When we think of traditional marketing methods or advertising we think immediately of ads in the press (both local and national), page space in a variety of publications, maybe radio air-time or even TV coverage. And, naturally, as business people with budgets to consider, we think of the costs of such ventures; the truth is that none of the aforementioned forms of promotion can be had cheaply although they are, or were, considered some of the most effective forms of marketing.
When companies ask about the differences between Internet and traditional marketing it's actually easier to highlight the similarities that the two methods bear. Take, for example, press coverage or promotional articles in local or national papers or other suitable publications. The Internet can offer your company a vast range of online publications and even newspaper style web journals in which your ad or information about your business can appear.
So what's the difference between that and the more traditional methods? With traditional print coverage the exposure your company will get is very often fleeting. It’s a here today, gone tomorrow situation. Yesterday's news is just that, yesterday's news. The newspaper that your costly business ad appeared in is destined to be thrown into the recycling bin the next day. And that magazine you paid a high price for coverage in has a short life too; its sell by date is up after a week, a month, or a bi-monthly period at best. Your online coverage, once there, is there for as near as you can get to forever, archived and ready to be found on searches whenever a prospective client looks for it. The Internet is open 24/7. And it offers trackable marketing too. Most businesses who have embraced a heavy traditional marketing campaign in the past will know that keeping track of where initial contacts come from is not an easy task. Of course you can always enquire as to how a new client heard about your company, but that’s time consuming and, let's be honest here, you or those who work for you mightn't always remember to do so. In short, it's an unreliable tracing system. Online marketing makes tracking easy. You can keep tabs on where your visitors come from, store relevant information about their spending, their behaviors, and their demographics. All of this better enables your company to make the most of Internet marketing as you are afforded an easy way to learn more about your existing and potential clients. More importantly, you'll very quickly get a clear picture of what works for your company online.
What about traditional radio coverage, how does Internet marketing stack up against that? There's no doubt that radio air time is a high impact form of marketing, but again, it can be seen as fleeting. With the ever-increasing popularity of different media forms being used on the Internet, audio files and Podcasts represent the cyber equivalent of radio promotions. The same goes for TV marketing; though this really is the big one, and the most expensive. The Internet equivalent – video files. When we think of the popularity of a site like YouTube it's easy to see how promotional videos have the potential to lure vast audiences worldwide. You have only to take a look at the most played items on a site like this to see how many hits a given favorite receives. The popularity of media files perhaps exemplifies the power that the Internet has to reach a global audience. And, if you are in business, that means a worldwide potential client bank that is so huge that no traditional marketing campaign could ever hope to reach it without excessive and probably unrealistic expenditure.
The differences between Internet and traditional marketing? Very few in terms of what is on offer. Both hold prime positions. But times are changing and your prospective clients are far more likely to 'Google' their needs as a first port of call than go anywhere else for information. And it behooves the switched on business person to go where the people go. The differences between traditional methods and Internet marketing really lie in effectuality, ease and cost. The costs are certainly lower with the former and the effects of online promotions are more far-reaching and have a higher impact. Testimony to the fact, perhaps, that we are living in new and exciting times. And this is very strongly indicated by the ways that online social media marketing enables businesses to commune with tens of thousands of people, whereas the traditional method of actually meeting people in person at corporate events or expos might result in contacts that would struggle to make the 100 mark. In effect the Internet offers all that traditional marketing does, but on a wider scale, for a longer term and at a significantly reduced cost.