Traditional Advertising vs. Digital Marketing

Randi Grant

By Randi Grant

Marketing Manager

Published February 18, 2016
Updated September 26, 2020

2 min read

Have you ever considered the difference between dental marketing and advertising? While they may sound like the same thing, there are actually many differences between the two. It’s important to know the differences between old-school advertising and online marketing so that you can create the most effective plan possible for getting more new patients into your dental practice.

Here are three questions to ask yourself as we discuss marketing vs. advertising:

  1. Which methods are cost-effective?
  2. Which strategies provide proof of ROI?
  3. Which campaigns better target your ideal new patient?


What is the Difference?

Traditional advertising methods have been the basis of many practices’ “marketing” strategies for years. Radio ads, postcard mailers… we’re all familiar with these common means of promotion.

But advertising alone is not a marketing plan. Advertising is simply a subset of marketing.

Marketing involves having a comprehensive strategy for presenting your practice to your prospective new patients. Advertising, on the other hand, offers a single value statement in a somewhat detached manner. Little effort is made to connect with the community in one ad.

Here are a few examples to illustrate the difference:

  • You advertise a new patient special. You market that regular dental checkups positively impact your overall health.
  • You advertise that your practice treats TMJ. You market the signs and symptoms of TMJ to teach your prospective new patients about a condition they may not know they have.
  • You advertise that your office is located in Albuquerque, NM. You market your practice by telling Albuquerque residents why they should choose you.
  • You advertise with a website. You market by having a patient-friendly design that encourages conversion.
  • You advertise for two weeks. You market every day.

How to Grow Your Practice with Digital Marketing

The Internet has opened up a world of possibilities when it comes to reaching prospective patients. You can digitally connect with your ideal patient through personalized communication that showcases what your practice is all about. Through blogging, social media, SEO, email marketing, and more, you’re able to interact with prospects in a way you simply can’t when relying solely on traditional advertising.

online dental advertisingOnline dental marketing also allows you to better track how your marketing dollars are being spent and which campaigns are producing new patients.

Not only can you use services like Google Analytics to see information about your website visitors and their behavior on your site at a macro level, we’ve developed a proprietary New Patient Tracker to take that information to the next level. This exclusive technology shows our clients exactly which new patients went to their website before care and what channel brought them to the site (Google, Yelp, etc.).

In contrast, it is very hard to track who heard your radio ad or saw your flyer in the local mailer.

With a dental practice website as the hub of all your marketing efforts, you can expand your reach to ensure a steady flow of new patients.