What is Traditional Marketing, and Should I still Use It?

Big Hit Creative Group

You might have heard people throwing around the phrase “traditional marketing still works,” and you might be unsure if you should try it.

In this article, we will examine this topic and try to answer all the below questions:

— What is traditional marketing?  

— How do brands benefit from using it?

— What are the pros and cons of using traditional marketing?

— And most importantly — should you use traditional marketing?

But before we dive into any of the questions mentioned above, first things first: are you ready to market your business?

You are ready to market your business if you have the following:

● Your company already has a name.

● You have decided on what product or service to offer.

● You know who is your target market.

● You have set realistic marketing goals.

● You have allocated a budget to market your brand.

What is Traditional Marketing?

The simplest way of defining traditional marketing is: Traditional marketing is any type of marketing that isn’t digital. It could be anything from TV commercials, magazine ads, billboards, radio commercials, public relations, sponsorships, brochures, even direct mail. 

Think of popular TV ads by giants such as Coca-Cola, Proctor and Gamble, L’Oréal, and Nestlé. What do they have in common? They can raise interest.

For decades, conventional marketing has been at the forefront of generating real excitement better than any other marketing discipline — that has not changed a bit. However, it is essential to note that conventional marketing has been disrupted by technological advances, just like any other industry. 

Marketing channels

1. Broadcasting — This includes TV commercials and radio ads.

2. Outdoor marketing — Billboards, signage advertising, and car wrap

3. Print advertising — newspaper advertising, magazine advertising, pamphlets, etc.

4. Window display — tend to be used mainly by retail shops.  

5. Telemarketing — This includes anything from phone calls to short messages.  

6. Direct mail — this includes catalogs, flyers, postcards that are sent directly to homeowners.

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What are the pros and cons of using traditional marketing?

Traditional marketing has its strengths and weaknesses; hence it’s always advisable to weigh them thoroughly before adopting the conventional way of promoting your brand.


Let’s look at each.


1. Traditional marketing is easy to notice: 

If there is one strength worth mentioning about using traditional marketing is that it is hard to ignore. People are likely to notice impactful billboards such as “Chalkboard Menu” by DDB Warsaw for McDonald’s. Or popular TV ads like the 2020 Super Bowl Commercial, “The Heist” for Porsche. Another great example is the “You Can’t Stop Us” for Nike.  

2. Traditional marketing is not susceptible to cybercrime:

Another good thing about most traditional marketing methods is that they don’t expose users to cyber threats. Everything is done offline and can be displayed for everyone to see, making it easy for companies to have 100% control of their brands.

Policing cybercrime has become quite a headache to law enforcement agencies, as criminals use anything to lure unsuspecting users, including digital ads too. For instance, they may use links infected with viruses to steal your banking details.  

3. Traditional marketing has a personal touch:

Another great thing about using traditional marketing is that it’s easy to engage prospects personally. For instance, when using direct mails, you can address each recipient by his name. Over and above that, it’s easy to target a specific audience with your advertising.  

For example, when you place an advertisement with Forbes Women, you will target career-oriented women who are interested in business and who can afford premium products.  

The same goes for TV that allows you to cater to a specific audience that watches a particular show at a specific time slot.  


1. Traditional marketing is expensive:

One of the drawbacks of using traditional marketing is that it costs a fortune. It may cost you millions of dollars to produce and place a 60 seconds TV ad, for starters. Or, thousands of dollars to put a double-spread ad with Forbes magazine, perhaps $500 for stationery to send out direct mail.  

2. Traditional marketing is difficult to measure:

Measuring the success of each campaign is nearly impossible. Most marketers look at lead conversion when measuring the success of their traditional marketing campaign.

Here is why:

You can’t tell how many people have purchased your product after listening to a radio commercial. Executives typically rely on statistics such as the number of viewers each TV show has or ex number of magazine subscribers, which all don’t give a clear picture of the customer journey.

3. Traditional marketing requires more workforce than digital marketing: 

Another disadvantage to using traditional marketing is that it generally requires more people. For example, when creating an ad for New York Times, this could be a process you may have to follow:

First and foremost, you need to hire a professional photographer to take high-resolution pictures for your brand, as well as a makeup artist, and a professional model.

Next up, find a good copywriter to write the copy for your ad. A designer will design the ad and send it back to an editor. An editor will edit the content so that the ad is impactful. The newspaper will only print once your ad has gone through all those steps. Then, they will hire a distribution company to deliver the newspaper to stores, bookshops, newspaper stands, households, etc.

Only when you do all the above will prospects, get to see your ad. 

4. Traditional marketing doesn’t allow you to sub-segment your target market:

Most conventional marketing channels do not allow you to sub-segment 100% accurately as digital marketing does. The only minimum level of segmenting you can hope for is direct mail, which is not as accurate as Google Ads or Facebook.  

5. Traditional marketing doesn’t allow you to retarget:

Unlike online marketing that allows you to retarget people who have stopped by your website, traditional marketing doesn’t let you do that. In addition, you can’t target your prospects with customized content.  

Should You Use Traditional Marketing? 

Think about this:

Traditional marketing has been around for many years and will continue to play a massive role in promoting brands. Giants such as Apple, Coca-cola, and Amazon invest millions of dollars in TV ads as they have a unique way of engaging audiences. Other brands also do product placements in popular movies or even sponsor sports events and expose their brands to millions of fans.


Traditional marketing is not as beneficial to startups like it is for well-established brands with millions of budgets to burn. One of the reasons why marketing strategies like using TV Ads or placing ads in a magazine is not practical to small businesses is because promoting an unknown brand can be costly.  

Besides, it is unlikely that a startup brand can be elevated by simply placing one TV Ad. On the other hand, online marketing has leveled up the playing field for small businesses and allowed startups to compete with major brands on an equal footing without even spending millions. Business owners can use content marketing to teach their target market and build brand trust without breaking the bank. Furthermore, they can measure, monitor, and improve on their online strategy as their brand grows.

So, before you decide whether you should use traditional marketing, consider the following stats:

● There is an estimated total of 30.8 million people who still read newspapers.

● There are 120.6 million TV homes in the United States alone.  

● More than 71.2 million adults between the ages of 18-34 listen to the radio.

● Traditional Marketing has increase 5.1% between June 2020 and February 2021. 

Whatever marketing method you use should guide prospects toward solving their problem and make your brand stand out, which is much easier said than done. If you need some tips on launching a successful marketing campaign, Big Hit Creative is always here for you. We will help you develop a winning strategy that will elevate your brand to greater heights. Find out how by reaching out to us here.

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