Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing in the Automotive Industry

Traditional vs Digital Marketing Chicago, IL

The world of marketing and advertising, like the rest of the world, has become increasingly digitally centric over the years. With the evolution of technology and the consumer habits that have followed, digital strategies have become vital to the marketing mix of companies within the automotive industry. Should you go all-digital, though? Is there still room for traditional marketing efforts?

Our experts at Epsilon Individual Automotive have the answers to those questions and many others in this guide that compares traditional marketing vs. digital marketing in the automotive industry.

Drawing the Distinction Between Traditional and Digital

Traditional vs Digital Marketing Chicago, IL It is first important to lay the groundwork, establishing the differences between what is considered traditional marketing and what is considered digital.Traditional marketing encompasses any advertising or promotion that takes place “offline.” This could be billboards, radio read-overs, TV spots, magazine and other print ads, business cards, coupons, mailers, and more.

Digital marketing, on the other hand, are efforts that take place online, in the digital world. Email marketing, SEO (search engine optimization), content creation, social media marketing, sponsored content, and working with digital influencers are all examples of this.

There Are Benefits to Both…

Traditional vs Digital Marketing Chicago, IL

As you would expect, both digital marketing and traditional marketing offer their own unique set of benefits.

Looking at traditional marketing, your efforts will be more tangible and personal, more accessible to everyone allowing you to boost awareness, and will be more direct. Traditional marketing campaigns typically also offer more longevity over time.

Digital marketing can also prove quite appealing as it is quite cost-efficient, offers you the ability to reach more focused audiences and customize executions, and is flexible in terms of meeting consumers in different forums. Digital marketing can also be changed on the fly, so, if you want to make edits to your campaign, you can.

With benefits associated with each marketing method, it begs the question, is one really better than the other?

A Hypothetical Case Study for Dealership XYZ

Traditional vs Digital Marketing Chicago, IL Let’s say that Dealership XYZ has been established for over 30 years, achieving great success and building an impressive consumer base. Over the years, Dealership XYZ has stuck to traditional marketing methods, with a heavy emphasis on TV, radio, and direct mailing. With these marketing efforts, they’ve been able to build long-lasting relationships with their consumers that have been leveraged into more sales over time.

Recently, some within the dealership’s leadership team have begun to wonder whether or not implementing some digital marketing strategies may help grow the business even further, but they don’t know where to begin. Is it worth the investment? Will they see a positive ROI in the immediate term? Will it mix well with their traditional marketing methods?

All of these are valid questions. Incorporating new marketing methods can feel like navigating unchartered waters, but the good news for Dealership XYZ is that traditional marketing and digital marketing methods coexist quite well.

Direct mail, for example, is highly engaging. Accordingly, you can utilize this to keep your current consumer base engaged with your business. When it comes to acquiring new customers and prospecting new leads, though, digital marketing, say SEO, could be more effective and be able to target high-intent leads based on keywords. So, for Dealership XYZ, it could be very beneficial to continue sending direct mail to their existing customers while implementing an SEO strategy to target new customers at the same time.

These two media are just two examples, and you can mix and match any one of a number of traditional and digital marketing methods and achieve success if your reasoning is rooted in research and data.

Elevating Your Marketing Mix with Data Solutions

Traditional vs Digital Marketing Chicago, IL

Leaning into data is a great way to mix your traditional marketing methods with digital ones. With data on your current consumer base, you know who to target moving forward. Whether it’s via data-targeted direct mail or you’re looking to establish a voice for yourself via social media, you will know who you are going after based on the data you have already collected.

Utilizing data solutions, you can also track how well your campaigns are performing. Utilizing measuring points such as click-through rate, open rate, and others, you can successfully track how many people are engaging with your marketing efforts. Again, you can collect data via traditional marketing efforts, too. Incorporating a scannable QR code into your direct mailing material, for example, can help you see how many people redeem the coupon you sent.

These are both great examples of how the two methods have mixed over time, both incorporating data into their DNA.

Marketing Measurability


Hopefully, after checking out this comparison of traditional marketing vs. digital marketing in the automotive industry, you’ll have a better idea of how each can help you achieve sales success. When balanced effectively, traditional and digital efforts can create a cohesive marketing plan for your dealership.

Want to learn more? Give our team here at Epsilon Individual Automotive a call or shoot us an email. With years and years of experience across our team, we’ll be happy to assist you!