Shortcomings of traditional marketing in creating word-of-mouth

By Kinjal Aacha & Priya Chetty on March 21, 2022

Marketing is one of the significant parts of a business, irrespective of the industry segment (Hendrayati and Pamungkas, 2020). Traditional marketing is a form of marketing and promotional tactic that reaches the audience via offline medium.  Its effect in recent years has been waning with the rising popularity of digital marketing. This article aims at identifying and assessing the shortcomings and disadvantages of the traditional marketing approach in creating word-of-mouth. It also emphasises the significance of word-of-mouth marketing in the long-term sustainability of the business.

Inadequacies or shortcomings of traditional marketing approach

The forms of traditional marketing are print media, direct mail, and broadcast. Print media involves the use of newspaper brochures, magazines, and newsletters, and broadcast is the idea of advertisement shown on radio and television (Torres et. al. 2019). On the other hand, direct mailing is the conventional technique of mailing various materials directly to the target customers, such as fliers, postcards, brochures, and catalogues. In the world of digitization and social media, these platforms are sub-optimal for creating word-of-mouth marketing  (Albarq and Doghan, 2020).

Word-of-mouth is a crucial strategy of business that encourages people to engage with a particular product or brand. It is a kind of free advertising triggered by customer experiences. Word-of-mouth marketing refers to spreading recommendations regarding a brand or a product by consumers. Buyers share their experience of the entire purchasing journey and encourage (or discourage) others to try out any particular brand (Şehirli, 2021). This marketing tactic or promotional effort is beneficial for businesses, as people rely on the recommendations of their friends and families. This concept is essential for business organizations in enhancing sales volume, revenue generation, and thus brand image.

Traditional marketing is less engaging fails to spread word-of-mouth

Considering the shortcomings of traditional marketing, the most significant disadvantage of this approach is that it is less engaging (Kotler, 2017). The engagement and involvement of the target audience in a traditional marketing plan are comparatively less than word-of-mount marketing. Online promotional strategies form a source for informing potential customers about the products or service and encourages engagement among the target audience. Apart from this, advertisements on the radio, TV, and newspaper are relatively expensive for companies (Phulia, Sharma and Rani, 2014). Moreover, traditional promotional strategies tend to push a sales strategy to attract potential customers. They do not create verbal recommendations and most of the time fail to create a buzz.

Lack of customisation and inability to measure returns on investment in traditional marketing

Returns on investment are essential to measuring for a business to measure the success of a marketing campaign. The critical shortcoming of traditional marketing is that it is challenging to measure the return on investment (Bolstad and Høili, 2019). Traditional marketing does not support the company in producing positive views about its offerings. Furthermore, the strategies of traditional marketing plans involve a large group of audiences and cannot be tailored to target a refined target audience and lacks sophisticated segmentation methods (Paula, 2018). Response to a traditional marketing campaign can take several weeks (Qahri-Saremi and Montazemi, 2019). A traditional marketing plan does not offer perks to its target audience as everyone is treated equally, unlike digital marketing strategies where tailored offers can be offered to groups of audiences (Antunes, 2020).


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Priya is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Project Guru, a research and analytics firm based in Gurgaon. She is responsible for the human resource planning and operations functions. Her expertise in analytics has been used in a number of service-based industries like education and financial services.

Her foundational educational is from St. Xaviers High School (Mumbai). She also holds MBA degree in Marketing and Finance from the Indian Institute of Planning and Management, Delhi (2008).

Some of the notable projects she has worked on include:

  • Using systems thinking to improve sustainability in operations: A study carried out in Malaysia in partnership with Universiti Kuala Lumpur.
  • Assessing customer satisfaction with in-house doctors of Jiva Ayurveda (a project executed for the company)
  • Predicting the potential impact of green hydrogen microgirds (A project executed for the Government of South Africa)

She is a key contributor to the in-house research platform Knowledge Tank.

She currently holds over 300 citations from her contributions to the platform.

She has also been a guest speaker at various institutes such as JIMS (Delhi), BPIT (Delhi), and SVU (Tirupati).


I want to work as an academic writer in business management, marketing, and human resource management to develop my knowledge base further and utilizing it.