Is Traditional Marketing Dead? What's So Great About Digital Marketing?

Here's the thing. Everything's "connected" nowadays. Those who don't carry a smart phone or a tablet tend to do so in protest, having a negative opinion of the digitalization of everything. Some may not be able to afford a smart device but considering the way things are going, it seems like devices may be subsidized by governments around the world soon. You can't get anything done without the internet these days and most of us are using it more and more. This is one of the trends that drives the digitalization of media. 


Further, even if a consumer doesn't have a smart mobile device, he or she may have any number of "connected" electronic devices at home. Cable TV has been losing ground to streaming media players like Roku. Amazon has reached its tentacles into our homes by creating buttons that replenish your supplies with one touch. Radio comes in the form of Pandora and Spotify, which both stream music via the internet. All of these things have led to a revolution in marketing.


How Many Marketers Use Internet Marketing?


According to Statista, in 2014, half of all marketers thought search engine marketing was the most effective way to brand and generate demand. Social media ranked second in terms of perceived marketing effectiveness. Nearly everyone used Facebook to promote their business, and most use Twitter and Linkedin.1


Many leaders in the marketing industry believe the question is rarely "when should I move into digital?" anymore. Now it's always "when do we go 100% digital?" 


Which Traditional Channels Will Survive?


There are some pre-internet era advertising channels which are commonly used today. In recent years, nearly half of all marketers have found trade shows to be effective and three quarters planned to maintain or increase their spending on them. About 32 percent viewed TV ads favorably.1  


As you probably know, print newspapers and magazines have declined a great deal since media started migrating to the net.  However, there's an argument for advertising in free local newspapers such as "Metro." These newspapers, which are often handed to travelers in metro transportation hubs, have strong readership by a range of demographic groups.


What's So Great About Digital Marketing?


The fact that consumers are more "connected" isn't the only reason marketers have abandoned traditional marketing. Digital marketing has also given them a number of tools that the older channels couldn't offer.




Advertisers can decide to whom they want to show their ads and content much better than before. A traditional radio station has some data that gives the company an idea of the demographic groups that are listening. For example, they may know that most listeners are males in their twenties. Digital channels, though, can often ensure content is shown only to a specific group at a specific time, while they're on a specific device, even when they're in a specific location. Do you see the advantage?


Reporting and Tracking


While a business advertising on a traditional radio station or in a printed newspaper may be able to estimate the ROI of a campaign, digital channels often allow marketers to determine the ROI precisely. That's just one of the cool tricks digital allows. They can also determine the route users take, across the internet, before they reach a critical page such as a shopping cart. This provides insights that allow marketers to continuously optimize. 




Imagine you sell basketballs directly from your website. You use a software application like "Intercom." Using this software, you can automatically contact visitors and previous customers at key times. For example, you've gathered data that tells you nobody buys any basketballs after viewing three or more. So you automatically send a message to visitors when they've viewed two basketball already and are now viewing a third. The message, which appears right in the basketball's webpage, offers assistance from a representative at your company and a 20% discount. After a few weeks, your conversion rate has doubled! That's the power of automation.


What Does the Future Hold?


In the near future (by the end of 2019), about 46% of ad spending will go towards mobile ads, says Price Waterhouse Coopers. Advertising on laptops and desktops will continue to grow. The largest growth in advertising may turn out to be video ads. Video content in general is also growing. In fact, it's begun to replace text. Online advertising ad spend will surpass TV advertising in 2019, says PwC.2 


By 2019, it's safe to say the advantages we discussed in the previous section will continue to improve. Automation, targeting and reporting will be more useful than ever. New technologies will change the way we shop, too.


Soon, virtual reality will introduce consumers to products. It will become the best way to engage consumers and help them connect to the product, much like "test driving" in the auto industry.  Ephemeral marketing, which essentially condenses the time a person needs to dedicate to an ad or video, will become the format of choice for many consumers (think "Snapchat"). Perhaps the most impressive development will be artificial intelligence. Soon you won't have to search for the perfect pair of shoes by typing. You'll talk to a virtual representative of the brand you're shopping, who will make a recommendation based on your wants and needs. It's going to get interesting, folks.


Interested in getting started with or expanding your own digital marketing initiatives? isoTree can help with that. Click here to learn more about what we do.




  1. "What do you consider to be the most effective ways to brand and generate demand in your market?" accessed June 3, 2016. Statista. (link)

  2. "US Online and Traditional Media Advertising Outlook, 2015-2019" June 16, 2015. Marketing Charts (link)

Maxim Kurapatkin