Kris Ruby digital marketing vs traditional marketing cheddar tv

Traditional Marketing Vs. Digital Marketing



Kris Ruby, CEO of Ruby Media Group, joined Cheddar TV to discuss how advertisers can effectively combine traditional and digital marketing methods.

These are the Traditional Marketing Strategies That Won’t Die in the Digital Age

Topics covered in this segment:

  • Is traditional marketing still relevant?
  • Can digital marketing replace traditional marketing?

What is traditional marketing?

Traditional marketing is the use of traditional media vehicles to reach your target audience.

A traditional marketing strategy relies on conventional media vehicles including:

  • Radio
  • Television
  • Magazines
  • Brochures
  • Advertising
  • Billboards

Traditional forms of advertising were calculated by volume and audience.

For example, if you were placing paid media buys through traditional marketing channels, you would ask the following questions:

  • Newspaper. What is the newspaper’s readership? How many people will be exposed to my message?
  • Radio. How many listeners will hear my message?
  • TV. How large is the viewership for the TV network?

When evaluating a traditional or digital marketing strategy, you want to consider:

  • The cost of customer acquisition
  • The lifetime value of the client (or lead)

Digital marketing vs. traditional marketing

What is the difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing?

The main difference between digital marketing and traditional advertising is customization and targeting.

Traditional marketing = wide net.

Digital marketing = highly targeted net.

People purchased traditional advertising largely based on national reach vs reaching the right people in their target audience through highly targeted digital advertising.

Advantages of Traditional Marketing

What are the advantages of traditional marketing over digital marketing?

Traditional marketing is a great choice if you want to cast a wide net and reach as many people as possible on a national scale. One of the main disadvantages of digital marketing today is the rise of ad blockers, which can hurt how many people are being exposed to your marketing messages.  Today, more than 600 million devices are using ad blockers.

Many of the clicks you are paying for in a digital advertising campaign can be fraudulent. For example, the high click-through rates and traffic you believe you are generating (and paying for!) may not be what you think it is.

You are paying for one thing that isn’t necessarily what is being delivered.

So, if you are spending money on digital advertising, the cost per click you are paying can be dramatically different if you are reaching a bunch of bots and ad blockers. Plus, if less than half of all online ads are viewable because of ad blockers, you have a problem.

This is one area where traditional marketing will remain supreme and has a major advantage over digital marketing.

Bob Hoffman, author of “BadMen: How Advertising Went From A Minor Annoyance To A Major Menace” said, “According to the World Federation of Advertisers, within 8 years ad fraud may become the second-largest source of criminal income in the world, after drug trafficking.”

Why is traditional media still important in advertising?

Has the rise of influencers (especially news influencers/commentators) hurt local news organizations with increased competition in coverage and advertising?

Kris Ruby digital marketing vs traditional marketing cheddar tv

Why would a brand pay the quote in a smaller news organizations media kit when there are influencers who will work for less or have larger followings?

The rise of influencer marketing has hurt local news organizations on a hyper-local level. Consumers are always excited about the latest shiny thing when it comes to marketing trends, regardless of whether it is the right strategic approach for their business.

That being said, a brand should still consider paying the advertising quote in a local news outlets media kit even if there are influencers who will work for less.


Because many of these influencers who tout large followings may not even have real followers. You can read more about the Instagram black market and trend of buying and selling Instagram accounts

As marketers, it is important to look at how many of those followers are actually real. Plus, you have to look at if the followers are relevant to your business.

The best local marketing plan is one that is a strategic and comprehensive integrated marketing communications plan. That would include paid media (ads), Influencer marketing, social media marketing, public relations, content marketing, and digital advertising.

Influencer marketing cannot replace the value of traditional advertising.

For example, if your target demo is men 65 plus and they aren’t active on Instagram, it doesn’t matter how many followers an influencer has or how much cheaper their rates are in a media kit.

The local print outlet will most likely be a better match to meet your target demo.

Pro Tip: The media vehicle has to match the target demo and what their media preferences are.

How can digital and traditional marketing work together for your brand?

Traditional and digital marketing can complement each other in a strategic integrated marketing communications plan.

Both can be used to pursue similar outcomes of:

  • Engagement
  • Brand awareness
  • Brand preference

In a digitally-dominated world, why do you think some traditional marketing techniques still hold value and relevance?

It’s not as much of a digital-dominated world as you think. Not everyone is a digital native and for some parts of the marketing puzzle, traditional marketing channels pull a stronger ROI and reach a better audience.

The power of digital marketing is the power to go very narrow — targeting with a level of sophistication we’ve never had before until now.

But marketers don’t always want to go narrow.

Sometimes, they want to reach a much broader audience. And, if that is what you are looking for, traditional media may still be a better vehicle to achieve that outcome.

What are some ways advertisers have combined traditional methods with a progressive approach that includes digital PR/marketing?

  • Sponsored Content, Event Marketing, Access to big data
digital marketing vs traditional marketing

Marketers use traditional media for brand awareness and leverage digital platforms to drive purchases as the moment of decision making.

Conversely, there are thousands of examples where customers first find out about a product online and then make their purchase decision based on subsequently seeing traditional advertising or PR.  This is why it is important to not overly rely on one type of marketing channel. Ideally, you want to be doing a combination of different marketing vehicles.

How have traditional media outlets and publications figured out ways to reach new markets and consumers?

The most important question is not how traditional publications can reach new markets but, instead, if they can make it profitable.

The main problem with the publishing industry is that it existed on lightly targeted advertising, and now marketers want more narrow targeting.

A full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal can cost a quarter of a million dollars for one ad.

Or you could spend a tenth of that and carefully reach only those people who were actually potential buyers of your product or service. It’s a no-brainer.

In some ways, big print ads are becoming what PR used to be — a signaling device that tells people a company is established and legitimate.

What are some of the trends you’re seeing in Out of Home advertising that are helping brands extend their reach?

Even in out-of-home (OOH) advertising, digital advertising has changed the game. For example, there are digital billboards near the Las Vegas airport that tens of millions of people see a year.  You have to drive past them as you leave the airport and they’re very popular with consumer brands and companies that advertise during conventions.

In the old days of marketing, buying that billboard for a month or a week would have cost a small company a fortune – it would have been totally out of reach.

But now?

What if you knew your biggest potential customers were all flying in the night before a trade show, and you could buy an hour on that billboard?

What if you had one big prospect you wanted to target and only needed that billboard for 15 minutes or less?

With digital advertising, the owners of ad platforms can accommodate marketing asks like that.

It’s not that it’s more affordable on a per-impression basis, but that it’s affordable because you no longer always have to buy a whole billboard for a month or more.

So, the difference is not only the cost but the frequency and volume of the media you are buying as well. You now have the option to purchase large-scale OOH media for a fraction of what it once cost if you purchase it for a shorter period of time.


What are the top B2B Marketing trends to expect in 2022?

    • Digital acceleration and transformation
    • Artificial Intelligence in B2B Marketing
    • Crypto Marketing
    • B2B Marketing Software (increased spend)
    • Meetings will be held in the Metaverse
    • Rise of decentralized marketing tools
    • Cybersecurity accreditation & certification
    • Increased usage and adoption of encryption in communication platforms

Is the age of mass media over?

The age of mass media is not over; it is just evolving.

As we have seen with the explosion of the podcast industry, it is becoming more of a niche digital marketing landscape. I expect to see this trend continue.

PR tactics will change depending on generational media consumption preferences. Before you can place media for a brand, you must understand who the target market is and what the media preferences are within that demographic.

For example, if you are a brand that is targeting baby boomers, traditional marketing and PR would be a good approach to reach this demo because this target audience watches TV.

However, if you want to reach millennials, TV may not be the right approach because the majority of these consumers get their news today from social media and digital channels.

The key is to ask the following marketing questions:

  1. What media matters most to your target demo?
  2. How do they consume media?
  3. What are their media consumption preferences?

Create a media strategy accordingly and determine if traditional media is a more effective vehicle than digital marketing to reach this demo.

How Business Transformation Will Affect B2B Marketing

Marketing performance will play a critical role during digital transformation. Senior management will increasingly look to agencies to redefine the value of marketing to the organization.


We recently wrote an article on the top B2B marketing mistakes, so we wanted to balance that out with some traditional and digital marketing wins over the past year.

Below please find Ruby Media Group’s top Marketing & PR wins in 2021 and key lessons learned.

Brand collaborations: Partnering with other B2B brands has been a critical part of our public relations and growth marketing strategy. The average value of brand collaborations Ruby Media Group participated in last year led to an enterprise contract. This emanated from B2B webinar guesting and the collaboration resulted in our company earning a speaking opportunity, referrals, and community growth in a new sector and vertical. High impact co-marketing campaigns led to significant growth for our agency.

Content repurposing: Creating a joint brand experience is only one part of the puzzle- the next is how to optimize it and amplify it through earned media and content marketing. A one-off webinar that does not live anywhere else online (owned media) will not lead to much. The art of repurposing and what you choose to do with the co-created content is what leads to new revenue opportunities for your business. 

Content optimization: We significantly increased monthly traffic by optimizing old content. Pruning content and updating it with content optimization strategies and tools led to a significant increase in new organic traffic. Timestamping our content to Blockchain also led to increased transparency and trust with our C-suite audience.

Earned media: Thought leadership PR, content marketing, and organic media opportunities take time to come to fruition. I practice what I preach as a public relations and business growth strategist. Ruby Media Group was largely built from leveraging inbound organic PR opportunities and earned media coverage over the past decade. Being behind the camera as well as in front of it gives us a competitive advantage. Personal branding is not something we tout as a tagline; we actively live it daily. This keeps us in the game and forces us to do the same level of work that we expect of clients- helping us to understand their frustrations with tight media deadlines. It has made us more empathetic to the entire client experience.

Virtual social media networking: Our social media following grew substantially over the past year. As an early adopter of social audio platforms, RMG’s accounts saw substantial growth as a result of the time invested in creating organic content and experiences for our audience. This also resulted in new business relationships and partner opportunities. While we don’t measure success in new followers, we do measure success in tangible wins and outcomes that come from new business relationships.

YoY growth: Last year was one of our best years to date. We have grown and are now servicing enterprise SaaS clients with PR, crisis communications, social audio, and content strategy.

Ad spend reallocation: Over the past 12 months, we significantly cut traditional marketing budgets for paid print ads and reinvested in AI tools and paid communities. On Black Friday, our marketing strategy shifted from buying more SaaS tools to investing in paid communities we wanted to support. Allocating a marketing budget to the most effective platforms to reach your desired target audience is not a one-time endeavor. It is an ongoing activity that continuously needs to be refined based on performance metrics and KPIs.

Customer acquisition costs: The highest customer acquisition cost is your time. We all know that sales cost time- from replying to RFPs to endless sales calls to close a new contract. But what is often not discussed is the sheer amount of time spent acquiring new clients through marketing and PR tactics. Webinars, PR appearances, guest posts, podcasts- all of it costs time. This time must be built into your total customer acquisition cost in addition to any outside spend for an agency. If you are not factoring in the cost of your own time to do the appearances that are garnered, you will not be accurately calculating the adequate investment for marketing and PR.


5 actionable traditional marketing ideas to try 

Still not sure if you want to use traditional marketing or digital marketing tactics to increase exposure?

Increase sales for your business today using both traditional and digital marketing strategies to drive awareness.

    1. Traditional Marketing Idea: Publish an op-ed in a newspaper.
    2. Digital Marketing/ PR Idea: Write a guest article on a trade industry website.
    1. Traditional Marketing Idea: Send out an e-mail newsletter.
    2. Digital Marketing Idea: Add lead magnets to your blog posts to increase conversion rates.
    1. Traditional Marketing Idea: Publish a book and become a bestselling author.
    2. Digital Marketing Idea: Create an e-book or self-publish a book on Amazon.
    1. Traditional Marketing Idea: Buy an ad on a local radio station that is popular with your target audience.
    2. Digital Marketing Idea: Launch a podcast. Who do you want referrals from? Interview those people on your show.
    1. Traditional Marketing Idea: Sponsor a booth at a tradeshow.
    2. Digital Marketing Idea: Become a digital sponsor of a digital summit.


When you are devising a digital marketing or PR plan, make sure you have covered the key customer acquisition channels.

Consumers discover new products and services to buy through many channels including:

  • Search engines
  • Referrals/word of mouth
  • Direct Marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Public Relations/ Media (TV, Radio, Podcast, Magazines, Newspapers)
  • Paid Advertising/ Marketing

While traditional marketing is a useful channel, public relations gives you a quantifiable competitive advantage. You can buy Google ads or direct marketing in local newspapers, but with PR, the editorial space is earned, not bought. That is why the public has greater trust in earned media from trusted media outlets than they do when they see a paid advertisement. It is always better to have someone else say you are great than for you to say you are great!

advertising vs PR quote



If you have explored traditional marketing channels but need help with public relations, give us a call! Contact us today for a consultation.


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