Kris Ruby digital marketing vs traditional marketing cheddar tv

Traditional Marketing Vs. Digital Marketing

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It’s no secret that the marketing landscape drastically changed in recent years.

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

The Internet and rise of social media marketing has disrupted the effectiveness of traditional marketing and advertising in a significant way.

The rise of digital marketing has led many Executives to believe that traditional marketing is no longer relevant. However, that is not the case. While digital marketing is the preferred channel, traditional marketing is still a good fit if you are trying to reach a specific audience that heavily relies on traditional forms of media and communication channels.

In this article, we will evaluate the core differences between digital and traditional marketing. We will also give you tips on how to create a successful marketing strategy, regardless of which route you choose to promote your business.

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

Topics covered in the 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 are 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?

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is the use of social media channels and Internet marketing to reach your target audience through online promotion.

A digital marketing strategy relies on new media methods including:

  • Google
  • Digital Media
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Digital Advertising

Digital advertising is calculated by measuring click through rates, impressions, and inbound traffic.

New forms of digital marketing such as generative AI can help you create content and advertising messages that are hyper relevant to consumers in real-time.

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

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

Executives need to implement a digital marketing strategy if they want their business to remain competitive in a hyper saturated digital landscape.

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.

Media buyers purchase traditional advertising based on the promise of 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.

What are the disadvantages of digital marketing?

One of the main disadvantages of digital marketing is the rise of ad blockers, which can hurt how many people are being exposed to your marketing message.

Today, more than 7500 million devices are using ad blockers.

42.7% of people use ad blocking software.

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 are being blocked by ad blockers.

If less than half of all online ads are viewable because of ad blockers, you have a problem. How can you get your message to your audience through organic channels?

This is one area where traditional marketing will remain supreme and has a significant 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.”

Disadvantages of Traditional Marketing

What are the disadvantages of traditional marketing?

There are some downsides to traditional marketing. It can be difficult to track ROI (return on investment) with traditional marketing strategies.

Digital marketing enables businesses to reach audiences very quickly. The approval process for creative and production is significantly faster than traditional media methods, making speed and agility a significant disadvantage when deploying traditional marketing methods.

Sharing your message with a large number of people at once is both an advantage and disadvantage of traditional media. On the one hand, you reach a vast amount of people on a national scale. On the other, the lack of personalization means you are hitting everyone with the same message.

In an increasingly diverse marketing landscape, that becomes a significant disadvantage if every consumer receives the same message from your brand. When you market to everyone, you market to no one.

Digital Marketing Advantages

What are the advantages of digital marketing?

Online advertising is hyper targeted, giving you have the ability to advertise to people who are interested in what you’re offering. Digital marketing has many advantages over traditional methods for reaching a specific group of consumers.

When it comes to digital marketing, one of the major benefits is personalization. You can target customers with hyper personalized messages and ads, which can help you reach your target market more cost effectively.

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 social media 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

When you are evaluating digital ad spend for your upcoming marketing budget, 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 demographic 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.

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 podcasting 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 demographic?
  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 demographic.

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

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)

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 the trends you’re seeing in 0ut-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.

Marketers are specialists in different areas and utilize a diverse range of tactics.

Are you correctly utilizing integrated direct response marketing by channel consideration?

An ecommerce marketing specialist is not the same as a B2B SaaS marketing specialist. The length of the sales cycle plays an important role in what types of tactics are deployed to achieve the desired outcome.

For example, an e-commerce marketing specialist will make sure you consider the following before launching your e-commerce offer on Black Friday.

When it comes to digital marketing analytics, evaluate the following:

  • Customer lifetime value
  • Cost per lead
  • Cost per acquisition

A long-form article can move a decision maker along in a 12-month sales funnel when they are evaluating a vendor for a large purchase decision. The goal is not that they will read the article and sign up tomorrow. Conversely, the goal is that when the time is ready to make a purchase decision, they will choose you.

The outcome is directly correlated with the timeline of expected results and how long it takes to achieve those results. Similarly, a marketer that specializes in e-commerce has a very different end goal.

Businesses that stay up-to-date with social media marketing trends and adapt their strategies accordingly are likely to be more successful in the long run.

What is good marketing?

Good B2B marketing informs and educates the buyer.

Unfortunately, too many entrepreneurs get lost in the debate of traditional vs. digital marketing tactics and lose focus on the main goal: is the marketing effective?

Marketers spend more time debating tactics than they do evaluating the core message.

Messaging development is the first step before evaluating if you will deploy traditional or digital marketing methods to reach your audience.

Strategic marketing reaches people in the right place at the right time to make the best purchase decision. It can include product comparisons, reviews, recommendations, social audio, long form content, and more.

Ideally, good marketing is diversified and the marketer understands how to reach people in different formats and digital media verticals.

While some executives listen to podcasts, others read articles in traditional media channels.

The right marketing doesn’t discriminate between verticals and reaches people exactly where they are, on their time, and their terms.

Modern consumers expect customization and personalization in digital marketing. Traditional marketing placed a larger emphasis on capabilities, but digital marketing requires extreme personalization. An ad about your company won’t cut it.

  • What can your company do for your audience? Why are they coming to you for help in the first place? What pain point do you solve?
  • How can your audience be part of the solution and services you sell?
  • How can you put your customer at the center of your marketing?
  • How can you create a better digital experience for your clients?


Marketing techniques require ongoing effort, insights, and data analysis to be successful.

We recently published 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.

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 twelve 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.


What are the top B2B Marketing trends to expect in 2023?

    • Digital acceleration and transformation
    • Artificial Intelligence in B2B Marketing
    • Increased B2B Marketing software spend
    • Cybersecurity accreditation & certification
    • Increased usage and adoption of encryption in communication platforms
    • Personalized marketing campaigns


Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and The Future of Marketing

How AI Is Changing Marketing

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.

Don’t be afraid to invest in marketing.

Changes in the economic environment, including consumer spending patterns, impact marketing decisions and create opportunities for value marketing.

Incremental investments will enable you to expand your services to meet the evolving needs of your customers to stay ahead of the competition.


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.


How do we maximize the impact of marketing spend?

Regardless of whether you invest in digital marketing or traditional marketing services, one thing remains the same: measurement and KPIs.

Every CMO or founder wants to evaluate the marketing spend to see what to keep vs. what to cut. When you are evaluating a return on marketing investment, look for:

  • 12-month investment horizon on ad spend or media buy

If everything stays the same for twelve months, that is not high growth.

The truth is, you probably don’t care about digital vs. traditional marketing strategies and want an agency to navigate that for you. All you care about is results, revenue, sales, traffic and leads. But brand awareness, media exposure, visibility and notoriety should also be part of the equation, too.

Ultimately, what matters is that the channel you choose will bring in high quality leads and visibility. It is also important to note that your business marketing strategy will change over time.

What worked fifteen years ago may not work for your business today. The art of digital marketing is about reinventing yourself and being open to new avenues to reach customers both today and tomorrow.

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 digital 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



Best Marketing Agencies in Westchester County New York (2024)

Uncover next-gen digital marketing strategies and find high growth opportunities.

Ruby Media Group is a next-gen digital marketing agency. We aid enterprise clients in digital transformation. From social media to digital media, we know how to reach highly coveted audiences that move markets by deploying AI marketing strategies. RMG will lead you into the future of digital transformation with customized enterprise solutions to cut through the digital clutter.

Future proof your Marketing 

If you have explored traditional marketing channels but need help with digital public relations, contact us today. Ruby Media Group helps companies increase their exposure through leveraging social media and digital PR. RMG conducts a thorough deep dive into a companies brand identity, and then creates a digital footprint and comprehensive strategy to execute against. Specialties include content creation, strategic planning, social media management, and digital public relations.

RMG helps clients shine in the digital space by extracting their strengths, developing story ideas, and crafting compelling news angles to ensure journalists go to their clients first as story sources and thought leaders. Ruby Media Group creates strategic, creative, measurable targeted campaigns to achieve your organizations strategic business growth objectives.

Elevate Your Social Media Marketing with Ruby Media Group 

Need help expanding your presence through dedicated digital marketing?

Ruby Media Group can:

  • Create an improved digital marketing strategy to boost business results
  • Get your business up-to-speed with the latest AI content marketing techniques & tools
  • Boost your revenue with conversion rate optimization
  • Execute your social media strategy to increase brand awareness

Perhaps you spent a great deal of time being out there with no response. Or maybe you spent a ton on advertising and are still waiting for the phone to ring. We can audit your current advertising spend and propose how to get greater leverage out of your current ad spend. We help clients answer critical marketing questions like:

  • Where should we expand our energy?
  • How can we reach key decision makers?
  • What’s likely to work well for us?

Strategic Social Media Marketing Guidance 

Ruby Media Group provides dedicated social media marketing guidance. Learn how to open new avenues of placement so people can learn about who you are.

Looking for a social media marketing agency? Contact Ruby Media Group, a leading agency in Westchester County, New York. 

Deploy a holistic marketing approach to extract maximum value by leveraging cross-channel attribution. Get Started TODAY.



KRIS RUBY is the CEO of Ruby Media Group,® an award-winning public relations and media relations agency in Westchester County, New York. Kris Ruby has more than 15 years of experience in the Public Relations industry. She is a sought-after media relations strategist, personal branding specialist, content creator and public relations consultant. She is also an on-air TV commentator and pundit on cable news. She graduated from Boston University’s College of Communication with a major in public relations and is a founding member of The Young Entrepreneurs Council.  

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*Date last updated April 2024