October 2, 2020

The Virtual CMO Podcast

Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Everything is searchable. We can gather all kinds of information at a click of a button or a swipe of a finger. There are 70,000 search queries per second in Google alone; that would be around 5.8 billion searches a day. These numbers sound overwhelming but also provide a tremendous opportunity to those businesses who know how to take advantage of them. So when comparing digital marketing vs traditional marketing strategies, how should a marketing team decide where to spend their scarce resources?

In this episode, we dive into understanding the major benefits of digital marketing vs. traditional marketing. The Five Echelon Group's Founder/CMO Eric Dickmann speak with Jeff Revilla, a digital marketing expert from Mega Cat Media, about digital marketing vs. traditional marketing and how the landscape has changed.

Jeff Revilla is the Director of Smail Auto Group. He has ranked on the top 1% of over a thousand Honda and Acura dealers for independent digital marketing evaluations for six consecutive quarters. Revilla is very passionate about creating engaging video content, identifying competitor trends in the market, and devising useful plans to generate profit. Jeff has years of expertise in SEO content creation, social media advertising, lead management, and designing market campaigns. During his leisure, he loves playing disc golf.

Traditional Marketing 

Before we can appreciate the differences of digital marketing vs traditional marketing, we need to define what is meant by traditional. Traditional marketing encompasses the advertisements that we see on television, hear on the radio, read in newspapers and magazines, and other tried and true tactics. These marketing options have been around for as long as we can remember. You pay the newspaper or radio to post your latest ad, send out flyers or mailers, and cast a wide net. The problem is that many traditional marketing tactics lack audience refinement. You might be able to target gender, age, or even an interest area but it would be hard to get all three at once. This means you're spending time, effort, and money marketing to buyers outside your target audience. That gets expensive and reduces the overall effectiveness of your campaigns. 

Drawbacks of Traditional Marketing

It can also be difficult to attribute leads to your campaigns. How do you know if your buyer found your product organically or bought it because of the TV ad you ran? It's tough to make the connection which hurts your ability to know what campaigns are most effective. That's not to say traditional marketing doesn't have its place. It can be especially good for brand awareness or when you have a broad audience. But when it comes to digital marketing vs traditional marketing, digital offers many more tools that allow for much more specific targeting and attribution which make it idea for many marketers.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing uses many online tools market your products via social media, email marketing, blogging, pay-per-click ads, and streaming. You can access your market, anytime, anywhere. Compared to traditional marketing, which is often much more expensive and harder to access, digital marketing allows you to implement campaigns quickly, make adjustments, test ideas, and monitor results in real-time. There are many online marketplaces where can market your product or service. Often, you can create accounts, design a creative, and have it posted within hours. 

Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing Advertising  Market

Jeff Revilla discussed early on, search keywords only cost 7 to 10 cents. Back then, not much competition existed and people paid more attention to traditional methods of advertising. But with the rise of social media platforms as ideal places to advertising, digital marketing gained new momentum and turned Google and Facebook into advertising powerhouses. It's their ability to so specifically define audiences that make them so useful to marketers. Add to that cross-site tracking, web cookies, and more and now these giants can follow you around the web and learn your interests.

Jeff Revilla

We've had continual growth through website growth website leads. We have cut all, all print and all television, and that's been running for about three years now."

Transition to Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Jeff Revilla says, “One of the first things people are going to search for is your brand name.” The customers’ moods are reflected in their feedback. If they are happy with the experience you give to them, you’ll see their positive comments and pictures showing off to friends. If they are dissatisfied, you’ll be able to monitor that too. Doing well in your service and review interaction will merit you with a clear 4 or 5 rating next to your brand. The shocking thing is that even your competitors don’t know about this! Take advantage of this high rating, and heighten your sales statistics! On the other hand, if you are given a 2 or 1-star rating, then for sure something in your business strategy has to be fixed urgently. Remember, it must be your priority to reach out to your clients as quickly as possible, never the other way around.

Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing Advertising Spend

Jeff tells us that he used to split their advertising budget evenly between traditional and digital marketing in the past. Three years ago, he decided to put 100% of their budget in digital marketing. He claimed- “We have not regretted that decision one time, like not at all.” His company's automotive sales went up significantly as a result. We can say that Jeff Revilla is a living testimony to the power and influence that digital marketing brings to many businesses across America and other parts of the globe.

The Power of Video

In discussing digital marketing vs traditional marketing, one of the biggest changes Jeff notes is the importance video now plays in the sales cycle. Often times, a customer first starts their buying journey online by looking at reviews, pricing, and inventories. In the car business, Jeff said their chain of dealerships now employees 2 people just to keep up with their video and photography needs. With a constantly changing inventory, each car needs to be photographed and published on the website so that potential customers can see the cars in inventory. They also do a test drive series where employees take cars out on the road and give buyers a complete tour of the car in the form of a video test drive. Many customers come into the dealerships already having viewed available cars and having completed a virtual test drive. 

Jeff says that not only does this help answer questions and generate interest, it also helps prospects get to know the sales staff in advance. It's a way of personalizing the experience. In the end, the buyer really doesn't care that much about the brand or the dealership, they care about the ease of buying and the overall buying experience. When it comes to digital marketing vs traditional marketing, a television ad doesn't have the same kind of intimate connection with buyers that is provided by a virtual test drive or the ability to view inventories remotely. 

Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing in Video

But photography and video isn't limited to car dealers, social media platforms are perfect places for brands to engage with potential customers through video and photography in ways never before possible. It's not that you have to choose digital marketing vs traditional marketing, there's still a place for both. But if you're not using more digital marketing tools in your overall marketing mix, you're missing out on some very powerful ways to target potential customers.

The Importance of Customer Reviews

People spend time online searching to buy products, doing research, watching news, playing on social media, or watching videos. They aren't as interested in your brand or company but rather, what you can do for them to solve their problems. According to Jeff, one of the most impactful things you can do to increase business is focus on customer reviews. This feedback by returning customers and new clients strengthen your brand’s image and reputation. Obviously, a 5-star rating given to your product quality can attract potential demand. On the other hand, a 1-star rating for your customer service could hurt. Identify the weak point of your business; fix what is lacking, and be consistent with your service levels.

Importance of Online Reviews

Jeff launched an “I don’t filter anybody” program. If you come in for sales or service 24 hours later after your transaction with them, he and his team will ask you how they did. He sends the survey and satisfaction form to his clients directly via Google or Facebook.

  • Did you have a good experience? 
  • How was it? 
  • Would you let somebody know about our business?

While some businesses send out email seeking initial ratings and have poor responses directed to the manager, while 4 or 5-star ratings sent Facebook or Google, Jeff disagrees with this approach and doesn't filter the reviews but his team does respond to them all, whether positive or negative. He states that ratings will determine if clients are willing to do business with you again. Jeff’s team has recorded around 6,000 reviews since they have implemented this customer outreach method across all of their dealerships. According to their observations, the more the sellers interact with their customers’ reviews and concerns, the better the customers’ interact with the business. Revilla explains to us that interaction is healthy and impactful for our businesses. Google rewards interactive companies

Times are changing, and so are the tastes and preferences of people. Good businesses never fight change; they adapt to it. For those business owners out there who still refuse to take the risk and post their business online, now is your chance. Go Digital!

Live Stream Replay


  • When looking at digital marketing vs traditional marketing, understand the audience you're targeting and what tools are available to reach it
  • Digital marketing allows businesses to design, implement, change, and monitor campaigns quickly
  • Customer reviews, when well managed, can significantly drive new business
  • One of the first things people are going to search for is your brand name

Episode and Guest Links

Eric Dickmann - Founder/CMO of the Five Echelon Group, can be found online on Twitter or his personal webs

Jeff Revilla - Director of Smail Auto Group can be found online on LinkedIn.

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