Marketing is a pivotal component of any business and must be accorded the attention it deserves. An appreciation of just that only isn’t enough because you must be able to conduct effective business marketing initiatives. There are two broad options available to every business namely, digital marketing and mass media marketing. In this article, I’ll differentiate those two and also touch on the dynamics characterising each marketing method. Just to put something into perspective, marketing isn’t optional but is actually imperative to be in right standing regarding that

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing connotes marketing that’s done through the use of the internet and social media. Studies and even snap surveys show that digital marketing is now more popular nowadays. One of the contributing factors to this is the widespread use of mobile devices. Mobile devices are now equipped with the capacity for one to get anything done on them. This includes things like mobile banking, e-commerce and entertainment, among numerous others.

Mass Media Marketing

Mass media marketing can also be referred to as traditional marketing. The most popular and broad segments of mass media marketing are print, broadcast, direct mail, telephone and outdoor. Mass media marketing has always been the mainstay of business marketing for many years but the trends have shifted. Particularly here in Zimbabwe mass media marketing isn’t that preferred anymore. This can be noticed in the low to none broadcasting of ads on radio or TV.

Specificity And Customizability

Digital marketing rules because of its ability to facilitate targeted marketing. Targeting features available on social media platforms, search engine optimization employed in content marketing and email marketing are some of the many targeting tools available. For instance, through the use of Google Adwords, one can have their business ads displayed once someone types in a related keyword in a Google search. On social media platforms, you can target by location, age, sex and so on. In digital marketing, it’s so easy to customize an ad whenever needs are. It’s so easy to bring down an ad, edit it or put up another one. You can easily tailor your ads in relation to insights drawn from your audience. This is made possible because you can interact with them getting their comments. In essence, two-way communication with your customers or audience is easy to do in digital marketing – there’s engagement.

In mass media marketing you are just sending out an ad to a mixed pool of people. You’ll only be hoping that in the process prospective customers get reached. In principle, this means it’s possible to actually not spread brand awareness because it’s somehow a gamble. Suppose you place an ad on TV or radio you’ve no guarantee that the viewership or listenership during the time your ad is aired will be your specific target demographic. Changing an ad or updating an ad is quite hectic for mass media marketing. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to pay for an expensive billboard that’ll be irrelevant in less than a week. If you place an ad on radio or TV and it’s aired, any subsequent change that you might want to institute will entail paying for a whole new ad.


Mass media advertising is known to be extremely expensive. Imagine if it’s radio or TV you’ll be bidding for prime time slots against other several interested advertisers. This obviously pushes the cost high due to that pressing demand for ad placement. Even other mass media marketing methods such as billboards or direct mail are quite expensive and hectic to execute. Recently at church, we ran an initial batch of some fliers, posters and banners for publicizing an upcoming church program and the money we used was USD2000. That’s just to give you an insight into how expensive mass media can be.

The story is quite different on the internet and social media though. From as little as USD3 you can post an ad or boost an ad post that can reach more than a thousand people. Even with the right application of content marketing techniques, you can still reach many people through organic (unpaid) posts or search engine optimized blog posts. Search engine optimization basically deals with the strategic use of keywords or phrases in blog posts or social media posts in order to increase their discoverability through search engine searches. Content marketing entails the strategic use of storytelling through text or video to promote products or services.

Measuring ROI (Return On Investment)

The measurement of various important metrics is not really possible in mass media marketing. When you place an ad on radio or TV how are you going to know how many took heed of it? How are you going to know people’s reactions towards it? Overall, how will you measure the effectiveness of your ad? This just goes to show you that mass media marketing is seriously flawed and lacks the measurability aspect. You can spend lots of money investing in futile marketing campaigns and you might never even realise it.

In digital marketing, you’re able to draw valuable insights on metrics such as impressions (i.e. likes, shares, comments), clicks or reach. This enables you to be able to measure how successful your digital marketing campaign was. If you’re using a website you can use Google Analytics to get insights on metrics such as reach, click-throughs, traffic sources, age groups, sex, amongst many others.

So all in all, what am I saying to you? Invest and focus more on digital marketing BUT don’t completely shun mass media marketing. Mass media marketing still plays a vital role in pushing brand awareness. I would recommend the use of both broad marketing channels (i.e. digital marketing and mass media marketing). Though one should be more inclined on digital marketing because it wields many valuable benefits some of which I’ve discussed in this article. With proper consideration and planning, both digital marketing and mass media marketing can be used symbiotically.