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Digital Marketing Vs Traditional Marketing – Which One Is Better

Digital Marketing Vs Traditional Marketing, those who are using traditional marketing always have this question in their mind. Is Digital marketing compared to Traditional Marketing is important for my business? If I distribute some budget from Traditional Marketing platforms to Digital Marketing, will I be able to achieve the same marketing performance? As a traditional business owner without knowing Internet Marketing, it is not advisable to invest your money into Digital Medium until you are not aware which platform will drive you the best results. At the same time, being completely dependent on agencies for all your digital needs will further fall you in trouble.

Digital Marketing Vs Traditional Marketing

Traditional Marketing is majorly used when you need to reach out to a mass audience. In Traditional Marketing, reaching out to a wide range of people through new channels, ads papers, television, etc is easy however to analyze how many of them have read that is an impossible mission to complete. 

Assume this: You are a manufacturer of Bath Soap and decided to spend 5 lac on New Paper ads. After the newspaper ads release to analyze your new paper advertisement performance if I ask you how many people have read you will not be able to share the exact numbers. This is one of the biggest challenges when we use Traditional vs digital marketing.

Let’s understand the difference between Digital Marketing Vs Traditional Marketing. 

What is Digital Marketing?

  • Created blog posts with great content and have no followers?

Created a website to sell your products and services and don’t know how to introduce and apprise people of it?

  • Small retail or wholesale shops speculating how to survive the global recession?

Big retailers and wholesalers pondering on how to oust your competitors?

  • Home-based business desirous of acquiring more customers?

The one simple solution to all of this is, yes you got it, DIGITAL MARKETING!

The above picture says it all. They say, “If you do not have an online presence, YOU DO NOT EXIST.” It is as simple as that in the Millennial Age.

Marketing is all about establishing a connection for your products or services with your customers or audience at the right time and place. Digital Marketing only enhances and accelerates this process for expedited and assured results.

The very fact that you are reading this article implies that you do not know much about digital marketing. The what, why and how of digital marketing is perplexing and puzzling to you. Let us decode and decipher it all together.

Some History

There is a section of people who believe that Guglielmo Marconi is the first digital marketer as he invented the radio in 1896. The radio was eventually used to advertise and hence is a form of digital marketing.

Others believe that Ray Tomlinson in 1971 launched digital marketing when he first sent an e-mail to himself. This set the platform for people to send and receive information through machines.

The advent of Archie search engine (1990), and subsequently Yahoo (1995), and most significantly, Google (1997), have transformed the internet and digital platforms at an astonishingly rapid pace.

The most comprehensive definition is perhaps from Wikipedia. It states that Digital Marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital mediums via the Internet. This encompasses the use of smartphones, display advertising, or any other digital medium.

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Digital Marketing In India 

For a moment, try to envisage your life without all things internet. You would not be reading this article in the first place. It would seem much like time travel, only not in the future but back in time. No mobiles, internet, GPS, or WhatsApp. No Twitter/Instagram/Facebook/Linkedin, etc. Already getting Goosebumps?

Today, we live in a digitized world. Everything from buying food, groceries, vegetables, clothes, travel, transport, all sorts of payments, staying connected with people within and outside, from reading even news online to other entertainment, banking, and insurance, EVERY SINGLE FACET OF OUR LIFE IS DIGITIZED.

The Millennial Age and even Gen Z rely heavily or solely on the digital platform.

The Government of India is not lagging. It has launched the “Digital India” initiative and is aggressively promoting the same. All this is in keeping with the global scenario and empowering Indians to be digitally aware. The combinations of technology, commerce, and globalization have given Digital Marketing a place like none other. Digital Marketing in India is surely riding a high wave currently.

Some stats and facts:

  1. As per Mary Meeker (“Queen of the internet” and former Morgan Stanley Internet analyst), “India has the second-largest number of internet users in the world.”
  2. Internet usage is pegged at 566 million, driven by speedy internet growth in rural India, as per the Kantar IMRB ICUBE report.
  3. The number of smartphone users in India at the end of 2017 was estimated to be 291.6 million.
  4. As per McKinsey Global Institute, India is one of the fastest-growing and largest markets for digital consumers. It has 560 million internet subscribers as of 2018.
  5. Not surprisingly, the number of social media users in India stands at 326.1 million in 2018, as per the Statista Research Department.

The above stats are self-explanatory and testimony to the fact that India is undoubtedly and unquestionably progressing towards a Digital India. With that being said, there are still many market segments that need to adopt and adapt to the changing scenario. Digital Marketing in India will continue to make headway progress more so with the Indian Government endeavoring to promote digitization at all levels, be it payment channels or a unique identification number.

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Digital Marketing VS Traditional Marketing:

Consider the traditional marketing scenario that persists in many parts of India.

How would a seller who wants to sell his products/services go about in the context of traditional marketing?

  1. Print media that includes newspaper, magazine ads, brochures, and other printed material.
  2. Broadcast media that includes TV or radio ads.
  3. Direct mail including fliers, postcards, catalogs, etc.
  4. Telemarketing or SMS marketing.

These are all offline modes of advertising.

In the context of digital marketing, the components include:

  1. Websites.
  2. Social networking sites.
  3. Banner ads.
  4. Content marketing.
  5. Video marketing.
  6. Google ads.

These are all online modes of marketing.

Now let us weigh the pros and cons of traditional marketing vs digital marketing.

  1. The traditional marketing scenario has a restricted customer base.
  2. The seller is not cognizant of the customer’s experience or satisfaction levels.
  3. Any new products/services added, the seller has to go over the entire drill of sending out fliers, advertise, or call all over again.
  4. The cost incurred is high.

Comparatively, in digital marketing, the seller can amp his business and how!

  1. The audience reach is massive and unrestricted.
  2. It allows a direct response from the audience intended to help the seller be more aware of the customer’s expectations.
  3. Through digital platforms and websites, the seller can update or make changes at any given point in time to notify his customer base.
  4. It is undoubtedly a cost-effective marketing strategy.

The outreach and market penetration are far more diverse with Digital Marketing as opposed to traditional marketing. The Digital Marketing platform is more engaging with instant customer feedbacks and getting a feel of what the customer wants and expects.

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The rising world of E-commerce is perhaps the best way to describe the rising trend of digital marketing itself. Be it Amazon, Flipkart, Bigbasket, Myntra, E-learning sites like Udemy, Coursera, or other players in the E-commerce world, digital marketing strategy is what drives these businesses. Marketing will soon be inconceivable without integrated digital marketing strategies. Though it has some pitfalls, the benefits far outweigh the risks in the current scenario.


The benefits of digital marketing or scope in the present age and the future are only set to increase. As stated by IDC (International Data Corporation), digital marketing will be worth over $102 billion by the end of 2019!

The consumption of digital content is increasing by the day. Today, a customer’s journey of buying a product/service starts and completes (almost always) online. It starts by gathering information about the product/service to researching in-depth for the features and best prices. Subsequently, it involves decision making and ultimately buying the product/service, everything is via the internet.

Digital Marketing Strategy is of unquestionable importance. It not only aids in collecting customer data, targeting the audience, analyzing the trends, but also optimizes the conversion of potential leads into sales.

Digital marketing helps smaller businesses to thrive and compete alongside the bigger ones in the marketplace. As mentioned before, it is a cost-efficient way to improve sales. It provides a reduced cost per lead. It gives better conversions thus helping business as a whole, irrespective of whether it is a B2B (business-to-business), B2C (business-to-consumer), C2C (customer-to-customer), or C2B (customer-to-business) model.

To sum up the benefits of Digital Marketing:

  1. It is more cost-effective than traditional marketing.
  2. It enables interaction with the targeted audience and is more engaging.
  3. The market penetration is at multiple levels and more extensive yielding better traffic. It enables reaching out even to the global markets.
  4. More traffic, in turn, leads to better conversion rates (conversion optimization).
  5. Increased conversions generate better revenue even in cases of small and medium enterprises.
  6. It also encompasses the mobile consumer community, which presently is escalating.
  7. It enables building and boosting brand positioning and reputation online (online reputation management).
  8. Digital marketing strategy is unarguably the best ROI for your marketing investment.
  9. It gives more real-time and measurable data that enables better decision-making and in turn sales.

Types of Digital marketing

We have a better understanding now of what digital marketing is and how it is inconceivable not to employ it in today’s world. Let us take a look now at the types of Digital Marketing in use to achieve all the greatness.

Some of the most commonly used digital marketing types that give guaranteed success are:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization is crucial to the success of the Digital Marketing Strategy. As the name suggests, it is optimizing the search results to ensure your content ranks high. This, in turn, generates better organic traffic from search engines (Google, Bing, etc). It involves optimizing the web layout, design, and content to bag a better ranking in search engines.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

This term is used exclusively for paid methods of marketing. It involves using paid advertising to increase the visibility of your website in the search engine results pages (SERP).

Such sponsored ads have the advantage of appearing at the top of a search result thus gaining more visibility. This is easily recognizable by the sign of “Ad” before the URL. It is easily the quickest way to drive traffic and results are immediate. Some examples are Google AdWords and Bing Ads.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Simply put, Social Media Marketing is a type of digital marketing that utilizes social media platforms to lure traffic and increase the customer base. This digital marketing technique has phenomenal potential owing to the frequency of usage. It also helps in gaining a customer’s perspective about what they expect. It provides direct interaction leading to gainful insights.

Some examples of social media platforms used by digital marketers include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.

Content Marketing

Content marketing involves creating meaningful and relevant content, consistently, that is valuable to the consumer and target audience. Quality content is the keyword here. It is a long-term strategy. Valuable and informative content builds customer relationships.

The best content marketing strategy is evolved around the customer buyer journey, from awareness to consideration, and finally the decision stage. Some examples of what content marketing includes are blog posts, infographics, ebooks, podcasts, articles, etc.

Email Marketing

This is probably the most widely used type of digital marketing and also the best. It not only helps to promote a business but also helps interact with the audience and build a relationship with them. Some ways to improve the workability of email marketing would be offering free downloads, latest updates, and offers onboard, etc to grab audience attention. The analytics are easy to decode and aid in further planning. When effectively used, it has the potential to increase the conversion of prospects into sales.

Video Marketing

Using videos to promote a business is called video marketing. It is an important aspect today, with an increasing number of people hooked onto YouTube. The world’s second-largest search engine is none other than YouTube!

It has the capability of boosting sales as it is more appealing and engaging, even to a couch potato. Since it is visual, it helps in breaking complex concepts into simple bits. From demo videos, brand videos, event videos, “how-to” videos, to “reviews”  or customer testimonial videos, this mode of marketing increases customer engagement and influences buying decisions like none other. People are also more likely to share videos they like.

Affiliate Marketing

This is one of the ways to generate passive income online today. It is a type of digital marketing where a business benefits when someone else refers and promotes their products or services. The person promoting is called an Affiliate and the Affiliates get a commission each time they generate a sale through their promotions and referrals.

The Amazon Associates Program is perhaps the most successful example of online affiliate marketing.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

This is again a paid advertising model. Here, the marketers place their ads on an ad platform and every time their ad is clicked, they pay a fee to the host. It is buying visits to a site rather than organic traffic.

Instant Messaging 

This is essentially a great way to communicate with the mobile consumer sector, especially since mobile usage has been climbing the ladder at a rapid pace. It is an instant way to make the customer feel valued. It makes them believe in your professionalism and endeavor to serve them in the best possible manner.

Heard of Nomophobia? Well, it is the fear of being without your mobile or not being able to use it. True That !. It is the state of most people today, as the mobile becomes an indispensable part of our routines.

Therefore, success with instant messaging has no two ways about it. Some examples of instant messaging are WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, etc.

AR vs VR 

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are the new buzzwords in digital marketing. It is one of those amazing technologies that compels you to stand up and take note. The better the visualization, the greater and more memorable is the customer experience adding value to acquisitions. Both of these techniques are story-driven and are interactive. More and more companies are embracing this technology to up their revenues. The better the content, customization, visualization, and integration, the better the returns.

Radio Marketing

Radio as a medium while definitely old-fashioned, has not seen the grave as yet and continues to be a popular form of marketing. It drives awareness to a vast audience and across diverse categories.

Television Marketing

The types of digital marketing would be incomplete without the mention of television. It is still one of the most popular forms with maximum outreach if we may say so.

Visuals have a more lasting and deeper impact than reading a written word or listening to audio. Therefore this mode of marketing continues to have a bigger impact.

Digital Marketing Trends In 2019 And 2020:

Having spoken of digital marketing in-depth, let us now have a glimpse of the trends of digital marketing that will rule 2019-2020.

Digital marketing is dynamic. What worked in 2017-2018 may no longer work or be valid. There was a time when posting content was all that was required. Today, that holds little or no value, especially with the information explosion online. TO BE OF VALUE are the keywords to sustain and grow in the digital marketing world.

CUSTOMER is still the KING but they are no more the easy-to-lure types. Today, customers are internet savvy, digital savvy, and more aware of everything. So, to engage a knowledgeable customer base you have to think out-of-the-box ways to keep their interest ongoing.

Let us explore some of the upcoming digital marketing trends that we need to get acquainted with for 2019-2020:

Omnichannel And Multichannel Marketing:

These two terms are very often used interchangeably but there is a difference between the two. Omnichannel marketing uses the multichannel sales approach but keeping the customer at its core.  It provides the customer with an integrated experience.

The customer, irrespective of whether he shops online from a mobile or a desktop, or even a store has a seamless experience. This is a more customer-centric approach and a more holistic approach.

Multichannel marketing, on the other hand, is using multiple platforms to interact with potential customers. The platform may be an ad, a website, word-of-mouth, promotional event, etc. It is simply put, advertising via a maximum number of channels.


When you walk into a store, you have a friendly attendant walk over to you, asking you, “How may I help you?”.  Well, in the online world, this friendly attendant is your very own CHATBOT. Whether or not you like such attendants, they are present universally. Similarly, like them or dislike them, the chatbot is an artificial intelligence program that is here to stay.

Online chatbots are indeed useful and time-saving for businesses as they automate customer support.

They are like virtual companions capable of attending to basic queries that most customers might have. The chatbots may be simple or advanced. The communicating capability is defined by the kind of chatbot in use.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are indeed revolutionizing the digital marketing field. AI simply put is creating intelligent machines that think and respond much like humans. Machine learning uses data to resolve complex problems. Artificial intelligence and machine learning go hand-in-hand and complement each other. They aid in predictive customer analysis.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Google-backed AMP project is quite significant concerning search on mobiles. With more and more people having access to affordable smartphones and affordable internet, the content consumption via mobiles is skyrocketing. This necessitates a better mobile user experience for the customers.

Initially launched for mobiles, this is now available for desktops as well. It offers mobile users the same experience and ease of navigation as on desktops. An AMP page can easily be detected by the “bolt sign” indicating that this particular page will load fast.

Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic Advertising is the automation of the buying and selling process in the online advertising field. It targets specific demographics and audiences. 

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Programmatic Advertising uses AI and machine learning and has replaced the cumbersome manual tasks with automation and provides for a larger audience. It is time-saving and cost-effective too.

AR and VR Marketing

As already mentioned above, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are trending in 2019 and will continue to do so in 2020 as well.

Content Personalization And Vernacular Content:

Content personalization is nothing but customization of content to suit a particularly targeted customer base. It could be in the form of a customer’s name mentioned in emails, or products recommended based on the browsing history or showing content based on the audience search.

Vernacular content is again something that will scale the ladder. This is attributed to more and more people having access to smartphones and the internet and wanting to see content in the dialect they are most comfortable with. A strong personal connection is established between a brand and its customers with the use of vernacular languages. It also promotes outreach to a larger audience.


A podcast is a digital audio file available for download. Splitting the term, Pod + Cast, it is nothing but audio broadcasting. It is typically a series. The podcasts are pre-recorded. Podcasts are becoming the most popular form of listening to content on the go.

Voice Search

As the name suggests, voice search uses speech recognition for searching anything online. Today, voice search is used for much more than just browsing. Smartphones use voice recognition to create a user-friendly experience for customers. You can get directions or set reminders or communicate with friends and family, text, message, send an email and more.

Voice search is not just being used by the tech-savvy out there but also the new to mobile customers who find it easier to voice search than type out their queries. Also, with the mushrooming of smart assistants like Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri etc, voice search is something that is only increasing.


Digital marketing is all about cost-effective ways of broadening your marketing horizons using digital technology. As technology advances, digital marketing being dynamic finds new avenues and newer levels of automation decreasing the cost per lead, increasing conversions, and overall increasing revenues. Hence, if you want your business to sustain and grow, digital marketing is the way to go forward. On the other hand, if you want to reach to masses Traditional marketing is a great platform. 


Aarti Kalra is a certified SEO content writer at IIM Skills. She has a penchant for all things creative and is an avid reader (everything from science, fiction, to medical, and educational). Currently enjoying being a wordsmith in the diverse field of content writing.

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