Traditional Vs. Online Marketing

Traditional Vs. Online Marketing

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Online marketing appears to have eclipsed traditional methods of marketing but which is better? Is one more effective than the other? We take a look and the pros and cons of each marketing method.

Marketing and promotion is something every business must do to stay ahead of their competitors. Traditional marketing – also referred to as offline marketing – are those methods that we are all familiar with: the flyers, posters, leaflets and business cards to name just four.

The digital revolution has altered the face of marketing. Online marketing is the go-to marketing technique with brands utilising social sharing sites, websites and the like to engage and reach customers, fans and followers.

Online marketing may have eclipsed more traditional methods, but offline marketing is not dead and buried just yet. There are those marketing experts who believe that one cannot survive without the others.

But what are pros and cons of each?

Traditional Marketing

From loyalty card schemes to handing out business cards at an event, many brands, large and small, still give over a portion of their marketing budget to traditional marketing tools and activities.


  • Depending on the approach you use, traditional marketing can bring about the personal approach that can convert would-be customers into buying customers. In other words, tailor your traditional marketing approach to hit the right people, and its success can know no bounds.
  • The tangibility of traditional marketing tools is something that many of us favour. The leaflet in the hand to ‘read at a later date’, or the business card pinned to the noticeboard are just two examples of how having something to take away can make a difference.
  • Traditional marketing is a great way of hitting all customer demographics but especially the older generation who not be savvy with social media and the online world.
  • There is evidence to suggest that traditional marketing methods are often the springboard from which customers make the leap to explore your business further. An advert or a flyer can connect your customer to your online world.


  • Traditional marketing methods can be tough to measureMarketing courses online will examine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and return on investment (ROI) as being key in deciding how well a marketing campaign is working. But if you can’t measure the impact of offline marketing, you won’t know how successful or not it is.
  • It can be expensive – some printed materials can be expensive. There are other costs too: design and distribution for example.

Online Marketing

Online marketing is often a brand’s first thought when trying to reach existing and new customers. Although it is expected of a company to reach online, there are pros and cons to this approach.


  • Can be the lower cost option, especially if managed correctly. As well as organic growth online – that is, when people naturally come across you – there is also pay-per-click – that is, when online users click on an advert. Both have their place in an online marketing strategy.
  • A brand can reach their customer demographic directly, an effective means of engaging with the right people.
  • Engagement rates can be a lot higher, which is what online marketing is all about. It isn’t just about advertising with calls to action.
  • Publish what you want, when you want (providing it’s accurate and honest). Printed advertising is governed by strict rules about what can and can’t be said.


  • Banner blindness – is when customers online become so familiar to your adverts popping up every time they go on the web, they stop seeing them or registering what is being offered to them. In fact, some adverts online are so annoying that people now use adblockers to be rid of the nuisance.
  • Amateur approaches – unfortunately, everyone thinks that because they use Facebook, they are experts in online social media management. It needs to be done professionally to make serious inroads for a business.
  • The web is a crowded place – and so standing out online can be very tough.
  • Automated responses – on one hand, we are all connected 24/7 and yet, should your brand employ automated responses online it can be glaringly obvious. Clearly, sending a tweet to your support team at 2 am may not yield a personal answer but people do expect a personal response at 2 pm. This means you need people to staff your online campaigns.

What this does mean is that anyone seeking a career in marketing is faced with a treasure-trove of opportunities. Is the marketing world attracting you?

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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