Marketing nowadays takes many forms and happens on various platforms. You could do it the old-fashioned way – TV commercials, billboards ads, etc. Or try a new approach like collaborating with influencers to help you promote your business.

Which is best for your business? Let’s look at both types of marketing and examine their strong and weak points. That way, you can make an informed decision on which type best fits your marketing goals.

Traditional Marketing Explained

Before social media emerged, most companies used traditional methods to interact with and reach their target audiences offline. A typical customer engagement strategy included print advertisements in magazines/newspapers or print handouts in physical stores/shopping centers, TV commercials in airtime, billboards and radio campaigns, direct mail, and so on.

These methods reached a wide audience. Ads were broadcasted to crowded places like big outlets and main roads. The same applies to the time of the day. Your ads could play when the majority of people were either at home watching TV, or traveling to work and listening to the radio.

The more people see or hear your message, the higher your chances are to reach as many potential customers as possible. Now, let’s take a closer look at each method individually and examine the pros and cons.

Print Ads + Handouts

Buying ad space in newspapers and magazines helps bring awareness to your brand. People will notice your catchy copy and captivating images. Furthermore, this method is relatively cheap. If your goal is to increase traffic to your physical store, this type of advertising medium is perfect. Promote your goods/services or announce upcoming events, sales, and discounts to attract current and potential customers.

Be aware of the downside of print advertising as well. Often, you have little to no control over where your ad will be placed. This may affect its visibility rate. For example,  if you sell sports equipment and your ad is located on a page dedicated to health and beauty procedures, you’re not necessarily reaching the right audience. Your reach may also be limited since today’s consumers prefer online versions of their favorite newspapers and magazines. Keep in mind that, unlike newspapers, magazines often publish once a month or once every three months. This means even less visibility for your ads.

Print handouts are mostly used for sales and event announcements. Whether it’s a brochure or a flier, the goal is to distribute them in crowded places such as shopping malls, busy pedestrian areas, or conferences/events. Print handouts are cost-effective and will deliver your message to potential clients in no time. On the other hand, flyers, leaflets, and brochures don’t have a long-term impact on buyers in comparison to TV ads or billboard campaigns where your sale/event is shown repeatedly.

Another downside is people tend to toss print handouts if they find them irrelevant or simply boring. It’s important to invest time and effort in crafting catchy content (both written and visual) to encourage retention.

Radio + TV Broadcasting

Broadcasting your ads on television or radio is the most widespread traditional type of marketing. You engage the largest audience and thus increase your chance to reach more potential customers. If your goal is to increase your brand awareness or announce your upcoming promotion/sale/event, this method is the best one to implement.

The advantage of TV ads is video content is the best-assimilated form of content. At the same time, TV ads, especially those aired in primetime, are expensive and their production takes time. Also, if you want to change something in your ad or improve it after it’s out, you have to pay (and wait) even more. Advertising on the radio has one amazing advantage: you get to choose your target audience. For example, if you want to reach more adults, broadcast on news radio shows. Or if you’re targeting younger consumers, music stations are perfect for this purpose.

In comparison to TV ads, those on the radio are much cheaper and require less time and effort to be produced. They usually play throughout the day which means you get more chances to be heard and noticed. Yet, strive to reach the listeners in the early morning and evening when they are commuting to work. A downside would be the lack of imagery. Sometimes, words alone don’t stimulate and captivate an audience. This might result in people paying less attention to your ad.  Offer your listeners informative and captivating content to stand out from your competitors.

Billboard Campaigns

Outdoor advertising via billboards is a great way to get noticed by a wider audience. Billboards placed on busy roads or near shopping malls provide constant visibility. This is essential if you’re launching a new product/service or you want to accentuate seasonal promotions and upcoming events. Providing visual content placed on a large surface provides exposure like nothing else. The more attractive the imagery and content are, the more attention you bring to the promotional message.

Even though your advertisement is viewable 24/7 (unlike TV commercials or radio ads), the majority of people who pass by won’t pay much attention to it. Most focus on driving. Also, weather conditions play a significant role in the visibility of your ad and the traffic of people around it.

Another thing is billboard advertising is costly. This is especially true for prime locations like main roads, open public spaces, landmarks, pedestrian streets, shopping centers, and so on. Moreover, targeting a specific audience is tough: your ad will be seen by people of all socioeconomic layers, ages, and interests.


Many companies prefer to reach their target market over the phone. Kike with the other already-mentioned channels, telemarketing aims to promote your business and help you in fulfilling your marketing objectives… in a more personal way. When you sell your products or services over the phone, you have the opportunity to get to know your audience and answer their questions in real-time. You get instant feedback on how people perceive your business. Use to improve the areas that are problematic.

It sounds too good to be true, right? And it is. Unfortunately, telemarketing has somewhat of a bad reputation and people avoid communicating with brands in this manner. Some find it annoying or irrelevant, while others deem it an aggressive approach that pushes them away from making a purchase. Whatever the case, your brand’s image might suffer.

If you tried it on your own without success, consider delegating your telemarketing campaigns to call centers and other professionals with more experience. And, while you get excellent customer service and detailed measurement reports, the cost of outsourcing this type of marketing is pretty high.

Direct Mail

As people are constantly bombarded with ads online, the competition in direct mail is much smaller. That’s why reaching your audience via this channel is a clever way to grab their attention. Direct mail is more visual and the ad doesn’t go away with your customers closing an app. There’s thus a higher chance of folks remembering your offer. Also, people can always come back to it whenever they need your product/service (unlike online where the ad disappears). People tend to keep their direct mail at home for several days or weeks before throwing it out.

Direct mail is the way to go if you want to increase your brand awareness, announce a promotional campaign or reach new clients. You don’t have to ask or gather personal information about your prospects – something you would have to invest time, effort, and money into if you do it online.

There are cons to direct mail as well. The first is you can’t control the time gap between when you produce the offer and when it reaches your potential customers. So if you plan a discount for a limited time, avoid doing it at the last minute as it might be received after the sale is finished.

Sending out high volumes of direct mail is indeed costly, especially if you choose to send catalogs or some sort of samples. Furthermore, even with low competition, many might consider your offer to be junk mail and immediately get rid of it. That’s why it’s key to provide enticing content, both written and visual.

Now that we’ve covered different channels of traditional marketing and each’s pros and cons, let’s look at influencer marketing: what it is, how it works, and what you should be aware of if you want to try it for your business.

Influencer Marketing Explained

In the last few years, influencer marketing gained major popularity.  In 2021, the number of companies providing influencer marketing services grew by 26%. Whether with the help of a third party or on their own, many brands now collaborate with influencers on social media to increase their followers, sales, brand awareness, and so on.

At first, the “influencer” title was given to celebrities or full-time bloggers; to people with a certain impact and influence over their followers. Today, anyone can become an influencer with the right strategy and a solid fan base. Influencer marketing trends are constantly evolving, too.

To put it simply, influencer marketing is how brands promote their products/services using influencers’ endorsements. Brands count on the influencer’s authority, popularity, and relationship with their audience. The idea is to form a collaboration with someone who has the power to influence and motivate people to purchase what you offer. What the other party gets varies: the collaboration could be done for free, for the exchange of goods and discounts, or paid advertising.

How To Reach Out and Form Collaborations

Research your ideal candidates carefully when choosing with whom to collaborate. Pick someone whose followers will fit your target audience. Ideally, aim for reaching as many potential customers as possible within the influencer’s fans. There are all sorts of influencers: beauty, fashion, lifestyle, sport, music, vloggers, and many more. They are usually divided into categories according to the number of followers they have – nano (1-10k), micro (10-100k), macro (100k-1m), and mega (>1m).

The bigger the fan base, the higher chance you’ll new leads. That said, that means it’s harder to attract these influencers. They receive tens of thousands of invitations, DMs, and emails daily from different brands looking for collaborations. Your offer must stand out from the rest both in terms of content and conditions.

The same applies to your business: you may be contacted by different influencers who look for collaborations. If you’re a small business, the number of requests won’t be high at first. But that shouldn’t discourage you. Focus on increasing your brand awareness and audience engagement, and the rest will follow.

Whether you reach out to influencers or vice versa, there’s always going to be rejection. The most common reasons for an influencer to decline collaboration are:

  • The number of your followers – some influencers prefer to work with major brands only.
  • The type of product/service you offer – they might find it irrelevant or simply won’t agree with how you produce/market your goods.
  • Their schedule – even if they want to collaborate with you, they might not have the time to do it.
  • The conditions you offer them – some would work for free, while others for a fee, or free samples.

There are also many reasons you may reject an influencer: they won’t provide value to you, they have an aggressive approach towards their audience, they lack experience in marketing, or your values don’t align. Whatever the reason, always be polite and honest to preserve your brand’s image. Know the most common influencer marketing mistakes to ensure you don’t make them.

What Types of Influencer Collaboration are There?

There are different types of collaborations with influencers. Many depend on their followers and requirements, and your capabilities and goals. Wondering how to increase conversions with influencer marketing? Let’s explore the strongest and weakest features of each type of collaboration.

Sponsored Content
The most widespread type of influencer collaboration is paid sponsorship. You as a brand pay a certain amount of money for the influencer to develop content promoting your business. Most of the time, this is social media content – posts, stories, IGTV, live videos, or something else. The amount and type of content depend on both your requirements: guidelines and marketing objectives, and the influencer’s fee (which might be set for a certain number of posts, mentions, and so on).

Even though this type of collaboration is very promotional and straightforward, the idea is to craft engaging content that would help you achieve your goals. Sponsored content generates leads, increases sales and followers, and gets better engagement rates than traditional advertising. A downside to paid sponsorship is it’s an obvious advertisement. Thus, followers might find it inauthentic or too annoying. Furthermore, it may be expensive to invest in such collaborations and it might take more time than planned to negotiate the terms.

Free Samples / Gifting
“Gifting collaboration” is a common collaboration option. It’s when you send an influencer your products or let them use your services for free. In turn, they provide a promotional post/story/video on social media. If you launch a new product or simply want to reach new customers, this method is a good starting point. Also, if your marketing budget is limited, gifting influencers is a clever way to save money on advertising and additional costs for influencer marketing.

What’s tricky about that type of marketing, though, is the influencer isn’t obligated to promote you (unless you specifically negotiated that beforehand). In most cases, you hope the influencer loves your gift and would be kind enough to advertise it. Sometimes, influencers find products/services irrelevant or not worthy of promotion. If that happens, they won’t post. Worst case scenario, they’ll be disappointed and share the negative feedback with their followers.

To avoid such situations, form a connection with the influencer and build trust. Once you have a foundation in your relationship, the risk of getting negative feedback decreases dramatically. Keep an eye on brands that are crushing influencer marketing for inspiration.

Another popular trend in influencer marketing is collaborating through takeovers. Put simply, an influencer takes over your business profile on social media for a certain period (a few hours, a day, or longer) to entertain and engage your followers while promoting your products/services.

There are several benefits of this type of influencer collaboration:

  • You don’t have to come up with content as the influencer is responsible for handling your posts, videos, and stories
  • You get more engagement (views, likes, shares, etc) from the influencer’s followers who are watching the takeover
  • You build authority in your audience and increase your brand awareness

At the same time, be aware of the traps takeovers hide. The main one is giving access to your followers, data, and other valuable information to an influencer is risky. Be certain the person will work in your favor and not cause any damage to your online reputation. Thus, the best way to do takeovers is only with influencers with whom you’ve already worked. Another good idea is to have a discussion beforehand. Learn what the influencer plans to post.

Don’t forget to set metrics and goals in advance so you can measure the success of the collaboration. Is this type of influencer marketing is a good fit for your brand? The metrics will provide insight.

Many businesses collaborate with influencers via social media giveaways. The mechanism is pretty simple and the collaboration is beneficial to both parties: the influencer gets to give away something to their audience (i.e. product or free services) while you, the brand, gain popularity and new followers. There are different types of giveaways: the influencer might ask their audience to simply like, share, or comment on the post to take part in the giveaway. Or they might ask users to tag a friend, answer a question, or follow your brand.

As positive as it sounds, giveaways have downsides. Some social media users only follow your business to participate in the contest and then unfollow shortly after. Or even worse: they might create fake accounts for the giveaway. This results in a bunch of unengaged followers which harms your reach for social media algorithms.

There are other types of influencer marketing worth examining as well. For instance, guest blogging is also a very popular method if your website has a blog. Either accept guest posts on your site or share yours on an influencer’s blog. In both cases, you reach new clients, generate website traffic, and increase your brand awareness.

Some companies prefer to create long-lasting collaborations with influencers by “promoting” them to brand ambassadors. Usually, these influencers are real fans of the brand. They love the opportunity to represent your products/services to their audience. Put time and effort into building relationships with these influencers to create those collabs. It’s a long and complex process, rather than a quick and easy solution.

As influencer marketing is constantly evolving, you might find alternatives to it. The more creative and engaging you seem, the more doors would open for your business. Don’t be afraid to search for new ways to promote your brand.

The Question Is: Traditional Marketing OR Influencer Marketing?

After closely examining the pros and cons of both traditional and influencer marketing, it’s time to assess which works best for your business. To make it easier, here’s a list of the main criteria: reach, cost, measurement, and flexibility.

Reaching New Clients

Who you want to reach is a decisive factor in which type of marketing to choose. If your goal is to connect with more mature and serious buyers, then traditional marketing is the way to go. Yet, the younger audience dominates social media. If you want to reach them, go for influencer marketing. Furthermore, influencer marketing lets you be more precise in targeting your audience thanks to social media features and tools. With traditional marketing, targeting is quite difficult and even impossible with certain methods like billboard campaigns.

Consider the amount of time it takes to reach your potential clients. Direct mail and print handouts get distributed in a short period. Yet, media advertising takes time to craft and plan. Promotional messages are often broadcasted in a few weeks. Influencer marketing, on the other hand, takes less time. Your ad might post immediately or the next day. If you want your message delivered quickly, this is the way to do it.

Cost Efficiency

As traditional marketing has several methods from which to choose, there’s an option for every budget. The most cost-effective mediums are print ads and handouts, radio ads, and direct mail (if done in small quantities). The same applies to influencer marketing: if you can work with influencers for free, for samples, or for a small fixed fee, take advantage of this type of marketing without breaking the bank.

So, figuring out what type of marketing to choose depends on your budget and most of all, your marketing goals. The bigger the goal, the more expensive it will be to fulfill it. Be strategic about targeting. For example, if you’re marketing to millennials, influencer marketing is the way to go.

Measurement and ROI

Without a doubt, influencer marketing offers more options to measure the success of your collaborations. Social media algorithms let you track your followers’ engagement and thus evaluate which collaborations are working and which are not.

On the contrary, it’s hard to measure how many people saw your billboard, newspaper ad, or flier. That doesn’t mean you should reject traditional marketing. Its main goal is to create and increase your brand awareness. So, your focus should be to reach as many people as possible, rather than tracking how your potential customers responded to your ad.


Competition is fierce nowadays, be it offline or online. And while traditional marketing has proven itself over the years, influencer marketing gives you more space to be creative and “flexible” in delivering your message to the audience. You get to collaborate with different influencers on various platforms to reach future customers. Thanks to social media’s constant updates, you can play around with the type of content and thus engage even more people.

If your goal is to capture the attention of a wide audience, consider traditional marketing. The more captivating content you create, the more potential clients you’ll reach.

Wrap Up

When making a final decision, take into consideration all the pros and cons of each type of marketing. Then adjust it accordingly to your social media marketing strategy. Create a version with each method and try to envision how it plays out in the long term. Another good idea is to research your competitors and find out which methods they rely on. Do you consider them successful?

Also, don’t limit yourself to one type of marketing: mix and match different methods such as a billboard campaign for an upcoming event with the face of the influencer who is promoting you online at the same time. Experiment with both traditional and influencer marketing until you find the working formula for your business.