Why Digital is More Effective than Traditional Marketing

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Should Businesses Invest in Digital Marketing Only?

Should I Focus on Digital Marketing Only?

August 31, 2021
6 minutes


Business owners of companies both big and small greatly benefit from digital marketing as the main way of advertising. But is ditching traditional marketing completely justifiable?

There is no doubt that digital marketing can help businesses sell their product or service and reach customers online in an effective, targeted and useful way. Any digital marketing strategy is easier to measure and optimize and the customers it reaches are much more likely to convert because of the precise targeting.

Still, we see print ads, TV ads, flyers and many other forms of traditional advertising. Why is this form of marketing still effective and should you ditch it in favor of online marketing? Let’s go through the pros and cons of each type of marketing, and try and clear up whether it is smart for your business to advertise in the traditional ways as well.

Benefits of digital marketing (that traditional marketing doesn’t have)


From older forms like email marketing, all the way to partnering up with an influencer nowadays, there are many different types of digital marketing that can help your business. And their perks are hard to ignore. It is logical why many industries solely market online and save some extra budget that would go to traditional marketing because their audiences are online.

Here are some of the main reasons why digital marketing is for some companies more important than traditional.

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Better targeting of the audience

The main advantage of digital marketing campaigns is that you can show them to the people that need to see them.

With the use of website cookies, modern algorithms and personal preferences, search engines and social media today know what individual audience members are interested in, and you can use that segmentation to show your ideal buyers the advertisements you have.

In comparison, paying a lot of money for a TV ad or newspaper ad where everyone watching or reading can see it, but perhaps doesn’t care for that product or service, brings a lot less direct return on investment.

Better knowledge of the customer experience

The possibility of two-way communication with audiences in digital marketing helps you learn a lot about the customers’ perspective of your brand, service and experience. Traditional marketing doesn’t really allow this benefit: people see advertisements and perhaps decide to purchase, but their lifetime as your customers remains uncharted afterward.

It takes place everywhere and at any time

The internet doesn’t have working hours. That means that your online advertising can be seen at any time of day (unless you decide to set a time-specific campaign, of course); your email marketing can be sent to people across the world during their work hours, and the search engine optimization works all the time trying to push you to the top of anyone searching for you.

Contrary to that, traditional marketing takes place in media at a particular time or placement, or in a public space in a limited range.

The number of internet users is enormous

According to Statista, as of January 2021, there were 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide—59.5 percent of the global population. Of this total, 92.6 percent (4.32 billion) accessed the internet via mobile devices. Of course, not every single person online will see your marketing, but the chances are much higher than on any form of traditional media.

Bigger ROI

It is hard to decide on one figure about digital marketing ROI since each type of digital marketing has its own measurements and success. But here are some examples found in a report by Lauro Media:

  • The average return on investment from email marketing stands at 4,200%
  • Companies generate an average of $2 in earnings for every $1 they spend on Google Ads
  • 72% of marketers improve their engagement through content marketing (and if you already have an up-and-running website and content management system, content marketing is free)

Other types of digital marketing, for example, social media marketing, have different ROI on different platforms, but since there is rarely a business that doesn’t advertise on Facebook or Instagram, we’ll take that as good enough proof that it is cost-effective.

Benefits of traditional marketing (that digital marketing doesn’t have)


If traditional marketing has no perks, why is it still around? It has many benefits, that is why. The internet might have the biggest user base, but it doesn’t cover every demographic.

At the same time, some audience groups have a firmer trust and believe more in the credibility of traditional media. Here are some of the biggest advantages of marketing in print, TV, radio and public space.

Helps with brand awareness

Traditional marketing is still considered the best form of marketing when a company’s goal is brand awareness. The answer to why this happens is that as people we are subject to thinking that a brand is better if we see it in more respected media, or we see it in and around our place of living and social circles.

Packaging design, print ads, posters and billboards have been around for ages, and any generation older than 20 years nowadays sees this as the marketing they always knew of.

Why else would huge companies that already make billions of dollars spend so much money on Super Bowl ads and print marketing in well-respected publications? To nurture the awareness towards their brand.

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Builds trust

Since people find traditional media as more relevant and trustworthy than online channels, seeing a brand represented in them helps build trust towards it.

At the same time, investing in good packaging, print and quality ads, also gives the impression that a company can spare the time, creativity and budget to market in these media channels.

Helps certain local small businesses

Some small businesses see a much bigger benefit from traditional ways of advertising and marketing than from digital channels. For example, a nail salon would have a better return on investment from dealing out flyers and coupons, than making a landing page.

Or a small fast food joint that gives out menu leaflets experiences a better turnover, than from spending a lot of time and money on making a social media advertising strategy.

It reaches audiences that can’t access the Internet

True, the internet has more users than it ever did by the day. But there are still people that are offline, and some industries need to reach out to these people.

Older generations, people in more remote areas, or simply people whose interests are not aligned with the average internet user, can still learn about your brand in more traditional forms of marketing.

It’s really all about the industry

So, what is the conclusion? It is very hard to draw one out. The reason for this is that different industries need to have a different approach to advertising and marketing.

As we mentioned before, a nail salon might do well with handing out flyers in the neighborhood. On the other hand, a fashion brand that sells streetwear probably needs to impress the kids on Instagram. Different companies have different audiences, and their marketing efforts and channels need to be adjusted accordingly.

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Stefanija Tenekedjieva

August 31, 2021

Journalist turned content writer. Based in North Macedonia, aiming to be a digital nomad. Always loved to write, and found my perfect job writing about graphic design, art and creativity. A self-proclaimed film connoisseur, cook and nerd in disguise.