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What is Traditional Marketing and its Relevance?

More often than not, when one comes across the term marketing, we tend to associate it with a product or service. If you recall the good old days, you would probably picture a salesperson going door to door with a bag full of products trying to sell something. But we have come a long way from that. And over time, our approach in marketing has also taken a new direction. From a more traditional method, the focus has turned towards digital marketing. But let us now explore how traditional marketing still holds a place in today’s world.   


A guide on traditional marketing


Traditional marketing vs Digital marketing


In its true sense, traditional marketing is nothing but marketing done in offline mode. In simpler terms, it means marketing carried out via phone, radio, direct mail, or any form of print like placards, brochures, billboards, etc. For many years before the dawn of the digital world, people used traditional methods to reach out to their potential audience.


Companies have spent large amounts of funds on such type of marketing and continue to do so even today as it has proven its worth to date. Digital marketing on the other hand is marketing taking place online in the form of emails, paid advertisements on social media, pay-per-click ads (PPC), websites, and many more.


This is a great way to reach audiences not just locally, but also on a global level. Especially with the tremendous growth and popularity of social media, it is now quite easy to promote your product or service around the globe.


It is true that in this age every business needs to go digital as it has important benefits such as being a cheaper solution, the ability to edit in case of mistakes, and maintaining a social relation with the customers amongst others. All said and done, even though digital marketing is the future, let’s not count out the good old ways of marketing just yet.


Different Methods of Traditional Marketing


1. Television


one of the most popular methods of marketing is television. Initially, this was not the best technique for marketing as television sets were not that common. However, there has been a rapid rise over the years, and nowadays almost every room in the house has a tv set. Therefore, running advertisements via tv channels is very much in demand as people get a near firsthand experience of the product.


It is easier to market products through this medium as spectators can relate much better than an ad campaign via print media or the radio. Television ads are generally placed in accordance with the show that is being aired. For example, one is likely to view an ad campaign for a health drink during a live telecast of sports matches. 


2. Radio


Another extremely used method for marketing has been the use of radio. Especially in the past, when radio was the number one form of entertainment, it was considered to be the best form of advertising as hordes of people used to tune in. In addition to being a great source of marketing, it is also a relatively cheap option that suits the need of many small companies.


Although, it may seem as if selling products over the radio is a redundant method these days, that is not the case. Many people still prefer listening to the radio, particularly while commuting to and from work. 


Also Read: Importance of Digital Marketing


3. Direct Mail


With almost every person having an email account, it is hard to ignore the power of marketing via email. However, before we had emails, one of the best ways to market products and services was through direct mails. These are physical pieces of paper sent to households as a way of attracting attention towards whatever the company is trying to sell.


Direct mail is still being used today, albeit in a lesser sense. Organizations send out free samples of their products, especially to celebrities which in turn helps them with their promotional activities. Furthermore, direct mails have gone through a resurgence of somewhat as they are now sent with creativity and customization keeping in mind the customer’s tastes.


Direct mails may be in the form of brochures, discount coupons, offers, etc. By sending their samples to celebrities, the products indirectly catch the eye of everyone following the celebrities. Plus, another benefit of direct mails is that they are easier to understand and has a high brand recall value. Sometimes companies will send use this service to build a loyal customer base as well. 


4. Newspaper


Newspaper advertising is one of those which come under print media advertising. Even in today’s world with everything turning towards digitization, there are still a lot of people who prefer reading newspapers. Thus, companies are using this medium to print their advertisements in the top papers where they will be read by the masses.


Advertisements in newspapers typically consist of offers and promotional activity towards the sale of a product. Printing discount coupons is a marketing tactic that results directly in brand awareness amongst several people. 


5. Magazines


Another typical example of print media advertising is that of magazines. Like newspapers, magazines also evoke interest amongst the public. One of the key differences in advertising in magazines is that, unlike newspapers, the ads in magazines tend to belong to top-notch brands as most people who buy high-end magazines can afford luxurious items. Also, you are most likely to find only relevant ads in magazines. For example, fashion magazines can carry advertisements for perfumes or stylish purses, etc.   


Recommended Read: Digital Marketing Courses in India


6. Marketing via cold calling, event marketing, referrals, etc.


These types of marketing involve a salesperson and have been one of the most effective ways of traditional marketing over the years. Cold calling is where a salesperson will make calls to random people to try and sell their products over the phone. Cold calling is a preferred method used by companies as it does not require too much expenditure and has great success. 


Event marketing is another popular way to increase brand awareness. No matter what the event is, a company can put up banners and interesting signs boards that highlight their products. It is also quite common to see booths or counters being set up with samples, brochures, etc. to engage the crowd.


This is a type of direct marketing where the skills of the sales representative are important in creating an impact and generating sales. Another type of direct marketing is referral marketing. In this approach, companies reach out to their existing loyal customers and ask them to market their company services and products to their friends, family, or work colleagues.


In exchange, the company gives their customers special offers or discounts. This approach works quite well as people are generally more ready to listen to those whom they know and trust. 


7. Handouts


Handouts consist of printed documents which are mainly flyers or brochures carrying product-related details. Most of the time, flyers will also carry temporary offers or discounts as a potential way of drawing in people, especially during festivals. Flyers can be handed out or even placed in public places to catch the attention of passersby. In normal cases, brochures are kept at various events or can also be handed over during client visits.


They will have information related to the company or list the key features of the company’s product. It is worth noting that these are powerful ways of marketing as visual representation goes a long way in raising brand awareness. Moreover, handouts can always be kept nearby, and thus, this aspect makes them easy to refer to time and again.


8. Billboards


Do you recall those huge, tall signs that you see on the road while you commuting from one place to another? They are more often than not found on highways. A typical billboard will be made up of images with some supporting text by its side. Images are the main part of such advertisements as they grab the attention of travelers quickly.


It is essential to limit the text and focus more on the images since people traveling at high speeds don’t have too much time to read. Even if this seems to be a disadvantage of sorts, a creative ad will definitely ensure that people will remember your brand for a long time.


Since they are found quite a lot on highways, it is a great way to market your business on a national level. As you can see there are various ways in which one can continue doing traditional marketing. So, let us now take a look at what are some of its key advantages and disadvantages.




1. One of traditional marketing’s biggest upper hands is that it is the best way to communicate with the local audience. If one wishes to grow their brand locally, then running ad campaigns in the local newspapers, local tv channels or radio stations will have a huge impact on sales. 


2. Customers can refer to this type of marketing much more easily than digital marketing because they can have the information nearby which also makes it easier to refer on multiple occasions. For example, one can keep brochures or fliers in designated spaces to quickly access them in the future. 


3. One more added benefit is that information found in print is easier to understand and recall than if it is in digital format. Due to this reason, the impact created by traditional marketing is greater. 


4.  Since people are very much used to the traditional way, they are still more comfortable with this marketing approach. Taking into account the habits of some of the elders in our society, it is found that not everyone is well versed in the digital world. Plus, there are many who are skeptical when it comes to opening emails or links from unknown senders due to the lurking threat of cyber-crime. As a result, marketing done through fliers or brochures can gain more trust. 


5. Apart from this, the traditional way is considered to be much more successful as it has been the go-to formula for a long time. Online marketing has tremendous potential to reach most of the population, however, there is no assurance with regards to its success.


6. It is said that seeing is believing and the same also holds true for selling products. It is a human tendency to trust something which they can physically see with their own eyes and is not opposed to seeing it on an online advertisement. Doing marketing with the customary approach instills a sense of trust and reliability in the minds of the audience. It also generates the belief that the company and product must be really good as they are able to spend on the expensive marketing techniques.




1. One key advantage that online marketing holds is that companies have the ability to make quick changes in case required. Whereas, once an ad is printed or announced through the media, editing them is next to impossible. For example, customers have no way of knowing how much stock is still available. On the other hand, through the digital world, ads can be modified instantly.


2. It is extremely difficult to send out personalized and customized products to clients as the time and effort required for both is insufficient. The result is that there is less human touch involved.


3. Some of the traditional methods to market any product or service are quite expensive as compared to online methods. Printing pamphlets and brochures repeatedly require recurrent expenditure. Running television ads end up costing fortunes to the company. The burden of excessive cost is relatively less when we take the digital road. 


4. One factor to take into consideration is that print media has a restricted amount of space for information. Therefore, it is not possible to include more details that customers may require. In the case of digital marketing, customers can be attracted by including everything relevant to the product.


5. Marketing via different methods especially television ads means that the audience has no option but to watch them forcefully right in the middle of whatever program they are enjoying. This can cause frustration among viewers and at times the spectators will simply change channels to avoid watching advertisements. 


6. A big drawback here is that it is not exactly possible to measure success. Even though there are practices in place to check the viewership of television channels, at the end of the day, it can only provide a rough estimate. As opposed to this, online methods are far more effective when it comes to measuring the type of success a particular marketing campaign maintains garnered. 


Having seen the pluses and minuses of the customary means of marketing, it seems evident that there really is no fixed path to follow. In the end, what type of marketing suits you the best will be decided largely by the various factors in play.


Some key points to weigh up are whether you need to reach only a target set of audiences, increase your brand awareness locally or reach the masses in general without the need to empty your pockets. Answering all such types of questions will help in choosing the best approach suitable for your company’s marketing requirements. 




1. Is traditional marketing still important?

When it comes to growing your business, the tried and trusted methods such as advertising via television, radio, print media, etc. are still very popular. These methods can attract audiences and ensure high brand recognition. Creative ad campaigns are great in increasing the overall brand awareness. 


2. Who requires traditional marketing?

Generally mid-sized to large businesses use various forms of traditional marketing. Companies with relatively smaller budgets usually go for advertising in newspapers or over the radio to reach the local audience. However, organizations without budget constraints can opt for television ads, flyers, billboards, etc.


3. Will digital marketing replace the conventional method of marketing?

The traditional approach cannot single out the target audience since it is broader and thus caters to a larger group in general. The main focus of digital marketing is to target the specific audience that is interested in your business products or services. Moreover, with digital marketing, service providers are able to directly keep in touch with their customers to solve any queries or to maintain a social connection. With the added benefit of it being less expensive, there is a great chance that digital marketing will keep growing.




In this way, we can safely conclude that traditional marketing, although with some limitations, still has got plenty to offer. Additionally, the important takeaway is that it is not quite the end of the road as far as traditional methods are concerned. Even if digital marketing has taken over to a larger extent, there is still great value in the old and trusted practices of selling products. So, with the advent of online marketing and its benefits, perhaps companies will be better served by striking a balance between the conventional method and the digital techniques.          



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