• Mia Duong

Content Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing: What's the Difference?


If you wonder what the difference is between content marketing and traditional marketing, you're not alone. Although recent years have seen a rise in content marketing, many business owners aren't sure what the difference is.


You may have read about how content marketing benefits your business performance but can it surpass traditional marketing? Which one should you use? How do you decide?


Here is some important information about the differences between content marketing and traditional marketing.


What they have in common


In general, content marketing and traditional marketing are both marketing techniques that involve offering helpful solutions to potential customers’ problems through various channels. Both ultimately aim to influence customers to take actions that favour a brand.


What is traditional marketing?


Traditional marketing is a marketing technique that allows brands and marketers to reach out to consumers whenever and wherever the brands and marketers want. There are various forms of traditional marketing including print (newspaper ads, magazine ads, billboards); broadcast (TV ads, radio ads); and even digital (social media ads, video ads). Traditional marketing pushes out marketing messages to the audience without considering the audience's interest level or desire to see the messages.


Consider television advertisements. Ads come on during television shows regardless of whether the viewer has an interest in the product being sold.


What is content marketing?


Content marketing is a marketing technique that involves creating, publishing and distributing valuable content to a targeted audience segment to generate more opportunities for the business. It comes in various forms such as newsletter, blogs, infographics, videos and podcasts. Content marketing pulls potential customers in by providing useful information that establishes a relationship with the brand.


As opposed to traditional marketing, content marketing is published so that the audience can find the information when they need to or are ready to.


Content Marketing vs Traditional Marketing


Permission vs Interruption


The key difference between content and traditional marketing is the former is permissive while the latter is interruptive. Content marketing allows consumers to find and take in the desired content when they want to. A law firm can write a blog post about employee rights and viewers can read it when they have the desire to do so, and specifically when they are interested in the topic.


Traditional marketing, on the other hand, often tries to get consumers’ attention when they’re doing something else, such as watching TV, listening to the radio or commuting. It can distract people from their current activities or experiences. This approach is not only offline but also online via different ads forms such as pop-ups, social media ads and pre-roll videos.


Earned vs Rented Audience


Content marketing engages the audience and keeps viewers loyal by offering added value that is not sale-specific. The consumers find the provided information helpful and choose to trust and stay with the brand. They may not make a purchase from you right now, but will keep your brand in mind when they are ready to. This means your brand earned your audience. The reader who finds your blog post about employee rights helpful will continue reading your blog and may follow your social media feed to learn more information.


Because they trust your brand and view you as an authority in your area, they are likely to become a customer or client.


Meanwhile, traditional marketing is considered to be “renting” its audience by paying money to different platforms to have marketing messages viewed by an audience. You only have the audience's attention for so long before another ad replaces yours. Purchased TV ads slots, rented billboards and paid-per-click ads are typical examples.


A drawback of renting an audience is once the marketing campaigns are over, your marketing no longer generates new customers. Thus, you have to keep spending money to grow your consumer base. Content marketing, however, keeps consumers coming back by arousing their interest and gaining their trust.


Pull vs Push


Content marketing involves fulfilling consumers’ needs and making efforts to interact with potential customers. You publish information and tell stories that resonate with your audience and motivate them to act. Based on their response, you’ll learn more about their insights and modify your content accordingly. Your brand, as a result, develops a relationship with your buyers and pulls them in.


On the contrary, traditional marketing pushes out sale-specific information about the products or services in the hope that consumers find the solution for their problems and purchase it. Some forms of traditional marketing such as commercials are limited in collecting consumers’ feedback.


Adjustable vs Static


One of the key advantages of content marketing is that it allows marketers to revise and adjust their marketing campaigns in real-time. With the support of analytics programs, you can measure consumers’ reactions to your content and reallocate budgets, time and energy accordingly. This helps you focus on the strategies that work, which leads to a higher return on investment (ROI).


Traditional marketing is more static. Once campaigns are released to the public, results can only be analyzed when they’re completed. Though digital ads can be more reactive during execution, marketing efforts in most other forms cannot be adjusted until the next campaign. Adjustments to certain forms such as TV ads or print ads are more costly since making changes requires the original ad to be pulled and then reproduced.


Affordable vs Costly


When considering every marketing strategy, money is often a significant concern. At the end of the day, business owners and marketers have to look into the return on investment when judging the potency of a marketing campaign.


Studies have found that content marketing efforts cost 62% less than traditional marketing and generate three times more leads. Thanks to its nature of pulling customers in rather than pushing out messages, content marketing can build trust and create a strong base in the long term. Thus, it’s easier for content marketing to convert customers and gain their loyalty.

In addition, as content marketing is more reactive, it has a higher ROI since you can learn different tactics and focus on what works best for your industry, time and resources.


Content vs Traditional Marketing: Which is for you?


If you’re a small-to-medium-size business and you’re looking for an appropriate marketing strategy, start out with content marketing. It’s more feasible and budget-friendly compared to traditional methods. It also allows for insights and adjustments so you can monitor your marketing success.


For example, your law firm will appear more trustworthy if your website blogs about the area you’re practicing and provides your potential clients with useful, relevant information. Consider that 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company through articles to advertisements.


Corporate Writers develops content marketing strategies for a variety of businesses, whether you’re operating in law, technology, construction, or finance. We produce high-quality content to enhance your online presence, generate leads and convert them into new customers. Contact us to find optimal content marketing solutions for your business.