8 Types of Traditional Marketing Methods (With Advantages)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 4, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Offline marketing typically allows businesses to reach a wide audience to build brand awareness, establish credibility, and attract more potential customers. Marketers may promote products or services using traditional channels when they are hoping to reach a more localized audience. Understanding the different types of traditional marketing channels can help you build fruitful strategies and craft effective offline marketing campaigns.

In this article, we review what traditional marketing is, explore the advantages and considerations of using traditional methods, and list the different channels you might consider when building a campaign.

What is traditional marketing?

Businesses use traditional marketing methods as a way of promoting their brand message to their target audience through various communication channels. Marketing teams may use print, broadcast, or phone communication to share their message, engage their audience, and expand their reach.

By placing creative advertisements in places where the audience is likely to see, hear, or interact with their message, businesses can effectively communicate with their target audience. Contrary to digital advertising, which includes clear calls to action, marketers often use traditional channels to increase brand awareness, sentiment, and recognition.

Related: A Guide to Marketing as a Career

Advantages of using traditional marketing methods

Brands that invest in offline marketing methods typically spend significant time and resources on the development of their marketing campaigns. It's increasingly important for marketing teams to craft interesting, creative, and noticeable advertisements that resonate with the audience. Here are some advantages of marketing through traditional channels:

  • More local connection: Advertisements crafted for a local audience and placed in local newspapers, broadcast on local radio stations, or posted on billboards can help a brand connect more organically with smaller communities. For example, direct mail sent to one community including statistics on the local real estate market may resonate more with the audience than one about the provincial market.

  • Increased credibility: Many people view traditional channels and specifically printed advertisements to be more credible than digital marketing. Outdoor signage can increase the instances it exposes customers to a brand, which can help increase brand awareness and persuade customers to make important buying decisions.

  • More memorable: Since there's a limitation to the action customers can take when exposed to a traditional form of marketing, it increases the need for creativity. Traditional advertisers are required to use words and graphics to be increasingly noticeable and memorable, to better resonate with potential customers.

  • More permanent: Unlike digital ads that potential customers can easily scroll past, a printed ad is permanent until you take down the ad or recycle the newspaper. This can help traditional methods to reach a broader audience, as the opportunity for more people to pass a billboard increases the longer it's up.

Related: Marketing vs. Sales (With Definitions and Differences)

Considerations for marketing with traditional methods

While traditional channels can be helpful for many reasons, there are some considerations of using these marketing methods in a campaign. Here are some disadvantages you might consider:

  • Decreased measurability: Compared to digital marketing methods, where marketers can monitor every click, view, or interaction, the effect of traditional methods is not as easily quantifiable. For example, at the end of a campaign, you may not know how many people visited your website because of the billboard they passed unless you specifically ask.

  • Less information communicated: Depending on the method, some traditional advertisements may have limited space or time for marketers to communicate their message. Without the opportunity for the audience to click through to a web page with unlimited information, marketers often get creative with the limitations.

  • Decreased targeting: With digital marketing, advertisers can sub-segment their audience to ensure their message is reaching their target. When advertisers place a billboard on a road, it limits this segmentation, as everyone who drives on the road can see the sign.

Related: How to Get a Marketing Job with Limited Experience

8 types of traditional marketing channels

There are several traditional ways of marketing that can capture your audience's attention. Here are some of the common types to consider when building a marketing plan:

1. Handouts

Marketers use handouts like brochures, flyers, or coupons to promote a business, event, or sale. You can post these flyers in public areas that community members visit regularly, place them in the local newspaper, or distribute them door-to-door. Brochures can provide details about a company, explain the features of a product, or outline services offered, which you can distribute at events or when visiting clients. Potential customers can keep these handouts with them or store them for later reference when they want to learn more about a company. Local restaurants can distribute their menus to make ordering more convenient.

2. Outdoor advertisements

There are many types of outdoor advertisements that you can use to display information and company graphics. Depending on the brand's goal and the target audience you're trying to reach, you may choose to use one channel or a combination of many. These types of advertisements are effective for reaching a specific localized audience who may pass the ad regularly. Here are some examples of outdoor advertisements:

  • Billboards: Billboards typically feature images with supporting text that grasp the audience's attention while travelling on the road. Creative billboard advertisements can make it easier for your audience to recognize and remember your brand, and are useful for reaching a broad audience.

  • Subways and bus shelters: Marketers may use these ads to communicate a message to a broad audience of public transit users. Since the audience for these ads may have more time to read and consider your message, they can be useful for longer messages or clever ads that require more consideration.

  • Lawn signs: Many service-based businesses use lawn signs to attract more customers and build brand awareness in a certain region. For example, a lawn maintenance company may put a sign on a customer's lawn to inform other homeowners that they are the reason for the well-maintained lawn.

3. Direct mail

Direct mail marketing sends print materials like letters, postcards, catalogues, or flyers to the address of potential customers living in your target area. You can send direct mail to people who have expressed interest in your company, or to potential customers based on their postal codes. These materials can be effective if they include a specific call to action, such as a coupon or an offer that a recipient can collect by mailing a form back. Some product-based companies use direct mail to send seasonal catalogues to their audiences with order forms included in the mailer for easy ordering.

Direct mail is also popular with nonprofit or fundraising organizations, as they may use mailers as an emotional marketing tool to collect donations. They typically use letters to introduce their organization or the cause they're supporting. This can create a personal connection between the recipient and the organization, making it an effective fundraising tool.

4. Print advertisements

Marketers use print advertisements to reach more prospective customers through outlets like newspapers or magazines. If you're hoping to build more awareness in the community, placing an advertisement in the newspaper can help others learn more about the brand, services, or products. It's helpful to research which magazines or reading materials your target audience typically consumed to ensure your ads are reaching your audience and generating sales leads.

5. Event marketing

Some organizations either sponsor, exhibit, or create advertising material for industry events, like seminars, conventions, or conferences. If you're exhibiting, you can design your display by using larger materials like signs or banners to attract attendees to your booth to learn more about the company's offerings. You can consider setting up similar booths at other local events, such as fairs or festivals, to increase local brand awareness. Some companies take part in sporting events or team sponsorships to increase brand recognition and goodwill.

6. Referrals

Referrals involve asking your current customers to tell others about the company and the benefits it provides. Some marketers encourage their sales teams to ask customers to recommend friends, family members, or colleagues in exchange for discounts or special offers. This can be an effective way to attract and retain more customers, as most individuals trust the opinions of people they know.

7. Broadcast advertisements

Many marketing teams use broadcast commercials to gain either local or national recognition. Television or radio ads can be an efficient way to reach a significant amount of people quickly to increase brand awareness. Advertisers use television to share compelling and creative advertisements to tell a story, gain brand recognition, or demonstrate a product or service. Radio advertisers often use music, sound effects, or jingles to attract attention and remain memorable to the audience.

8. Telemarketing

Business-to-business companies often use telemarketing to sell their products or services to other companies. This method involves extensive research to identify companies that might benefit from the advertiser's offerings, followed by a call to entice the target to make a purchase. Implementing a cold-calling strategy allows you to interact with potential customers to better understand their needs and explain to them how you can help solve their challenges. This may help you build a stronger personal connection and establish trust between the company and prospective customers.

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