Understanding Traditional And Digital Marketing Practices

Understanding Traditional And Digital Marketing Practices

Understanding Traditional And Digital Marketing Practices



Traditional marketing happens in traditional channels. Let’s see some examples that apply to a more modern period:


  • Direct marketing: Mailing, flyers, coupons, brochures and other forms of print material distributed directly into the consumer’s hand. It also includes telesales and telemarketing, catalogues, field sales, promotional items.


  • Print marketing: Ranges from posters, magazine ads, billboard coasters, that are distributed as a unique format but repeated through several mediums.


  • Broadcast: Broadcast media involves using the airwaves to go from one emitting system to a receiving one. The broadcast includes Film, TV, product placement, program sponsorship, TV ads, cinema and radio.


  • Referral: Traditional word of mouth and public relations published on printed magazines fall under the definition of traditional referral. It can also translate into fidelity cards with vouchers, `discount for sponsorship or collaboration between two stores via placement of poster or business cards in the store directly’.

Understanding Traditional And Digital Marketing Practices

Digital and traditional marketing, new and old media, don’t work separately. Actually, they can be very complimentary and can be used with the flexibility to achieve marketing goals.

If we look at the slides, we can see how some of these relationships work, let’s take the example of Mary again:

  • Mary is watching TV when an ad comes on about hair conditioner she bought, prompting her to Tweet the company after seeing their Twitter handle at the end of the commercial.
  • After seeing this ad and remembering her experience with the product, Mary goes online, on desktop and mobile, Tweets and visits their website to see what’s new.
  • She goes onto the website and there is a banner using the same commercial she just saw on TV, expanding on the message and content and tells her that the founder of the hair product company will be interviewed.
  • Mary tunes in and watches the interview later that day.
  • She also wants to find a store to talk, with a member of staff, about the product and problems she has had.
  • She goes into the store with all the previous information and experience and buys a product. At the cashier’s desk, she notices a poster mentioning the brand’s presence on Facebook and the event and promotion they post there.
  • She takes out her phone and decides to follow them on Facebook and read/watch some of their content.

This quick example shows how digital and traditional marketing work together to bring the buyer through the funnel by taking them by the hand and multiplying the brand experience across media. This repetition and resonance makes a company even more relevant as it is present online but also offline, on billboard, posters, TV, magazines, etc. Traditional media, due to its importance, cost, and reach, can compliment digital strategy by bringing legitimacy to products and brands that become part of the familiar scope.


In the previous articles, we saw that traditional and new media are different and carry different attraction and impact across audiences.

They are 4 main categories where we can compare the difference between the two:

  • Reach The total number of different people exposed to the media that are influenced by the environment in which the media is consumed. This helps define if a media is more geared toward mass or individual reach. Reach covers whether the message is consumed by a number of people at the same time or only by one individual.


  • Engagement: The level to which an audience is able to interact with the content will define the level of engagement with this media. How invested is the audience when the message is received?


  • Relationship: How is the message received and perceived by the audience? The relationship between the media and the audience is defined by the nature of the message, how targeted, familiar and relevant it is to the audience.


  • Method: The main tactics used to bring the consumer through the buyer’s journey. As we saw earlier, this can be made by pulling consumers through content or pushing content to them. Each channel will have a certain level of scope depending on how the content is found, used and how it influences the buyer’s journey.

Traditionally, the media landscape was divided between multiple forms of media such as TV, press, and radio, differentiated by the format of the message, video, print, and sound. The characteristics of these traditional media influence the traditional scheme of marketing.

Through traditional media, the marketing effort can be expressed in certain ways that no longer apply to the new media landscape. Let’s take a look at the previous categories in order to define the specifics of traditional marketing:

  • Reach: The scale that is obtainable through traditional media makes traditional marketing a mass marketing experience. TV for instance can reach millions of individuals at the same time, securing impact and visibility, similarly with radio or press. The number of consumers reached is easily calculated based on subscribers, viewers, and listeners that will all be tuned in at the same time.


  • Engagement: Traditional marketing is the base for one way communication. If we talk about it in terms of communication theory, traditional marketing gathers a sender – a message – and a receiver. The message is sent from the sender to the receiver. Once received, the message is processed and the communication stops. The audience is passively receiving a message and is not engaged in searching for the information, this information is pushed through advertising in between two programs.


  • Relationship: Traditional marketing relying on traditional media is a mass form of communication. The greater media such as TV, radio and press are shared across large groups of people and these people experience the same content no matter where they are or whoever they are. Two individuals watching the same channel at the same time in different houses will still see the same message, this is a one (brand) to many (mass audience) communication.


  • Method: Traditional marketing as a result of the previous definition of being a mass, one to many, passive type of marketing, falls under the outbound method. The audience will not find the content of the brand or be attracted by the relevance of the product in solving their issue, but on the contrary, will learn about a product or a brand randomly without the context of their needs.

Technology has created the new media options and media experience is now portable, instantaneous and unlimited. Access to the internet has revolutionized the definition of marketing. Digital marketing plays with new rules where the audience has gained greater power over the content they consume.

  • Reach: The audience is no longer being served the same message. The audience is broken down in smaller groups of people that identify with a defined buyers’ persona. We talk about individual media as the message is no longer addressed to a somewhat undefined mass, but is targeted at specific individuals.
  • Engagement: The shift in media technologies has strongly influenced the way audiences engage with the media and the content. By using two-way communication systems, it allows audiences to interact with the content, who is no longer just the at end of the communication process. The sender (brand) sends a message to a receiver (individual) and this receiver can choose to send another message (engagement/feedback) to the receiver, or even transfer this message to another receiver. This process is highly active for the audience as they have the power to engage.


  • Relationship: As seen before, the new media playbook means that brands have the choice to target smaller groups of individuals and craft messages that will resonate with specific groups. This is a one-to-one type of communication where marketers can personalize messages personal to each individual in their audience.


  • Method: Digital marketing has the capacity to develop an Inbound communication strategy. Due to the individualistic, content-heavy and active audience present and accelerated by new media development, pulling an audience to your content has become the way. This is only possible thanks to technological development and has become a priority as the inbound methodology develops better, more qualified customers.


When planning an overall media strategy, depending on the goals, marketers will prioritize more engaging forms of media that appeal to a more passive audience. Digital and traditional can be active and passive, the dominance of active media engagement is shown in digital marketing due to the nature of the formats and channels it involves.


Passive engagement: According to Harvard Business Reviews, ’passive media’ is any form of media where the consumer can’t physically do anything with it, except for consuming it (newspaper, television, radio, etc.). For example, consumers stay in front of the TV not doing anything and not being engaged mentally in solving problems or researching, and when an ad is showing, they have no means of responding to this message. They are sitting in front of a monitor and passively consuming content. Because of this, the message will reach them with less impact as there is a mindless consumption. But this behaviour is also true of consumers scrolling through a Facebook timeline mindlessly going through the content and scrolling over ads. They are not actively searching but can still engage with the content, which creates the opportunity for active media use and marketing experience.



Active engagement: ‘Active media’ is any form of media where the consumer can physically engage with it (Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.). Content on digital platforms has been developed to be highly engaging – consumers can share, comment, like, Tweet and pin it. When users are searching for information over the internet, they are actively engaged in an activity and are mentally present to receive relevant messages. This gives digital marketing an extra active characteristic. But this needs to be nuanced as many users mindlessly scroll down are not looking for specific information but looking for a distraction. In that state, even if an ad comes up and has the potential for active engagement, the consumer may not be ready to receive that message.


Passivity and activity make up the passive or active quality of a media or marketing strategy. Thus two questions are worth keeping in mind:

1.Is your content promoting activity through engagement opportunities?

2.Who is your target audience?


We touched on this subject earlier in the class, but it is important to re-asses how an inbound or outbound method integrates within traditional and digital media.



Outbound methodology: In traditional media, there is little space for interaction as we have seen with the one-way communication model. Additionally, the targeting capabilities that exist are often broad and do not ensure a 100% target reach. Accessing a global audience with a singular message that will be the same for any individual that receives it. These are components that make traditional media an outbound strategy in most cases, specifically for mass media as TV, Radio, cinema.


The audience is consuming content but the content can be unrelated to the context, problems, and situation the audience is in. This is a push strategy or showing content to as many people as possible, hoping that it will resonate with some based on audience research previously made.  For this reason, it is harder to track and are more expensive as the buying system of traditional is not so flexible and usually involves great amounts of money.

This is true for most traditional media but additionally to the ad exchange model online, where random ads are placed on a banner of a participating website without contextual or individual relevance. Let’s look at these statistics:

  • 44% of direct mail is never opened. That’s a waste of time, postage and paper.
  • 86% of people skip through television commercials.
  • 84% of 25 to 34-year-olds have clicked out of a website because of an “irrelevant or intrusive ad.

Inbound Methodology: On the opposite side, inbound strategy as we defined earlier aims to attract interested consumers to your content, brand and offer. This marketing model was greatly facilitated with the development of digital technology as we talked about in the previous slide. The use of cookie tracking, SEO, topics, blogs and influencers help brands resonate with a specific audience that is easily targetable as all the data is accessible and can be run through algorithms to show the most relevant message to the relevant individual.



To provide a concrete example, when a user is going on a page as an unknown visitor, the site will add a cookie in their browser that will stay there if they don’t manually remove it. Through this cookie, we attach the user activity to the cookie. Once the user converts by subscribing to a newsletter, for instance, the cookie is associated with the email address. Then in your database, all the collected information will live under that contact record. Thus in the future, if the platform allows it, you can decide to show specific content to users who qualify for certain behaviour or information. For instance, country-specific content is a good example, you can decide to show ads for concerts that will be in the local area of the user instead of showing one ad, for one location, to all visitors on the websites. This applies to advertising but also content on the brand’s assets.

Action Point

I know you might agree with some of the points that I have raised in this article. You might not agree with some of the issues raised. Let me know your views about the topic discussed. We will appreciate it if you can drop your comment. Thanks in anticipation.



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About Adeniyi Salau 897 Articles
I am an IT enthusiast and a man of many parts. I am a Certified Digital Marketer, Project Manager and a Real Estate Consultant. I love writing because that's what keeps me going. I am running this blog to share what I know with others. I am also a Superlife Stem Cell Distributor. Our Stem Cell Products can cure many ailments.

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