Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing: Benefits and Differences

Marketing is a field that is ever changing – a new fad comes along that marketing managers adopt before quickly changing to the next one. The rise of eCommerce and the online shopping experience has greatly challenged marketers, forcing them to invent new strategies to capture more market share and drive sales.

Traditional marketing involves standard channels such as billboards, printed media, television commercials, and radio features. Prior to the early 90s, this was essentially the only form of marketing available to businesses.

Digital marketing is using digital channels on the internet, including social media for marketing communications. When you see a Facebook ad or post, this is a form of digital marketing. A good rule of thumb, if it is seen online then it is digital marketing.

The primary difference between these two forms of marketing is the medium by which the audience receives the marketing message. The notion that traditional marketing is old fashioned is far from the truth as traditional techniques still play an important role in the lives of consumers worldwide.

Many marketing managers are now placing more of an emphasis on digital channels over traditional marketing – this is primarily because digital channels use every touchpoint of a consumer’s daily internet use, thus increasing the reach.

Square Marketing

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Types of Traditional Marketing

The best way to identify traditional marketing examples is to think about if you can physically hold the advertisement. For instance, you can physically hold a magazine or a newspaper advertisement, thus making it a traditional form of marketing. However, this rule doesn’t apply to television marketing which you cannot physically touch – despite this, it is also a form of traditional marketing.

Types of Digital Marketing

If it’s on your phone or your computer, it is likely digital advertising. Advertisements that appear on social media are the pinnacle of digital marketing – most marketing managers will target their digital advertisements for social media platforms. You can receive ads on many platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok

So, what’s more valuable?

Ultimately, the answer to this question is different for each business and who they are trying to target. Below is a list of the pros and cons of each form of marketing. We encourage you to think about your business and target customers when reading this list.

Traditional Marketing: Pros and Cons


  • Traditional marketing is largely more impactful and easier to understand. Advertisements on a billboard or a TV commercial are a normal part of people’s lives, they’ve seen thousands before and understand how they work to entice a purchase.

  • Printed materials last longer and don’t go away with the click of a button. If you have an ad that is printed in The Australian, then it will not go away until the paper is destroyed – people are able to read that ad for as long as the newspaper is in circulation.

  • Seeing something in real life is far more memorable than on a social media app. Think about Super Bowl ads and the hype that is generated each year – we are yet to see a similar phenomenon on social media. It is likely that you will not remember an advertisement that you scrolled past 2 seconds ago on Instagram.


  • Measuring traditional campaigns can be harder because you don’t have access to the online analytical tools that track the user journey.

  • Traditional marketing can often be very expensive because if it’s published in one newspaper, it’s published in all. You can’t choose your audience based on demographic and it is sent out to the masses.

  • Traditional marketing makes it difficult to interact directly with the customer – unlike with social media, you have no understanding of the audience’s reception to your campaign.

Digital Marketing: Pros and Cons


  • With digital channels you get far more options for engagement, you can physically see how your customers have received the campaign through engagement features. If your post has been liked and shared multiple times, then you know that you are doing something correctly.

  • Measuring digital campaigns is a lot easier than traditional marketing campaigns. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have analytical tools that can break down user by user data and see where people got to in their purchase journey. You can learn from these analytical tools to greatly improve future campaigns

  • You are able to target people specifically on digital channels. For instance, on Facebook, marketing managers can target 29-year-old females who are interested in cats and who also own a boat. The extremely niche targeting options allow for greater conversions with a lower ad spend.


  • People often think that social media ads are annoying and useless. The last thing that consumers want to see next to a photo of their friends is a product about cats on a boat. More so, if you googled something embarrassing that day, it could show up in your Facebook feed that night – consumers are becoming more private and this sort of targeting can deter them from purchasing.

  • Digital ads are less permanent – your advertisement is gone the second someone scrolls past it on their feed.

  • It can be hard to keep track of the changing digital marketing landscape. With platforms bringing out more privacy rules. Each channel of digital marketing needs its own expert, and this can get expensive for the marketing department.

What Channel Should I Use?

It is important that you use the channel that is most appropriate for your business and the one that your customers are most likely going to see. If you are a dentures company, then traditional marketing strategies would be most appropriate, as most of your customers are likely still reading newspapers and watching TV. Purely targeting digital consumers would not be very effective as your target market’s presence online would be very limited.

There’s no golden rule to determine which platform you should use. Hiring an educated marketing manager is preferable as they will be able to critically analyse what the best option for your business is.

Can They Work Together?

Absolutely. Many people have debated this issue, but marketing strategies can always work in conjunction if done correctly.

Let’s say you are opening an online clothing business and want to advertise in a newspaper and on Instagram. Your advertisement in the newspaper could direct people to follow you on Instagram – you may choose to pay for an advertorial on how your clothing brand is the next billion-dollar brand. This publicity and attention from traditional channels will then transfer across to digital channels as they follow you on social media.

After this transfer process has occurred, you can now target your followers on digital marketing channels and convert them into paying customers. This is just an example, and brands have executed these strategies incredibly well – it is all about what your business is comfortable doing.

Square Marketing

Square’s marketing platform is a modern approach to businesses placing an emphasis on digital marketing. Our email marketing software is incredibly effective in sending well-structured EDM campaigns to your businesses email list.

Benefits of Square’s Marketing Platform

You are able to customise your campaign easily without a marketing expert. You can send beautifully crafted, on-brand campaigns with Square’s marketing tools. Go from start to send in no time!

You can also save time with templates on the Square Marketing platform. Farewell to the late nights and last-minute redoes. Choose from a variety of simple templates with sample text and customizable features to help you create email and social campaigns.

Set it and forget it with the automated campaigns feature. With Square, you can make your campaigns effortless as we send the emails and manage recurring communication on your behalf. Measure your analytics and adapt your targeting with precision.