When it comes to marketing your business, there are a lot of decisions that come to mind, such as trying paid advertising or making the choice to hire outside help. During the month of September, we will analyze some of the tougher decisions every marketer has to make as they promote their business. Each week in our “Versus” series, we will look at the pros and cons relating to each of these decisions to help you be better prepared to handle these decisions in your own business.

Whether it’s traditional or digital marketing, when it comes to marketing for your business, there are an enormous number of options. You’re probably thinking: 

  • Which one is best for your business?
  • Do you choose traditional or digital marketing? 
  • What are the pros and cons of each? 
  • Which will fit your business? 
  • Which will give you the biggest bang for my buck? 


It can get overwhelming to answer these on your own. Thankfully, Beacon is here to help! In this week of our versus series, we’ll take a look at both digital and traditional marketing, and the pros and cons of both. 

So WHAT’S the difference? 

Let’s dive in and find out! 

What is Traditional Marketing?

If you’re new to digital marketing, this is the media you’re probably most familiar with. This would include television, direct mail, radio, billboards, and direct sales. Basically, it’s marketing that is done offline. 

The Pros of Traditional Marketing 

    • Reaching a Wide Audience – A lot of people still consume television, radio, and billboards on a regular basis. Thus, your marketing will most likely be heard/seen by a wider audience. This is great to widen your customer base if that’s your goal. 
    • It’s Recognizable – Traditional marketing is meant to disrupt. The public is used to seeing businesses market via these channels. There’s an understanding that they will be marketed through these channels. Therefore, they are in a better mindset to interact with your marketing.  
    • It Has Merit – There’s a reason why traditional marketing is “traditional.” These channels have been used for decades because they work. Meaning, your business will most likely see some success using these traditional methods. 

The Cons of Traditional Marketing 

    • It’s Pricey – Traditional marketing is very expensive. Yes, it will take a larger investment for your business to do traditional marketing. This is due to the fees associated with media outlets.  
    • It’s Harder to Track ROI – It’ll be hard to tell if your marketing is working; it can be difficult to tell if sales came from your current marketing efforts. This makes it VERY hard to track your Return on Investment (ROI). 
    • It’s Harder to Optimize – In traditional marketing, once you’ve launched a commercial, radio spot, or direct mailer there’s no taking it back or making changes to it. This makes it harder to mold a message to your target audience, especially if you suspect your message needs changing after you launch a campaign.  
    • Very Little Customizable Targeting –  Traditional marketing channels are broader when it comes to targeting. It’s a less laser-targeted way of marketing your business. This means you could be marketing to an audience of people who don’t need your product/service; you have to be okay wasting some time and money doing so. 

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is marketing done online. This includes using digital ads, website optimization, social media, email marketing, and other internet-based channels that will better help you reach your target audience. 

The Pros of Digital Marketing 

    • You Can Measure Your Marketing Efforts – In the digital space, dashboards and analytics are your friends. This provides data on how your marketing efforts are performing. Any changes that need to be made can be made. You can track ROI and many other important metrics can be using digital marketing tools.  
    • More Personalized Marketing – Personalization in marketing is important. Once you know your target audience, digital marketing allows you to create a customized message and experience for them. This leads to more awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, sales.  
    • Control Your Costs – Digital marketing tools allow you to set spending budgets. This gives you more control over your money and will make tracking your ROI easier. It also makes it easier to find out what works for your business and what doesn’t. 

The Cons of Digital Marketing

    • Skillset and Learning – If you don’t know about digital marketing, you’ll have a steep learning curve. This includes lingo, objectives, and technical skills. All of this takes time to learn. If you’re already wearing multiple hats in your business, you may not have the time. 
    • Time Consuming – There is no set it and forget it. Patience and constant optimization are needed to have a successful digital campaign. This means making changes based on data gathered. This can easily turn into a time-consuming activity. 

The Verdict

What is better for your business, traditional or digital? Well, it depends. On what? On YOUR target audience. You have to understand your audience. Remember: if you market to all, you market to none!

Here at Beacon, we believe multi-channel marketing is always best. That’s why understanding where your audience is will make choosing your marketing channels easier. 

For example, if your target audience is retired and over 50 years old, your best bet might be to go with traditional marketing. Retirees often consume more day-time television and radio than those who work a 9-5 job. 

Now, if your audience is between the ages of 18-29 and in college, it might be worth it to look into digital marketing channels. 

Both methods of marketing have merit. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. It takes understanding your audience as well as you possibly can and the landscape within which you want to work. 

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