Posted on 26/11/2021 by Melanie Comerford

Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing

The debate between whether traditional marketing or digital marketing is better will continue for years to come. Ultimately there is no right or wrong answer, how your traditional or digital marketing tactics perform will come down to which one fits the best for your business. The key differences between the two boil down to which mediums your business chooses to promote and share your brand messaging. 

Whilst both approaches can derive results for your business, one may outperform the other depending on a number of factors. How your brand operates, your desired market and the products or services you sell will all determine which route is the most beneficial. To give you a better idea of what we’re talking about we’ve explored both of the solutions and outlined some of the key benefits to help guide your decision making.

What is Traditional Marketing?

Traditional Marketing refers to all forms of marketing that do not occur in an online space. This covers techniques such as print, broadcast, phone, billboard and some emailing. Don’t be fooled by the term traditional, this way of marketing still plays an important role in all of our lives and we continue to witness its effects every day. 

Traditional marketing has been the catalyst of many triumphs throughout history and we anticipate this will continue for years to come. Due to their continuous usage throughout the decades, they have reams of data to support and demonstrate their effectiveness. Many marketers today still lean on this data to reinforce their decisions when leveraging these tried and tested techniques. 

Whether it be a high-quality, emotive TV ad campaign that got you talking or the latest cover of Vogue that sticks out in your memory, these tactics are just as prevalent in our world as they were years ago. 

Traditional Marketing Tactics & Channels

Whilst we’ve already discussed some of the most obvious traditional tactics, this isn’t an exhausted list. We’ve included a few more examples of powerful traditional marketing methods below: 

  • Broadcast (Radio & TV)
  • Direct Mail (Leaflets, Flyers and other promotional letters)
  • Print (Magazines, Billboards, Signage, Newspapers etc)
  • Event Marketing
  • Phonecalls

Broadcast Marketing

Opening with the often most costly tactic of them all, broadcast marketing refers to radio and television advertising. In 2021, the share of TV in global ad spend reached 32% demonstrating that television still is an immensely popular and effective marketing platform. There are many studies out there that depict the full-scale potential of tv advertising. Most crucial, however, outlines that TV advertising delivers an average of £1.79 for every £1 invested, a significant return on your investment. 

Whilst TV advertising may sound like a no-brainer, let’s not forget the considerably high investment required to get your campaign off the ground. We won’t go into details here as these costs do depend on a number of different variables, but on average, they are high. 

A recent RAJAR study found that whilst younger people are less likely to engage with radio in any form, radio, in general, reaches 89% of the British population aged over 15. Broadcast marketing as a whole may seem like ‘blanket marketing’ on mass. However, with the right planning, you can be really strategic and targeted with your ads, reaching the right people at the right time. 

Direct Mail

Thought direct mail was in the past, perhaps not. Recent surveys suggest that direct mail open rates can reach nearly 90%. Historically, people have always enjoyed receiving physical letters and postcards in the mail. This is likely due to the fact that direct mail can feel so much more personable, juxtaposed with the unrelated assortment of ads we now get online. 

Whilst it’s all well and good people enjoyed your physical ad delivered to their doorstep, what does it achieve in terms of sales or revenue. Well, according to another recent study, direct mail can achieve a 29% ROI, now that’s a significant return on investment. 

Now, direct mail might not be applicable or even effective for every business out there, but to support local brand awareness, engagement and sales, it could possess a strong opportunity. For the more stubborn purchasers, you could consider attaching exclusive deals or discounts to seal the deal. 

marketing mail delivery

Print Media

Another tactic that has supposedly got lost amongst the noise, it hasn’t, print media is simply evolving with the times. So why go print? Studies have shown that an increasing number of consumers are experiencing ‘digital fatigue’ and as a result, it’s reported that almost 43% of global internet users now use adblocking technology. 

We know what you’re thinking, “young adults don’t like print”. Wrong! Reports have shown that 95% of people under the age of 25% read magazines and other printed media. The way users engage with online retailers and businesses has given the impression that traditional channels like print have become obsolete but that’s not the case. 

Print media can be costly, obviously, this has many variants from the size of distribution and other readership information. According to an analysis you can expect to pay anywhere between £250 for a quarter size ad in a local paper, to £30,000 in the Daily Mail. Always consider who and where you want to target your consumers before committing any marketing spend to any tactics outlined. 

Networking Events

Whilst in-person events may have a different feel to how they were traditionally due to the pandemic, it’s positive to see that they are gradually making a comeback. Marketers and salespeople alike should have face-to-face and virtual meetings to meet with their prospects, leads and customers. Why? Because both in-person and virtual meetings help build relationships and trust.

A study found that over 90% of consumers have more positive feelings about brands after attending a live event. More crucially, of course, 85% of the same consumers said they were likely to purchase after participating in the event or experience. 

For your more B2B businesses, you’ll be pleased to discover that 68% of brands said events were the most effective for generating qualified leads. You can learn more about digital events and webinars here


As an inbound marketing agency, it may seem odd for us to list this one. However, it doesn’t get more traditional than a phone call. When we discuss phone calls, we’re evaluating the usage of what is referred to as ‘warm calling’. Warm calling is a widely used and popular method of sales prospecting. Within which your salespeople or in some cases marketer, will reach out to a person who has had some prior contact with your business. 

The key here is ‘prior contact’, this interaction is a signal that this person has expressed some interest in your business, service or product. 

So is it effective? Over half of senior-level buyers and key decision-makers prefer to be contacted via phone call. In addition to this, 30-50% of sales go to the business that was the first to reach out to the prospect. This goes to show that whilst ‘cold calling’ is a common disruption for people, a warmer, more considerate approach can go a long way. 

guy in a cafe using ipad and talking on mobile phone

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is marketing that is… you guessed it, Digital! Often referred to as online marketing, it encompasses any marketing effort that leverages the power of an electronic device. Digital marketing refers to the activities that we as marketers carry out to convey promotional messaging and measure the impact it has. Digital marketing can take many different forms, from SEO to video marketing, you can almost certainly find online advertising wherever you navigate online. 

Digital Marketing Tactics & Channels

Whilst there are many a string to a digital marketer’s bow, we’ve selected some of the most widely leveraged tactics to discuss:

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • SEO
  • PPC & Paid Media

Social Media Marketing

As of 2024, there were 4.55 billion people actively using social media with each user spending an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes browsing social networks and messaging. Whilst consumer behaviour is always shifting in different directions, one of the most significant changes occurred back in 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

It’s no secret that social media has done and will continue to rise in popularity for years to come, having a solid social media marketing strategy is a must for reaching your audience. When we discuss your social media strategy, we’re referring to one that is organic, not your ads. Arguably organic reach has depleted over the years, caused by an increase in competition for space. However, reach isn’t everything. 

It’s more crucial to understand your audience, knowing what content can captivate their interest. There are tons of organic ways to attract the attention of those who are in your target market. Whether it be user-generated content and polls or competitions and community groups. You may be wondering what the payoff will be, well consider that 54% of social browsers use social media to research new products and services. 

Content Marketing

Moving on swiftly, the term content marketing applies to a wide variety of different digital tactics. Delivering high-quality and effective content can be a time-consuming challenge but the results will be worth it! Research shows that 60% of B2C marketers are committed to content marketing. 

Content marketing is ultimately about providing value to your prospects, leads and customers. Whether it be via social media videos, long-form blog content or gated whitepapers. You can customise your content marketing strategy to reflect your buyer’s journey, influencing users along their pathway to purchase. 

Having an effective content marketing strategy can bring a variety of benefits to your business. As an example, high-quality content helps your business rank better in SERPs, enhancing your brand visibility and traffic. Posting content regularly improves user engagement and email marketing improves customer satisfaction and retainment. Ultimately, there is too much to cover in this one section. 

Email Marketing

Consider email marketing as your modern-day approach to direct mail, except this tactic generates a significantly higher ROI. According to a recent study, email marketing can generate an outstanding 4,200% ROI making it one of our most effective techniques. 

Email has shown no sign of going away either, a separate study found that 78% of digital marketers have seen an increase in email engagement in the last 12 months. 

Combining email with the power of your CRM can enable you to send highly-targeted messages that influence direct action. You can use emails to engage your users irrespective of where they are in their buyer’s journey. Encourage your leads to make or purchase or ask your existing customers to return or refer a friend. There are lots of opportunities to explore here. 

zoomed image of ios mail app


We’ve touched on this one already but SEO plays a critical role in any digital marketing strategy. SEO is the name given to the various activities that all contribute to enhancing your website’s visibility. Comprising of three key areas, on-page, off-page and technical. They all have a common goal of increasing your website’s traffic and improving the opportunity to convert prospects into customers. 

SEO can be a highly effective and low-cost marketing strategy as it looks to attract users who are actively seeking your products and services online. Search engine optimisation also provides trackable and quantifiable results. One of the greatest impacts of implementing an SEO strategy is that you will start to notice improvements in other areas too. As you look to improve the way search engines navigate your site, you’ll consequently improve the usability for users too. This goes for a lot of other aspects too such as making SEO improvements to your written content.

PPC & Paid Ads

A great addition to SEO or your organic social media channels. Whilst it’s always great to rank or appear organically online, you can dominate additional online space with the assistance of paid advertising. Looking at social media ads in particular, more than 50% of digital marketers plan to increase their investments in key social media channels in 2022. 

PPC advertising can be a tricky place to navigate, however, with the right strategy, it can have a major and positive impact on your business. If you aren’t doing PPC already, you’re likely missing out on valuable traffic and revenue.

PPC and Paid Media can make a great addition to work alongside and complement your other marketing channels. As well as working with SEO, your impressions and opportunities seen via paid traffic are often of the same audience, ie. the people who use Google to find information, services and products. 

Can Traditional and Digital Marketing Work Together?

The key to most successful marketing campaigns is to strike the balance between traditional and digital. Both methods and their tactics can provide real value to your business and are strongest when used in conjunction with one another. With that said, there are many variables to consider. 

It’s always important to conduct exploration into your target audiences demographics to determine how and where they want to receive your messages. You can use marketing tools like persona research to identify your touchpoint opportunities. 

While diversifying your marketing channels for the modern world is crucial to your success, you should always have data and evidence to support why you’ve decided to ditch or avoid particular tactics. 

Loop Digital – The Digital Marketing Agency

At Loop Digital, we offer a wide variety of digital marketing services to businesses all over the UK. Using our expertise in market research, persona development and other research methods, we craft bespoke digital marketing solutions that are tailored to your business and market. 

For more information about our affordable digital marketing services and packages get in touch with our friendly team today. 

Mel is our Partner Strategy & Delivery Manager and also a CIM Chartered Marketer, a testament to her commitment to excellence in the field. But Mel’s contributions don’t stop at the office door. Beyond her professional endeavours, she leads an active life as a qualified run leader and dedicated volunteer. Her experience in these roles has streamlined her leadership and teamwork skills, making her an invaluable asset when it comes to collaborating on projects and ensuring their success. Her sharp insights, strategic thinking, and knowledge have made her a backbone in our team’s ability to drive results for clients in this industry. Mel will make sure that we can approach marketing challenges from all angles and deliver outstanding results for our clients.

Looking for your next opportunity?

Digital marketing careers

We’re always on the lookout for talented individuals to join our ever growing team. If you think you’d be a great match for Loop Digital, we’d love to hear from you.

Loop Digital Team Picture
Google Partner - Loop Digital
GA4 - Loop Digital
Google Ads - Loop Digital
Semrush - Loop Digital
MailChimp - Loop Digital
CIM - Loop Digital
Chartered Marketer - Loop Digital
Microsoft Ads - Loop Digital
WordPress - Loop Digital
Google Partner - Loop Digital
GA4 - Loop Digital
Google Ads - Loop Digital
Semrush - Loop Digital
MailChimp - Loop Digital
CIM - Loop Digital
Chartered Marketer - Loop Digital
Microsoft Ads - Loop Digital
WordPress - Loop Digital

Stay in the loop... subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest industry news

"*" indicates required fields

© 2024 Loop Digital Marketing Ltd - All Rights Reserved - Company number: 09284217