Direct Mail

Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing

By 24 August 2023February 20th, 2024No Comments
traditional marketing vs digital marketing

Traditional Marketing Vs. Digital Marketing: Which One is the Best?

Marketing! The word alone can spark many conversations and debates, with different businesses having unique approaches. But one debate stays constant: traditional marketing vs. digital marketing! 

Marketing is a crucial part of businesses in all industries! It defines how well a company performs and how many people it reaches. Also, it decides the income and revenue goals, making it a game changer for all. 

Traditional marketing has been around for a long time. Thus, many people ask—is it still effective? Isn’t it dead? 

traditional marketing vs digital marketing

One of our clients also had this concern when they first entered the direct mail marketing world! They were rethinking whether digital marketing was necessary for them to grow in this age. 

Businesses should understand the advantages of digital marketing vs. traditional marketing, with their cons. And then make decisions based on their needs, budget, goals, targeted audience, and more!

In this blog- we do exactly that! Keep reading to learn everything about these marketing types and how to decide which one best suits you.

Let us begin!

What is Traditional Marketing, and Why Use It?

Traditional marketing refers to advertising your products and services offline. Some standard methods include posters, banners, direct mail, TV ads, etc. It was the only marketing type until the late 1990s when technological developments became popular.

These marketing channels don’t rely on the Internet to reach a specific audience. Think about the billboards you see when driving or the posters on the park benches. Businesses use these methods to grab their potential customers’ attention and spread brand awareness.

The traditional vs. digital marketing debate highlighted how many people still favor offline advertising channels. It is because it sparks nostalgia and helps create personal connections with your audience. Thus, customers remember it more often and appreciate the effort.

Why Use It?

Many reasons add to the power traditional marketing holds even today! They include

  • Tangibility: The most influential point to remember when discussing digital marketing vs. traditional marketing is tangibility. Online ads aren’t tangible, but offline ads are. For example, you can send direct mail postcards to your customers and give them something to remember you by for a long time! They can save and share these mailers with their families and friends. Also, they can stick them to their refrigerators or pin them somewhere where they are visible! Thus, traditional advertising’s tangibility gets more attention and expands its durability. 
  • High reach: You can connect with more people who might be interested in your products via traditional marketing. Businesses often place their posters and banners on busy streets. It helps people see the ads and visit them more often. 
  • Easy connectivity: Traditional marketing provides easy access to your target audience because it does not rely on the Internet. You can reach your potential and existing customers without waiting for them to open and check their phones. 
  • Improved brand recall: Many say that traditional direct mail marketing is more effective than online marketing, and they are correct! Mailing campaigns and other offline advertising channels help people recognize your brand for an extended period than when they see your emails or social media posts.
  • More engagement: Imagine your prospects listening to your radio ads when getting ready for work in the morning. Or a group of friends noticing and discussing your printed article in a magazine. These promotions create more buzz than online marketing, so it is still the primary choice for many companies. 
  • Excellent for all age groups: Offline marketing appeals to the older generation. But it also resonates with millennials and Gen Z, allowing it to wow everyone. Companies can change the channels and messages they use to reach every demographic. But traditional marketing always succeeds in making an impact!

These reasons pushed our client to choose direct mail marketing to promote their new product line! Hence, they contacted PostGrid to assist them throughout the process, and the rest is history.

Their first campaign allowed them to generate 500+ new leads and 100+ conversions for their high-end products. It was higher than they expected and helped them create higher brand visibility.

What is Digital Marketing, and Why Use It?

It involves using online technological tools to advertise a company and get people to know about its products and services. Digital marketing uses the Internet to contact audiences and create a network of well-connected customers with quick information at their fingertips. 

When discussing digital vs. traditional marketing, we discuss digital later because it came late. It was not until recently that most companies started using it to grow visibility and get followers. 

Nearly 5.19 billion people globally are Internet users today! Thus, it makes sense to incorporate digital marketing into the mix to keep up with current trends and let more people know about your business.

However, the entire traditional marketing vs. digital marketing debate happens because technology can never replace the old methods.

Traditional marketing is still in existence because digital ads can only complement it!

Why Use It?

Below are reasons for you to use digital marketing strategies even though you have been using traditional methods with excellent results: 

  • Easily trackable: Digital marketing campaigns are easier to track because businesses conduct them online. Hence, they can see which customers responded, which pages they visited, and how many minutes they spent on their website. This data allows them to understand better their buyer personas and whom to target. Also, it lets them learn which marketing activities work best and which don’t. 
  • Free advertising opportunities: Cost is a primary factor when deciding between digital marketing vs. traditional marketing plans. You may conduct many free online advertising campaigns by creating an email list beforehand, like sending bulk emails to your customers. Or you can regularly post on social media and increase your follower base, which helps your company boost its online presence. However, direct mail services like PostGrid help you reduce your offline marketing expenses, letting you decide without worrying about the prices. 
  • Brand building: Digital marketing lets you establish an online portfolio that your customers and prospects can view anytime. For instance, they can visit your website for more details about your brand. Or they can read your blogs to understand your offerings better and make informed choices.

Different Forms of Traditional and Digital Marketing You Must Look Into

Offline and online marketing have multiple versions, approaches, and channels. Let us first discuss ideas for traditional marketing forms you can use: 


Billboards are among the oldest and most effective advertising forms for traditional vs. digital marketing strategies. They are everywhere around us, irrespective of whether we are in a city or driving to the countryside. You can spot one on the way, anyway!

What makes them popular is their large size! They are attention-grabbing, bright, colorful, and captivating. Hence, everyone looks at one when they spot it. 

Top businesses rent billboards for specific days or weeks to display picture advertisements. They are expensive but drive massive engagement. 

Television Commercials

TV commercials are another integral traditional marketing type most companies use. They broadcast their video advertisements on television for people to watch and remember them each time they notice the brand.

We all remember old Pepsi and McDonald’s commercials on the TV. It is how much impact TV ads have on us! They are memorable, and people love them.

Thus, you must always look into TV commercials when the digital vs. traditional marketing topic pops up!

SMS and Telephone Marketing

Though we don’t prefer taking sales calls or reading text messages, these traditional marketing forms still produce a decent ROI. 

You can use them in real estate, healthcare, or finance because people pay more attention to texts and calls from companies in these industries. However, if you run a luxury brand selling high-priced bags and clothes, you may be better off with other options, like direct mail or billboards. 

You must consider your brand type, industry, and audience before selecting traditional marketing vs. digital marketing to make the correct choice. 

Radio Commercials

Many listen to the radio closely to catch up on their favorite music. These are the same people who hear the commercials and make purchase decisions based on them. 

Hence, you might lose out on a specific audience by not incorporating radio commercials into your marketing mix. They are lively and help you deliver your message more clearly. 

Also, you can run your ads on specific channels based on your customer’s demographics and preferences, helping you make the most of them. 

Newspaper and Magazine Ads

These ads make a broad difference in the traditional marketing vs. digital marketing debate. They have been around for a long time! Thus, everyone knows about them, making them one of medium- and large-scale organizations’ most commonly-selected advertising forms. 

Newspapers and magazines are reliable information sources for many. Thus, using them for showcasing your brand’s offerings can allow you to improve your reputation and drive engagement. 

Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail is among the best offline marketing types with the highest responses. 

With a response rate of 4.4%, it easily wins the digital marketing vs. traditional marketing discussion. 

You can choose from many direct mail formats, like 

  • Postcards
  • Letters
  • Self-Mailers
  • Newsletters
  • Flyers

They let you speak to your intended audience 1:1 by reaching their doorsteps. Imagine they wake up to find a well-curated, personalized letter envelope on their porch. Or you send a business invitation postcard to their office, and they read it while sipping their coffee at their desk. 

Direct mail broadly differentiates itself from digital marketing by being tangible, memorable, and emotional. It adds a personal touch to your marketing communications, helping people prioritize you over other brands and buy from you. 

You can select mailing campaigns when discussing traditional direct mail marketing vs. online marketing to make a lasting impression on your audience. 

Also, it has many use cases, like

  • Acquiring new leads
  • Thanking existing customers
  • Inviting your audience to a trade event
  • Sending upselling and cross-selling messages
  • Introducing a loyalty program for repeat customers
  • Requesting referrals for your brand
  • Sending holiday and birthday greetings
  • Giving seasonal discounts to boost sales
  • Improving brand awareness
  • Tapping into new and existing markets

But our client had encountered an issue! They found direct mail marketing to be tedious, untrackable, and expensive. 

Thus, they needed clarification about traditional direct mail marketing vs. online marketing and contacted PostGrid to resolve their dilemma! Luckily, they found a solution. 

PostGrid’s automated direct mail solutions enabled them to conduct offline mailings via online tools. Thus, they could cut expenses, time, and effort while getting high results!

Now, let us move to digital marketing forms to help you compare offline and online channels and decide what you prefer more. 

Email Marketing

It allows you to send electronic mail to prospects and customers, helping you stay in touch with them. You can update them on your new products and services and promote your brand. 

Email marketing costs nothing if you do it in-house and manually. But you may need to pay a small fee using automation services like Mailchimp. 

Email marketing comes first when speaking of digital marketing vs. traditional marketing because it has been around the longest. It is one of the earliest online advertising methods businesses started using when many people initially created their email accounts. 

But the scenario is different today! The increased number of email users and spam messages have caused customers to move their emails to spam or ignore them. 

Hence, email marketing is less effective than earlier. But you can still make it work using catchy subject lines, upfront CTAs, and attractive imagery. 

Also, targeting your specific audience to make your messages relatable is vital. 

Content Marketing

Storytelling can do wonders for your brand when you do it right! It is what content marketing is about. 

Content marketing is not as popular as email when professionals discuss traditional marketing vs. digital marketing because many businesses have not adopted it entirely. They might still need to add a blog section to their website or start a newsletter for their audience.

However, the question remains—does it work? 

Yes. You can reach the right people with ideal messaging using content. And it comes in many forms, like social media posts, YouTube videos, blogs, ebooks, whitepapers, newsletters, and more. 

You can leverage content marketing to provide tips to your audience about choosing the correct product. Or you can share industry news, exciting events, and your latest accomplishments to give an insight into your work. 

These are solid methods to stay connected with your targeted audience and drive sales. Thus, you should always include content whenever your advertising team discusses the advantages of digital marketing vs. traditional marketing strategies. 

Social Media Marketing

Most companies have social media profiles on different platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. They use them to share stories, reels, posts, and videos to engage users and improve engagement rates. Platforms like Inflact can further amplify their social media strategy, providing tools and analytics to optimize content and reach a wider audience.

Since social media is gaining popularity among youth, it is an excellent place to get their attention. But it also works well for reaching millennials and the older generation!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You may notice people speaking about SEO in every traditional marketing vs. digital marketing debate. But why? 

SEO has paved the way for digital marketing advancements!

Its objective is to enable your business to appear at the top of the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). You can choose between organic and paid search based on the keywords you want to rank for and your targeted audience’s online behaviors.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Traditional Marketing?

After learning what traditional marketing is and its forms, you must know its pros and cons. They help you sharpen your understanding of this advertising method before you invest in anything.


  1. Local coverage: You can choose offline channels between traditional and digital marketing to target local audiences. For instance, imagine you run a dental office on Park Avenue in New York City. You can use signage advertising on buses or direct mail to everyone on the street to inform them of your business and invite them to visit you for dental services. Also, posters, billboards, and other offline marketing types have broad local coverage compared to digital. 
  2. Multiple encounters: TV or radio ads play many times throughout the day. People might repeatedly check out your direct mail letters over a few days or weeks. Thus, you can have multiple interactions using the same marketing materials via offline promotions. 
  3. Memorable and impactful: People remember and speak of traditional marketing more than digital. Have you ever seen someone discuss a marketing email with someone? No. But you may have noticed customers folding magazine pages to show someone or sharing postcards with discount coupons with friends. Offline promotions are the most influential way of connecting with people. Thus, they also win the digital vs. traditional marketing race!


  1. Costly: Most traditional marketing channels are expensive, making them a second choice for businesses that don’t want to spend a lot. And they cannot guarantee whether the people who get the mail or see a poster or newspaper ad will be interested in buying from them. Thus, some find offline campaigns not worth the cost they pay!
  2. Difficult tracking: Billboards, magazine ads, radio commercials, and other offline marketing forms can take months to drive results. It makes businesses reconsider their decisions when choosing between traditional marketing and digital marketing strategies. Also, they need help to check who responded and whether the campaign was successful.
  3. Limited direct interaction: Many digital marketing experts advocate for social media marketing because it lets brands reply instantly and engage with more people in less time. They believe traditional advertising lacks this quality.

Though traditional marketing seems costly, you can use automation and other ways to reduce expenses. For instance, PosGrid offers the most competitive rates in the country, helping you send affordable direct mail and get a higher ROI than other marketing forms.

Also, we help you add QR codes and PURLs to your mailers. You can add CTAs with deadlines, like

  • Scan the QR code below before August 10 to get a discount


  • Visit the link on the backside of the postcard before this weekend to unlock your special prize. 

These trackable features simplify traditional mail tracking, helping you get accurate campaign results each time!

You can also use many ways to increase direct interactions, like sending personalized mail and encouraging people to respond via Business Reply Mail (BRM). The possibilities are endless. Hence, you can turn the cons into pros and reach new goals with PostGrid. 

And you don’t need to worry about choosing between traditional marketing and digital marketing because you can initiate offline campaigns without doing anything in-house.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing has many pros and cons, leading to companies and professionals having different opinions. 

Let us discuss them below!


  1. Instant engagement data: You can track your digital marketing efforts almost immediately. Whenever someone reads your email or likes your social media post, you can collect their data instantly for follow-ups. Also, you can get insights into your customer profiles, their online activities, likes, and other things with the information. Thus, profiling and drafting sales strategies become faster and easier!
  2. Businesses can develop a global brand: Most companies select online channels from digital marketing vs. traditional marketing to cause a global effect. They use these Internet-based promotions to reach a scattered audience across many countries. Hence, they can expand their business beyond borders and get more customers everywhere. 
  3. Easily sharable: People can easily share social media posts, blog links, banner ads, and other digital marketing promotions. And sharability helps brands improve their image and visibility, allowing them to initiate conversations and intrigue their target audiences. 


  1. Digital ads annoy people: Unlike traditional marketing, digital promotions potentially annoy your prospects and customers. Imagine buying from your brand once, getting a thousand emails in the upcoming month, or watching your sponsored ads everywhere online. People might not always like getting product suggestions and messages saying, “You might like this.” Also, they might delete your emails and block you from their accounts to avoid your company’s posts. 
  2. Easily forgettable: The traditional vs. digital marketing strategies let you make an impact on people. But what if they forget about your ad two seconds after seeing it? It can negatively affect your advertising budget and demotivate you to continue with a campaign. Online ads are forgettable, primarily because of people’s decreasing attention spans! 
  3. Constantly evolving: Digital marketing sees constant changes and evolutions. Thus, you always need more information and training to do it right. These things can increase your expenses because you may need to invest in employee learning more often. Also, you may need help to beat your competition since almost every business uses the same online advertising tactics. 
  4. There is no guarantee that you will reach your audience: Many Internet users have activated ad blockers and other tools to avoid online ads. You can prefer online advertising in the traditional vs. digital marketing debate, but you cannot guarantee reach. Also, most prospects might scroll past your ads and website banners, leaving your efforts useless. 

Traditional Marketing Vs. Digital Marketing: Which Channel Wins?

You cannot have a single answer to which marketing channel is better: traditional marketing vs. digital marketing!

Both have many similarities like

  • They help you connect with your intended audience. 
  • They let you increase sales and revenue. 
  • They allow you to spread awareness and expand your network. 

But they also have many differences like

Traditional Marketing Digital Marketing
Definition It involves advertising your products and services through offline channels, like mail, newspapers, posters, and more.  It involves advertising your brand online using email, social media, PPC, content marketing, and SEO. 
Engagement Relatively high Medium
Nature Dynamic using automated tools like PostGrid Dynamic
ROI High Low to medium
Conversion Time Fast- using trackable features like QR codes, coupons, and pURLs. Medium to quick based on your CTAs. 
Effectiveness High (thanks to personalization) Low (credit goes to the increasing competition and digital fatigue)
Tracking Highly possible- using automation Highly possible
Reach Local, national, and global National and global- not suitable for local targeting
Distractions Low. People pay undivided attention to traditional ads.  High. People might scroll past ads and avoid emails. 

As discussed, online advertising must catch up in traditional marketing vs. digital marketing competitions!

But does it mean traditional marketing is better and you should only use it? 

Not exactly! 

It depends on your preferences, marketing goals, sales targets, audiences, budget, etc. Thus, you should make informed decisions based on these factors to put your efforts to the best use!

You don’t always need to choose between traditional and online advertising. The new industry trend calls for creating unique marketing mixes that best suit your company’s needs and bring you closer to your objectives.

Can Traditional and Digital Marketing Work Together?

Yes! You can ditch the traditional vs. digital marketing conversation and choose both!

But there is a place and time for these strategies. You can conduct multichannel campaigns or choose between the two methods for different reasons. 

For example, you can send emails to update your customers when an item they need is back in stock. But you must send direct mail postcards or letters to thank existing buyers for their support and make them feel special.

PostGrid’s direct mail API integrations help you incorporate mailing features into your CRM or website. Thus, you can launch successful cross-channel campaigns within your existing workflows hassle-free. 

Also, it helps you auto-fetch your customers’ details to personalize your mailers. Our variable data capabilities enable you to make your postcards or letters unique for every recipient.

Anyway, here are some ideas you can use to benefit from our features and combine your marketing channels

  • Direct mail + email: You can schedule an email marketing campaign for the same day your mailers arrive at your recipients’ doorsteps. It lets you choose between digital vs. traditional marketing conversions and get the best of both worlds. Your customers and prospects would be thrilled to see a postcard or letter envelope in their mailboxes with the same heading and image as their email. Also, it can motivate them to sign up for your emails and newsletters, which would be hard otherwise. 
  • Thank-you messages: You can thank your customers online via public social media posts whenever they share something related to your brand. Then, you can send them a discount coupon via direct mail for their next visit to your retail outlet, restaurant, or other stores. Online businesses can also use this strategy by sending coupons for the buyers’ upcoming purchases on their websites. It is an excellent way to combine offline and online advertising and spark interest among your audience. 
  • Direct mail + SEO: You can connect with people offline who search for the products you sell on Google. The API integrations simplify using SEO-related data on your customers and contacting them in real life with thoughtful mailers. It is the best way to end traditional marketing vs. digital marketing discussions.


Choosing between offline and online marketing is like deciding whether you need food or water. Of course, you need both to survive in this age!

Both have their pros and cons! Thus, it would help if you considered everything before making decisions. 

But we understand many people have reservations about using traditional marketing, primarily direct mail, as they think it is hectic. 

Rest assured—PostGrid’s direct mail API can allow you to conduct offline mailings conveniently, speedily, and affordably. Our 2-business day SLA ensures your mailers are ready and out the door without delays.

Also, our reputed print and delivery network (PDN) ensures your mailers are of high quality, helping you get more responses and conversions.

Though traditional direct mail marketing is more effective than online marketing, PostGrid enables you to use both via API integrations.

You can sign up now to learn more about traditional marketing vs. digital marketing and start with PostGrid!

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