10 Traditional Marketing Techniques That Still Work Today

people in the office during presentation

Knowing where to invest your marketing budget can be tricky, and getting it wrong can be a setback for many small business owners, side hustlers, and freelancers.  

But with so many marketing strategies available, how do you choose? 

While some traditional marketing techniques are declining, others are going strong, and a select few rule the marketing world. 

Before you invest, you need to know the advantages each brings to your business, and even better, tips on how to use them.

We’ll take a look at 10 such traditional marketing techniques that are proven to produce results.

What Makes Traditional Marketing So Effective?

Traditional marketing still plays an essential role in the advertising world. Even though new marketing technologies are gaining ground, some classic advertising techniques continue to be effective.

Major corporations to mom-and-pop shops use these traditional marketing techniques to connect and build relationships with customers, and their popularity and value show no signs of decreasing.

What makes traditional marketing so effective? Simply put, it works. Here are some reasons why:

A recent Oberlo article on marketing statistics showed that in 2021, traditional marketing accounted for 54% of all advertising revenue. 

So, odds are, there’s a traditional marketing technique that’ll work for your business.  

Let’s begin with one such technique that might surprise you:

1. Direct Mail​

Direct mail refers to physical publications delivered to a potential customer’s mailbox. 

It comes in 2 forms:

  1. Targeted mailing list: Delivered to a chosen demographic of society.
  2. Saturation mail: Delivered to every mailbox in a given neighborhood. 

Many people think direct mail gets thrown straight in the trash, but statistics tell a very different story. 61% of direct mail recipients say that direct mail influences their purchasing decisions. And research shows that 70% of consumers trust direct mail more than digital marketing. 

Surprising, right? 

A recent U.S. Postal Service survey shows that 67% of consumers feel isolated since the pandemic, and 42% rely on mail because of social distancing guidelines.

Advantages of direct mail:

Direct mail marketing also helps new businesses build brand awareness, promote themselves, and form personal connections with prospective customers.  

How to go about it?

2019 study by Pebble Post reported that people like to receive promotional offers the most (everyone loves a deal) and newsletters the least, with catalogs, postcards, and brochures falling in the middle.

2. Cold Calling

Cold calling is a traditional marketing technique used in B2B sales (businesses selling to other businesses). These brands research others that could benefit from their products or services and contact them to establish a relationship and secure a sale. 

And it’s effective! 80% of buyers take meetings with salespeople that reach out to them first. And a 2019 Forrester survey found that 84% of respondents said cold calling was crucial for their communication/sales strategy

Cold calling works for all types of businesses from big operations, to small businesses to one person shows.  It allows you to speak one-on-one with future customers and explain what you’re selling and how it could benefit them. 

Advantages of cold calling:

How to go about it?

I used cold calling when starting my first drop-shipping business. I quickly learned that if you want someone to take your call, know their name and how you can help them before you pick up the phone.

3. Business Cards

Check your wallet, desk, or that one drawer in the kitchen we all use for storing random things. Did you find any business cards? 

I’ve got 9 in my wallet alone!

I have to admit, I like a well-designed business card and I’m not alone. An overwhelming 72% of people form an opinion about a company based on the quality of their business card.

There are other advantages to having a quality business card, as well.

Advantages of having a business card:

While business cards are a more straightforward form of advertising, they still require a high level of design to become a successful direct marketing tool.

How to go about it?

4. Handouts

2 hands holding a flyer

You can’t find a much more traditional marketing technique than handouts. 

Handouts include flyers, pamphlets, postcards, brochures, and any other printed material handed out for free for promotional purposes. 

And they’re proven to grab people’s attention: Up to 78% of consumers glance at messages included in a flyer and 23% of people read them thoroughly.

Advantages of handouts:

Handouts work for all business types because they’re affordable and create brand awareness. Plus, it’s an excellent way to introduce yourself to your local community. (Fun fact: Malls are still the most popular location for distributing handouts).

How to go about it?

5. Print Advertisements

The saying “print is dead” is a myth. Trust me, print advertising is very much alive and kicking. 

Check out these statistics:

Print advertisements mostly appear in newspapers, magazines, free local publications, and brochures. They enable you to reach a vast demographic in your local community and create brand awareness, especially for new businesses. 

Print advertising provides a host of other benefits that might make it worth the investment. 

Advantages of print advertising:

But before you press print, identify the publishing materials your target audience reads. 

For example, real estate agents, designers, and furniture suppliers might advertise in a home décor magazine, while a county newspaper could be more suitable for local eateries, tradespeople, and services. 

How to go about it?

6. Sweepstakes

Sweepstakes are marketing strategies that offer prizes to participants. You randomly choose the winner and no skills or activities are involved.  

It’s a traditional marketing technique that creates a buzz around your brand and promotes your products while giving people the chance to win one. 

The following statistics show why sweepstakes are investable:

Sweepstakes are unmatched in their ability to gain people’s attention because there’s “something in it” for the consumer, but there’s also something for you.

Advantages of sweepstakes:

So, if you want to engage your audience and encourage them to take action, running a sweepstake might be the perfect traditional marketing technique for you.

How to go about it?

7. Referrals

Referrals involve encouraging your existing and past customers to tell others about your business and the benefits it provides.

Also known as word-of-mouth marketing, referrals are probably the best way of promoting your brand, and the following statistics back it up:

And the advantages don’t stop there.

Advantages of referrals:

To encourage customers to refer your business to friends, family members, and online communities, you’ve got to give a little to gain a lot.

How to go about it?

8. Event-Specific Marketing

Event-specific marketing is a strategy where you interact face-to-face with your target audience, such as trade shows, seminars, and conferences.

But it can also suit small businesses and local sports events, tech talks, mini-festivals, or book clubs.

And people love them: 

Advantages of event-specific marketing:

Every event is as unique as its target audience, so you must create and market your content to suit. 

How to go about it?

9. Radio

2 women recoding radio

Radio is my favorite traditional marketing technique because you can tune in during your daily commute or at home. 

Radio advertising consists of commercials between songs, news, and weather reports on AM, FM, and digital channels.

If you’re unsure whether you should invest in radio, check out these statistics:

And businesses use radio for other reasons too. Here are several:

Advantages of radio:

How to go about it? 

Radio advertising falls into 4 categories:

  1. Live reads: When a radio DJ reads an advertisement live online.
  2. On-air personality: A broadcast announcer reads from scripted advertisement materials.
  3. Sponsorships: The station promotes a business that sponsors a radio segment, like traffic or weather.
  4. Produced spots: Incorporating dialogue, sound effects, background music, or a short, catchy jingle.


To choose the perfect time slot for advertising your business, contact a local radio station and ask for their audiences’ demographic data and media kit.

10. Transit Advertising 

Another traditional marketing technique that never gets old is transit advertising. 

It’s those advertisements you see on public transportation, such as trains, subways, buses, and taxis, or in public transport areas like bus stations and train platforms.

According to the American Public Transit Association (APTA), transit advertising reaches almost 83% of commuters on weekdays and 70% on weekends.

It works because you’ve got a captured audience, most of whom ride the same route daily. And the more they see your advertisements, the more familiar they’ll become with your brand.

Advantages of transit advertising:

How to go about it?

Interior ads vary from as little as $50-$120 per month per display, rising to $6,000 for larger advertisements on bus exteriors.


Marketing is an ever-changing entity that requires you to relearn and adapt. 

Why not try some of these traditional (but very effective) marketing techniques and see which works best for you?

And remember: Review the results to ensure your marketing strategy generates tangible outcomes, increases sales, and maintains close-knit relationships with your customers.

This portion of our website is for informational purposes only. Tailor Brands is not a law firm, and none of the information on this website constitutes or is intended to convey legal advice. All statements, opinions, recommendations, and conclusions are solely the expression of the author and provided on an as-is basis. Accordingly, Tailor Brands is not responsible for the information and/or its accuracy or completeness.

Terry is a serial entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience building businesses across multiple industries – construction, real estate, e-commerce, hotelier, and now digital media. When not working, Terry likes to kick back and relax with family, explore Taoism’s mysteries, or savor the taste of fine Italian red wine.