Digital Marketing Vs Traditional Marketing in Nigeria: Which is More Effective?

by Ruth Faithful
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In this jet age, comparing digital marketing influence to that of traditional marketing may sound weird to some Generation Z. But, can I shock you? This article was inspired by a conversation I had with a lady last week. 

A Summary of the Digital Marketing Conversation

Mary deals with anything related to human hair. From hair accessories to hair wigs, and other forms of attachments, she runs a big salon. I was amazed when this young lady confessed to me that she wasn’t a fan of online marketing/selling. She made her reasons clear and I was like, in this century?

Her statements made me wonder for a while before I summoned the courage to educate her. Who knows? She might develop an interest in digital marketing if she was informed. So, I explained everything about digital marketing to her and how she can leverage it to get more sales alongside her offline marketing activities.

Perhaps sometimes, you also think like Mary, then this guide is for you. Here, we will look into digital marketing and traditional marketing methods. Also, we will compare both marketing methods and educate you on how to make the right choice.

Why You Should Consider Digital Marketing

We now live in the days when technology has become the new normal. Technological advancements have influenced almost every area of our lives, most especially marketing. 

Nowadays, businesses in Nigeria strive to boost their reach and impact online. A large percentage of potential customers tend to be highly responsive to technological resources like social media.

This leads us to the question, which marketing method is the most effective in the Nigerian environment? We will figure out that soon.

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First, What is Traditional Marketing in Nigeria?

Traditional marketing refers to the conventional marketing approach that has been in existence since the inception of advertising and marketing concepts. In other words, it is the old-school way of promoting products and services. 

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Traditional marketing in Nigeria.

It involves the utilization of offline channels to connect with potential customers and promote products or services. We have been used to this form of marketing since time immemorial. 

The complimentary cards, flyers, radio adverts, TV jingles, billboards, etc, that Nigerian businesses use to promote their products/services are considered traditional marketing practices.

Now, let’s talk about digital marketing.

What is Digital Marketing in Nigeria?

Digital or online marketing is the promotion of products/services with digital technologies such as the internet, computers, and mobile phones, alongside other digital platforms. It is the use of several marketing strategies and online tools to reach out to both potential and existing customers. 

The benefits of marketing online to businesses abound. From reaching a wider audience to precise targeting, and measurable results, you name them. Businesses leverage online resources and channels like search engines, social media, email, and websites to reach, and connect with people, as well as advertise their products/services to them. 

It has been speculated that digital marketing became popular in Nigeria around 2012 with the inception of e-commerce platforms like Konga and Jumia. Ever since then, the prominence of the digital marketing industry has been on the rise. To a large extent, this digital wave has impacted the way businesses connect with customers. 

Businesses can now reach a larger audience and manage a large customer base easily due to the increasing internet penetration rate and smartphone usage. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have turned into virtual marketplaces for businesses. Their wide range of usage has made them ideal channels for digital marketing campaigns. 

Moreover, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and content marketing have become essential tools for businesses aiming to enhance their online presence.

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Traditional Marketing Vs Digital Marketing: A Closer View

It is noteworthy that the prominence of digital marketing has not eliminated the influence of traditional marketing. Traditional marketing still offers certain advantages such as effective targeting of specific local audiences to businesses. 

Digital marketing as well as traditional marketing have their peculiar merits and demerits. Meanwhile, both methods are effective for promoting your products and services. 

You only need to bear in mind that online marketing uses the power of the internet to target specific demographics and reach a wider audience. While traditional marketing relies solely on physical touchpoints to create tangible connections.

At this juncture, let’s weigh the scale of both marketing methods. This will help to ascertain what you can achieve with each marketing form based on the factors below:

  1. Reach

One major advantage of digital marketing is its accessibility. Online marketing has the potential to reach exponentially more customers than traditional marketing. With the use of digital tools, social media, SEO, email marketing, content creation, paid advertising, etc, businesses can increase brand awareness and customer engagement. It doesn’t stop here. 

Most digital marketing resources are open to all web users, thus providing a broader exposure that businesses can leverage to go global.  

When compared to online marketing, traditional marketing is limited in scope. It can only help businesses target specific local communities effectively, especially in rural areas.

  1. Detailed Targeting

Online marketing allows you to specify your messages and focus on a defined audience. With this marketing method, brands and businesses can focus their marketing efforts on specific customer segments that their products cater to. This reduces guesswork and ensures that marketing messages are directed toward the right audience. 

In contrast, targeting in traditional marketing is often limited to geographical locations and lacks the level of precision you experience with digital marketing.

  1. Cost-Effectiveness

Let’s face it. Compare what it costs to put up a billboard, pay for TV commercials, and print flyers, to what it costs to run social media campaigns, newsletters, or search engine advertisements. The cost difference is clear. 

When compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing proves to be more cost-effective. With various options like display ads and SEO, businesses can adjust their budget and run digital campaigns on social media platforms. 

  1. Measurement and Analytics

With digital tools and resources, businesses can track the success of their marketing campaigns and confirm how they acquire new leads and engage their target audience. All online marketing platforms have provisions for accessing real-time and accurate data on campaigns’ performances.

Analyzing this data will help business owners to identify the most effective strategies, and make informed decisions. In contrast, this level of precision and measurement is not readily available in traditional marketing. This in turn can make it difficult for businesses to accurately assess the impact of their marketing efforts. 

  1. Engagement

Customer engagement is the heartbeat of digital marketing. With the availability of interactive options like comments, likes, and shares on social media, businesses are encouraged to interact with customers, understand their needs and address their challenges through feedback. 

This can help to increase sales and foster stronger customer relationships. In contrast,  traditional marketing has no provision for such a level of direct engagement. Rather, it is a one-way communication groove, with limited opportunities for customer interaction. Nonetheless, it can create brand recognition through repetitive exposure.

  1. Adaptability

Modifying your campaigns is easier with online marketing. There is provision for targeting and even retargeting specific real-time demographics, objectives, interests, behaviours, etc.

In contrast, traditional marketing has no room for such flexibility. Rather, it requires you to give in substantial time and effort to make changes or reach different audiences.


Both digital marketing and traditional marketing in Nigeria have their unique advantages. There will continue to be controversies regarding which one is the most effective. Hence, we implore you to make a decision based on your preferences and certain factors.

Your choice can be dependent on factors such as target audience, industry, budget, and marketing goals. Most businesses today use a combination of both marketing strategies to maximize their efforts. However, don’t follow the crowd. Make an informed decision.

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About Author

Avatar of Ruth Faithful
Ruth Faithful
Ruth Faithful is an educationist and a highly skilled freelance writer with a knack for crafting top-notch engaging and compelling on-brand copies and content that connects with readers and delivers results for businesses and brands. She is a passionate advocate for personal development and self-actualization. She is dedicated to helping individuals and businesses thrive.

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