Business 5/5/2022,
5 mins

Traditional Marketing Vs Digital Marketing: Three Easy Switches to Digital

Japan's Shibuya Crossing, filled with people

In 2022, there are many different ways that you can spend your company budget to reach as many people as possible. Advertising space is available almost everywhere you look, whether online or out in the physical world, and this can make it nigh-on impossible for a business to know what to do for the best when they have a budget to spend, and need to make a return on that investment.  

All of these different outlets reach different people, and they all come with their own benefits, so which is best? In our humble opinion, Digital marketing has far many more benefits than Traditional marketing, but which one is best for your business will really depend on your business and what you want to achieve. This article is intended to break down what marketing opportunities there are out there, and why there is a digital alternative to all traditional methods.  

What is Traditional Marketing? 

Traditional marketing is the form of advertising that is not done using online methods. It could be TV or commercial radio advertising, newspaper and magazine advertising, billboards or other roadside signs, sports sponsorship, direct mailing such as leaflets and brochures, or cold-calling telemarketing. It is a time-tested form of promotion for brands and businesses, and it undoubtedly has its place in the pyramid of advertising.  

Football stadium in Frankfurt

Did you know? 

The first recorded English language form of printed advertising is from the late 15th Century, when printer William Caxton promoted a copy of his edition a priest’s manual. It was a text-only ad that ran over six lines.  


The oldest printed advertisement by William Caxton

What is Digital Marketing? 

Digital marketing is the form of promoting your brand or business using online avenues. This could be via email marketing, social media ads, search engine paid ads, search engine optimisation or the use of influential online personalities to promote your goods or services. The Digital Marketing landscape changes year on year, with the development of new levels of software, as well as changes by big tech firms such as Google, Microsoft, and Meta (AKA Facebook), and the changes of society and culture that are driven by consumers themselves. Due to this ever-changing factor, working digital marketing can be hard work, but it can also be very exciting and ultimately rewarding.  

In the information age we live in, it is absolutely imperative that a business has some form of digital presence, whether that’s through a basic website or a social media profile. Consumers demand visibility of the brands they work with, and even better, connectivity with them.  

Traditional Marketing Vs Digital Marketing 

Rather than go into the benefits of both in general, we have chosen three of the most prominent methods of traditional marketing, and we have put them up against three methods of digital marketing that could easily be a much lower costing, and more effective alternative. Let’s see how they fare.  

Digital Brochure
Old-style TV

TV Advertising 

There are hundreds of TV channels available, depending on the service that the consumer uses (for example, FreeView or Sky TV), and with the exception of BBC-funded channels, they all have advertising space available on them. This massive field of opportunity does mean that advertising space can be quite cheap. When we were solely running the marketing for Gala Tent, we were quoted as little as £25 per 30 second slot for an ad to run at breakfast time on UKTV Gold, during programmes as popular as Only Fools and Horses. Seems like an absolute bargain, right? Maybe, maybe not.  

TV advertising is sold on a sliding scale of expected viewers of the programmes at a certain time, so whilst £25 seems like the kind of punt you might want get on board with, consider that advertising at prime time when The Masked Singer is on, you can expect to pay around £45,000 for a single slot, to get your ad in front of around 6m people. This is a very mainstream audience, so the chances of securing at least some web traffic and subsequent orders will be good, if you supply an essential item used by a mainstream consumer. If you supply a niche product or service, your chances grow slimmer.

£25 is a relatively small amount for the UKTV Gold slot at breakfast, but the audience will be just as small, and the audience is less mainstream.

Your product will likely be alongside ads for life insurance and products for parents and pets, so if this is your market, who are we to argue that it's not a great idea? It is, and you should at least give it a go.

Finally, if you're seriously considering TV ads, then we recommend that you work with a professional outfit (such as GEM), as there are strict regulations and technical requirements for getting an ad cleared for air.

What is an alternative to TV advertising? 

One alternative would be Influencer Marketing. We can guarantee that if you have as much as £25,000 to spend on digital marketing and you can become savvy with it, you will find a much more responsive audience that is looking for what you’re selling, particularly if you can find a good micro-influencer. Micro-influencers are an online personality with between 10,000 and 50,000 followers, who use their platform to speak about particular subjects, products and industries. The people that follow them do so because they are invested in what they have to say.  

Be assured, you will not need to spend £25,000 to reach their audiences. It may be something as simple as a free product in exchange for an honest review, or a much smaller financial outlay.


Vector image of call centre employee

Cold-Call Telemarketing 

Seen by some as an out-dated form of communicating with prospective customers, cold-calling is something that should be reserved only for Business-to-Business (B2B) prospecting, so that you don’t fall foul of GDRP regulations.  

It is a relatively low-cost form of marketing, but equally it can be time-consuming to build a list of potential clients, and also disheartening when your prospect is sitting behind a gatekeeper in the form of a receptionist, secretary or assistance, who can effectively reject your advances.  

Did you know? 

Conversion rates for cold calls are around 2%, meaning you may need to make calls to 50 prospects before securing a meaningful conversation.  

Source: Charlie Cook 

What is an alternative to cold-call telemarketing? 

The key alternative to cold-call telemarketing is developing a personalised email marketing strategy. An email reaching out to a prospective client will give you the opportunity to say what you need to say to pique their interest, and give them an opportunity to absorb what you’re saying to them in their own time. Avoid a Spray and Pray marketing strategy.  

What is a Spray and Pray marketing strategy? 

This is the act of writing a single message and sending that identical message to multiple non-subscribed recipients, and then praying for a response from any of them. The click-through rate for this approach is around 1%.  

Take the time to make sure you’re focused on delivering a personalised experience that effectively highlights and solves your prospect’s potential problems, and you’ll find that you are much better received, and will see not only a much better click rate on your emails, but you will receive much better response rates too.



Japan's Shibuya Crossing, filled with people

Billboard and Sign Advertising 

Also known as Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising, static, transportable and digital billboards are a massive business, and a big opportunity to reach thousands of eyes. They aren’t too expensive either, with the average price being between £200 and £500 for a two-week period, depending on the size of the board and the location it’s in. Considering the number of eyes that can potentially reach it, we’re not going to argue that this doesn’t represent a large potential opportunity for businesses, as it clearly does.  

However, this is an article highlighting great alternatives to classic methods, so let’s highlight what a billboard or other OOH advertising cannot do. How do you track the success of the advertisement? There may be an upturn in business that coincides with your advertisement, or you may ask each customer that buys from you where they heard about you (which you should do as a standard, so that you can focus on marketing more where it works, and smarter where it doesn’t currently work as well), but otherwise there are no real trackable results.  

OOH marketing also requires that the people who see your advertisements are the people who you want to see them. You can target a location, and you can even target a location at a certain time when a certain type of customer might be there (for example, if you supply products and services to students, you might rent a billboard close to a university during Fresher’s Week).  

What’s the alternative to Out-of-Home Advertising? 

We’d say the strongest alternative to OOH marketing is social media marketing, given that you are able to target specific demographics and place your ads on their timelines, much in the same way that a billboard would do.  


Did you know? 

People spend an average of 2 hours 27 minutes on social media every day.  


Have you ever had a conversation with a friend about a certain subject, then you find ads for those kinds of products all over your Facebook or Twitter feed? Or you visit a certain website and then see ads for that website? For relatively small amounts of outlay and with certain expertise, you are able to perform this same trick for your business or brand. With the amount of time people spend on social media, it makes commercial sense to focus your efforts on finding the people who are more likely to purchase your goods or services in the place they spend a lot of their time.  

Added to the targeting of people who are likely to want what you offer, you are also able to track exactly how much return on your investment you receive. This kind of data then enables you to understand what does and does not work, so that you can focus on making improvements where needed, or simply trying something else. Digital marketing is a lot of trial and error, but once you find what works for you, the sky is the limit. 


Digital devices including a laptop, tableyt and smartphone
Digital Brochure

How can GEM help you to make the switch to digital marketing?

We 100% understand that all forms of marketing and advertising have their place in any business's strategies, but one of the key benefits to using digital is that the effects can easily be tracked, analysed and used to refine your future strategies, therefore saving you wasted cash and time.

Since we came together as a team, GEM has saved our client Gala Tent close to £500,000 in marketing spend, by using smart strategies which combine platforms and digital marketing disciplines, website optimisation and analytics to find successes quickly, whilst reacting to non-performing strategies to ensure minimal wasted spend.

Which services does GEM offer?

We are built from an understanding that all industries are completely different, and customers react in different ways in different places, so we would always work with our clients to understand their objectives and industries, including the jargon used by their ideal buyers, and we can offer:

* Digital Marketing Consultancy

* Search Engine Optimisation

* Search & Social Media Paid Advertising

* Content Marketing

* Email Marketing

* Branding and Design Services

* Web Design

* Video Production

We offer a Digital Healthcheck, where we will complete an unbiased audit of your website, online discoverability and social media profiles, to find easy wins and areas for improvement that you can work on for yourself, or enlist us to do the work for you at reasonable rates. Simply give us a call on 01709 911663 or complete the enquiry form and we'll be back in touch to discuss what you're needing. We work on a per-project or monthly basis on exactly what you're needing, and are happy to negotiate to ensure our work keeps you within your budgets.