The good news is that traditional media isn’t imploding- yet, but a paradigm shift has already made the marketing gurus sit up and take notice.

In the last five years, social media campaigns have become an integral and indispensible part of every marketing campaign. And while it is touted to be the next big marketing move its approach is still confused with traditional marketing.

Difference between Traditional Media & Social Media Campaigns

Social Media does not just include Facebook Youtube and Twitter but also goes beyond to encompass thousands of blogs, vlogs, vine, and every computer-meditated outlet with user-generated content.

Traditional avenues include TV, radio, direct mail marketing and word of mouth marketing.

The only traditional method that is still powerful today is word of mouth marketing and that too has undergone the digital knife. People are now connecting on forums and messengers to get opinions on something they are considering to buy.

Two-way relationship

Social media campaigns are more interactive where you constantly garner customers’ feedback. According to a research conducted by 89% of the participant confessed to trusting a brand more if they invited feedback.

Although not intended to be a marketing campaign but the best example is the Serial podcast that documents the case of Adnan Syed who was convicted in 1999 for the murder of his then girlfriend Hae Min Lee.

Voiced by journalist Sarah Koenig, the podcast was not only downloaded more than 5 million times and broke all iTunes record, it also had millions of people analyzing every clue and cell record on forums, threads and blogs.

Traditional marketing has a one-way outreach where ad space is purchased, and ad campaigns designed and launched.

And the max you can do is turn it off by switching off the T.V. or radio or averting your gaze from billboards.

There’s absolutely no real time interaction and the feedback rate is 70-80 times lower compared to social media marketing.

And the tables have turned with TV viewership sliding down a good 50% since early 2000s and print media gradually making the transition to mobile news pages. sm

The millennials are shifting to second screen viewership where they online stream even their favorite TV shows, and are more likely to check their e-mail than a direct mail flyer.

According to a study conducted by themcarthyroup 84% of millennials said they didn’t like advertising.

The traditional approach of informing and converting does not work anymore because customers want more than just presence; they want engagement.

More Personalized

Indulging in some secret Twilight loving over the weekend? Netflix automatically recommends the entire Twilight saga for you.

This sort of personalized approach is common in social media marketing where you have ads popping up relevant to your recent activities.

Even blogging is more like a one-on-one approach where your customers relate to the concept or the context. All noteworthy blogs cater to a specific set of audience in mind.


Traditional media is more like a one size fits all where everyone from a toddler to an octogenarian is exposed to a campaign.

Agreed traditional approach has a wider lead number but social media marketing is more direct and therefore stand a better chance at conversions.

More Bang for your Buck

Whether you want to launch a TV advert or book a slot in the newspaper, the campaign platforms often need to be purchased.

And for a considerably higher price.

Social media platforms are free of cost. Sure you have to pay for the likes of PPC and CPM campaigns but the basic forum is not chargeable, which automatically cuts down cost.

Add to that a broader customer reach that is both targeted and personalized leading to higher conversions. Traditional media fails at this.


Traditional campaigns were like working out to lose weight without stepping on the scale. Every once or twice you would find your clothes falling off you but you have no idea how much weight you lost.

Social media marketing measures the performance as opposed to traditional marketing measuring outreach.

When you launch a direct mail campaign for your product, you are aware of the number of people it will reach to. But you do not know the number of people who opened that mail, who read the first paragraph, and who read through but did not place an order.

In case of an e-mail campaign, the click-through rate tells you how many people opened your mail and how many reported spam.


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Plus there are tons of social media monitoring tools that not only give you an insight into what are your customers saying about you but you can also analyze competition and better your campaigns.

Flexible and can be updated in real-time

Once your classified ad goes up as “looking to hire psycho therapists” instead of “looking to hire psychotherapists” there is very little you can do about it except correct future entries.

People make mistakes and sometimes they are downright stupid. Like the India-based company Lenskart that tried to capitalize on the fatal earthquake that recently hit Nepal and parts of India.


The brand’s subsequent apology eased things out a bit.


It’s easier to undo damage and manage reputation and it’s also easier to update/edit campaigns in real-time.

Based on the feedback from prospects, social media campaigns offer an unmatched flexibility that traditional campaigns can’t.

So Is Social Media Marketing Better Than Traditional Marketing?

A marketing strategy includes a mixture of avenues. While initially little was put aside for getting professional content for social media marketing, the percentage is now tipping in favor of social media.

A good marketing mix should include both social and traditional media campaigns provided you have the budget for it.

Another thing to note is the targeted audience. If the locus of your prospective customers is based on social media- say you are a mobile app developer looking to sell their apps to Smartphone owners- you need to tap that source more.

No one turns to the newspaper to look for an app to create Instagram-ready images.

Let’s just say we are at a time where we are not completely ready to let go of traditional approaches but also know that unless you match steps with innovation chances are you will fall behind.

So what’s the best deal? Choose the best of both worlds.