Understanding the Difference Between Traditional Marketing and Online Marketing

I can remember the first time I heard about online marketing. People who were involved in traditional marketing for decades, you know, buying ads in newspapers and budgeting for tv and radio spots were suddenly told they needed to change tack and attack online marketing with vigor. At first, it was just going to be a small piece of the marketing budget’s pie, a way to diversify across a new platform. It’s almost comical how lightly online marketing was taken in the not too distant past.

For most businesses and other organizations, online has become the main focus of all marketing efforts. We still eke out what we can from things like billboards and posters, but more and more all roads are leading to online marketing.

If you’re new to the world of online marketing, welcome. It’s unlikely, at this stage in world development, that you’re new because you’re shifting away from traditional into online. Those transitions happened a decade ago. It’s more likely that you’re new to the marketing industry. Whether you’re a new business owner, a recent graduate, or an aspiring digital marketer, here’s some information on what separates online marketing from traditional marketing and what that means for you.

Market Wherever the People Are

One of the most important aspects of marketing is to advertise wherever you’re going to make the biggest impact. That usually means where most people will see whatever you’re marketing. A billboard on an empty highway might be inexpensive, but it’s cheap for a very good reason. No one is going to see it. With traditional media, marketers have less control over how big their audience is. The most attractive locations, tv slots, and other traditional marketing channels have far fewer users and much smaller audiences than in the past. There are no two ways around it, the traditional marketing channels have shrunk.

In the past decade, the number of people online has exploded. People are working, socializing, consuming media, ordering food, buying things, paying bills, and doing everything else online. Naturally, companies have followed the crowds into online spaces to advertise products and services where they will have the most impact.

Online Marketing Can Be Very Specific

Ross Kernez Head of Growth at Marble says that one of the best advantages of online marketing is that the internet and its most popular platforms allow advertisers to narrow audiences to an incredible degree. You can separate a target audience any way you want. Are you interested in 40-year-old males who like to play golf and live in a certain neighborhood of Charlotte? No problem. Targeting 70-year-old retirees who watch Jeopardy and eat at Denny’s? Easy. Segments are creating quickly online because there’s so much data on audiences available.

The deeper you go with your online marketing targeting, though, the more costly advertising to those customers becomes. You’ll spend more money delivering a custom ad to high-quality leads for sure, but you’ll also have a higher chance of converting sales.

Online Marketing Is Measurable

The results of traditional marketing can be measured, certainly. However, its measurements are nowhere near to what’s possible with online marketing. Traditional marketing done on television and in print offers broad demographic information. With online marketing, you can see things like:

  • How long a person looked at your ad
  • What they did on your site after clicking your ad
  • What other types of ads they clicked in the past or as they were searching online
  • How much each customer spent after clicking a certain ad
  • Results are recorded and store online

Results and analytics are virtually instantaneous. They can be stored in the cloud and accessed across teams and with partners so fast decisions can be made. You can get data fed back into your marketing team in real-time. That’s different from the traditional method where you had to agree to purchase a certain number of spots that ran for a set amount of time. With online marketing, you can adjust tack quickly to meet the needs of your customers.

If you’re new to online marketing, it should be your main focus, no question. It’s going to cost you less money to learn as well. You’re bound to make some mistakes, but with digital marketing, those mistakes won’t be a huge hit. Instead, it will be a learning experience that helps you hone your craft as a marketer and grow your brand and your business like never before. As online behavior continues to grow and consumers have more options and choices in the market, your team needs to be able to meet their demands. Online marketing is riding the wave of numbers and uses technology to make marketing strategies more precise and cost-effective.