What is the difference between online and traditional marketing?

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Online Marketing PlanOnline Marketing Plan BasicWhat is the difference between online and traditional marketing

What is the difference between online and traditional marketing?

To a large extent, online marketing is comparable to traditional marketing. Marketing goals need to be set, target groups selected, messages created, and campaigns evaluated. However, online marketing offers marketers some additional benefits:

  • From push to pull: Traditional media are mainly push media. They send (unsolicited) messages towards receivers. Online media allow users to pull information that they are really looking for, through searching online for example, from the web.
  • From bulk to mass individualization: Marketing messages can be customized easier, to a specific target groups and even individuals.
  • Measurability: Nearly everything online can be measured. For instance how often a marketing message is seen, how much clicks it received, and how many sales it realizes.
  • Cheaper?: Online media used to be cheaper than traditional media like television to reach the same marketing goals. However, as demand for online media increases, so are their costs. Still online media offer diverse ways in which one can pay for them, from fixed fees to commission-based (see also payment methods).
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  • Flexibility: Online media can often be applied faster and be stopped within seconds where traditional media have to be planned and include fixed contracts.
  • Interactive: It also allows users to directly respond to or even interact with customers (e.g. clicking on the banner, email link, interacting by Twitter or Facebook). The fact that a direct response is possible increases the conversion ratio of online media.

The benefits of online media are also impacting the way traditional media are sold. In the last few years TV channels have started offering TV ad space based on performance (e.g. the more a product is sold after a TV campaign, the more commission the TV channel receives).

As a result the way companies spend their marketing budget is changing rapidly as the graph below shows for the US market.


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