing and traditional marketing

Digital Marketing Advantages

Increased control and independence

This is the biggest and most inclusive advantage.

Your business will not be limited by time and space anymore. In other words, now your brand can move beyond the physical national and regional boundaries, and stay active on all time zones. Stay local, reach global.
Another good news is that you don’t need to queue up to make your appearance on certain TV and radio channels or popular printed media. You have your own site, blog and social media accounts to run your well-developed campaigns at any time you want.

Higher responsiveness

Customer experience will surely be enhanced when their needs and requests are responded within minutes, sometimes even seconds with the help of chatbot and similar technologies.
The always-ready access to information (on website, blog, social pages, etc.) also gives the customers more control and reduces the tedious waiting-for-answer time as in offline activities.

traditional vs digital marketing battle

Traditional vs digital marketing battle

Better targeting

Facebook Ads’ granular targeting is one of many tools to help you reach the right customers in the shortest time and with minimal resources.

Lowered cost

You don’t need a massive budget to run advertising and other campaigns on the Internet. Communication also becomes much more economical and effective as all information can be stored and managed digitally.

Digital Marketing Benefits

Unlimited streams of potential customers

The power of the Internet enables your business to reach previously inaccessible groups of audiences. As long as they surf the net and open social media pages, your brand will have a chance to seep into their mind and create a connection.

traditional and digital marketing

Traditional and digital marketing

Measure results with ease and efficiency

Data is more than important when your business moves to the digital world, and you have various tools to help with data collection, management and analysis.

Now you can monitor the progress at any time of your campaigns and make responsive, real-time changes.
Moreover, digital technologies make the research of social, economic and cultural trends in any market easier. You are also provided with insights, predictions and even suggested next steps.

By this way, you can spot ambiguous customer needs and turn them into specific, desirable products and services. These help a lot in positioning and branding for new products.

Level the playground

Previously, only giants with massive budgets can run advertising campaigns on hot TV channels and popular newspapers. Digital marketing has undermined this privilege as it grants all smaller businesses an opportunity to reach their audience in a much more affordable way while not compromising the effectiveness.
That’s why when making the choice “traditional vs digital marketing”, most SMEs and startups will go with the latter.

To sum up, the clear difference between traditional and digital marketing is accelerating this transition, but a total replacement will not be completed in the near future.
If you want to grow your business sustainably in the increasingly digitalized world, it’s critical to invest in building an active online profile. If you don’t know where to start, your owned media (i.e. your website, blog and social media pages) is a good first step.

critical difference between traditional and digital marketing

Critical difference between traditional and digital marketing

Check out more: What are the best Tet content ideas to elevate your brand in one of the busiest shopping periods?


The outcome of the battle between traditional vs digital marketing has come clear. With rapid changes in consumer needs, technologies and the market, businesses need a new way to respond and adapt as quickly as possible.

Digital marketing is one key to unlock this new future as it is pivotal in how companies communicate, attract and engage with their current and potential customers.

Contact On Digitals today for consultancy on the latest, most relevant trends and how to optimize your current digital marketing strategies for long-term growth.

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