Old school vs New school: Is digital media lowering traditional media to its grave?

A highly debateable topic among marketing and advertising experts across all industries; has traditional media had its time? Do all companies need to shift across to predominantly digital platforms? Is digital media more cost effective than traditional media?

In my opinion there is no right or wrong answer to these questions, every demographic is different and requires a unique integrated marketing communications strategy.

Firstly, let me define what digital vs traditional media actually is. Digital marketing essentially refers to just about anything that happens through the internet. This can include apps, emails, SEO, social media, websites and more. Traditional marketing on the other hand is everything that is offline, think newspaper, radio, TV, point of sale and billboards.

In today’s market, when developing a successful business it is not enough to just have a high quality product and pick the right target market. You need to understand the needs and wants of that market not only in terms of what they want from your product, but how they want to hear about it, how they want it to look, and what the most organic form of communication is specifically for them. Businesses need to recognise the techniques that fit their demographic and use them to their advantage.

Kylie Jenner for Hi Smile

An example of a company which leveraged off their target demographics social media habits is Hi Smile Teeth. In four years 2 young Australians managed to turn a $20000 investment into a multi billion dollar business, solely from a well developed digital marketing strategy. This duo did all of their advertising in house, with no previous marketing experience and no agency help, by developing an in depth understanding of social media culture and how their target market is effected by it. They used a combination of social media platforms, but primarily focussed on Instagram and today have a following of 1.1 million people. The company started off using free social media marketing strategies, and have since then used paid media, including the use of influencers such as Kylie Jenner and Connor McGregor, to push their reach further.

Although solely relying on digital media worked for this company, and many others for that matter, there is still circumstances where traditional marketing has it’s place. Generally the strongest marketing campaigns involve an IMC plan, whereby they use a combination of the most effective traditional and digital medias for their market to create a cohesive strategy that works at a range of levels. For example, Dove launched the first ever interactive billboard in New York’s Times Square that encouraged people to vote on various topics related to natural beauty by texting a number. The screen showed live results. This was a creative way to incorporate both digital and traditional media and increased the overall exposure of the campaign.


So what do you think; is social media slowly killing traditional media? Or is there a time and place for both?

4 thoughts on “Old school vs New school: Is digital media lowering traditional media to its grave?

  1. Great Blog Post Claudia! I don’t think traditional marketing will never become “extinct” because people aren’t always on their phones or behind a screen and for this reason advertising in public spaces, such as billboards, banners, flyers, on the side of trams and buses will always be used as people will always take notice. However Digital marketing has just become basically essential to reaching your Target Audience, as most people are on social media and even more use the internet.

    I think for some brands, particularly within the beauty and fashion industry, they may only require digital marketing, for example online boutique clothing stores may only use digital marketing strategies to promote their brand since they don’t have a physical store, hence may not use traditional. I think digital has just opened up a new way of doing business that traditional marketing often can’t achieve.


  2. Hi Sarah, this is an interesting point you raise, we do obviously live in a physical world therefore physical ads will always be seen to some degree. I suppose the real question we are playing with is not so much about exposure but about what is more effective. In answering this we need to consider who we are speaking to and how they prefer to be spoken to, for example when purchasing beauty products people often like to read reviews, watch videos and compare products before purchasing. This simply cannot be translated easily to traditional marketing therefore I think you are right in saying that certain brands may not need traditional marketing at all, but the form of advertising in itself will always be relevant to someone therefore it will never die.


  3. Great examples on your blog post Claudia! I feel like there is definitely a time an place where traditional media could still be as powerful as digital marketing, depending on your target audience. I strongly feel that billboards will always have a place as a marketing media as if done correctly, it will always be eye catching and impressionable, creating a memory in the viewers mind to recall back later on.


    1. Thanks Helena. Yes I agree. And I am enjoying seeing how this fusion of old school and new school media continues to grow.


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