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Social Media
Digital Marketing

8 Types of Marketing Explained

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Learn about eight essential types of marketing to help grow your business, from traditional marketing to digital marketing and more.

Marketing is the most critical element of any business. Everything else you do is in service to finding, satisfying, and retaining customers. How we market businesses constantly evolves as technology changes the way we connect with each other and our customers. Ideal marketing tactics also vary for businesses based on things like industry, location, target market, who your competitors are, and much more.

This article outlines the key marketing strategies and will help you decide what’s right for your business.

1. Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing includes methods used for decades, even centuries, to reach potential customers. These methods are often considered more tangible and direct than their digital counterparts, involving physical materials and personal interactions. Traditional marketing primarily relies on offline media channels to get messages to a broad audience, and it has played a crucial role in developing marketing strategies over the years. Despite the rise of digital marketing, traditional marketing is a viable marketing technique, especially for certain types of businesses and demographics.

We've used traditional marketing techniques here at Peak, including sponsoring my kid's soccer league, to help get us in front of more local customers in the Reno/Tahoe/Truckee area.

The key types of traditional marketing:

  • Print Advertising: This involves placing advertisements in newspapers, magazines, brochures, and flyers. Depending on the publication, print ads can target local, regional, or national audiences.
  • Broadcast Advertising: This includes television and radio (or even podcast) commercials, which can reach a broad audience quickly. TV ads can be extra impactful (but also more expensive) due to their visual nature. 
  • Outdoor Advertising: Billboards, posters, and transit ads (e.g., bus and subway ads) are designed to capture the attention of commuters and pedestrians. This method might seem outdated until you visit San Francisco and see every big tech company's billboard or sign in the airport.
  • Direct Mail: If you're old enough, you'll remember getting an insane amount of AOL CD-ROMs delivered to your mailbox - this is a great example of direct mail: sending promotional materials, such as catalogs, postcards, and newsletters, or even the product itself, directly to consumers' mailboxes.
  • Telemarketing: Reaching out to potential customers via cold phone calls to promote products or services. Telemarketing can be used for direct sales or to gather customer feedback, and is also very annoying for consumers.

Best Suited For

  • Local businesses: Channels like newspapers or radio stations, makes it easy to to reach a geographically specific audience.
  • Established brands: If you have a bigger budget, more expensive channels like television or radio ads are more viable.
  • B2C businesses: Generally print, broadcast, and outdoor advertising is better for consumer-facing companies.

2. Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the use of online channels to promote products, services, or brands. There are several key types:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Optimizing a website’s content and structure to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). The goal is to increase organic traffic by making the site more visible to users searching for relevant keywords. Our blog posts here at Peak are part of an SEO strategy, where we try and rank for things we believe our target customers are searching for.
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: PPC campaigns, such as Google Ads, involve paying for ads at the top of search engine results. Advertisers are charged each time a user sees or clicks on the ad, making it a cost-effective way to drive targeted traffic.
  • Social Media Marketing: We’ll discuss this more later, but this strategy leverages platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok to promote content, engage with followers, and build brand awareness. Social media marketing can include both organic efforts and paid advertising.
  • Email Marketing: Sending targeted emails to a list of subscribers to nurture leads, promote products, and maintain customer relationships. Email marketing can be highly personalized, for example including items from your store that the recipient viewed previously, and used to nurture new or prospective customers through an onboarding campaign.
  • Content Marketing: Creating and sharing content, such as blog posts, videos, or e-books, helps attract and retain a clearly defined audience. The focus is on providing helpful information that addresses the needs and interests of potential customers. We’ll discuss this in more detail later.
  • Affiliate Marketing: A performance-based strategy that involves partnering with affiliates who promote a business’s products or services in exchange for a commission on sales or leads generated through their efforts. We’ll also discuss this in more detail later.
  • Influencer Marketing: Collaborating with influencers—individuals with a significant online following—helps brands reach new audiences through authentic endorsements and content. We go into further detail on this later in the article.

Best Suited For

  • Startups and small businesses: You can generally get started with most digital marketing on a limited (or non-existent) budget.
  • E-commerce: If you want to sell something online, it’s best to connect with your customers there.
  • Businesses targeting a tech-savvy audience: Similar to above - Go to where your customers are.
  • Analytics-focused: Companies looking to track and measure their marketing efforts effectively will have more success on digital channels where its easier to track customers from where they discover you through to purchase.

3. Content Marketing

Content is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating, publishing, and distributing valuable and consistent content to attract and engage a clearly defined audience. The goal is to drive profitable customer action by providing content that addresses the needs and interests of potential customers, thereby building trust and establishing yourself as an authority. Unlike traditional advertising, which directly promotes a product or service, content aims to deliver information that educates, entertains, inspires, or helps solve a problem for the audience.

Content marketing is particularly effective for building long-term customer relationships and nurturing leads through the sales funnel. By consistently providing valuable content, businesses can position themselves as trusted resources, ultimately driving brand loyalty. It can be a bit of a slow burn, however - it takesa considerable resource and time before you gain traction.

There are various forms of content marketing, including:

  • Blogs and Articles: Regularly updated blog posts and articles that provide insights, tips, and news related to the industry or niche. This works hand in hand with search engine optimization and search engine marketing to drive organic traffic to the website. Blogs form a core part of our marketing strategy here at Peak Digital Studio.
  • E-books and Whitepapers: In-depth guides and reports that offer comprehensive information on specific topics. These are often used as lead magnets to capture contact information from potential customers in exchange for the content.
  • Webinars and Podcasts: Live or recorded audio and video sessions that allow businesses to connect with their audience in a more personal and interactive way. Webinars and podcasts can cover industry trends, expert interviews, and how-to guides.
  • Videos and Tutorials: Engaging visual content that can explain complex concepts, demonstrate product usage, or share customer testimonials. Videos are highly shareable and can significantly boost engagement on social media and websites.
  • Case Studies and Testimonials: Real-life examples of how a product or service has benefited customers. These stories build credibility and provide social proof to potential buyers.


  • Peak Digital Studio: Not to toot our own horn, but our blog is an example of content marketing, where we aim to create articles that help our audiences inform themselves or solve problems they have.
  • HubSpot: A leading example of content marketing, HubSpot’s blog offers extensive resources on inbound marketing, sales, and customer service, helping to establish the company as a thought leader in the industry.
  • Red Bull: Through its magazine “The Red Bulletin” and a variety of extreme sports videos, Red Bull creates content that aligns perfectly with its brand image, engaging its adventurous audience.
  • Moz: Known for its comprehensive guides and educational content on SEO, Moz uses content marketing to attract marketers looking to improve their SEO skills. I constantly find myself on the Moz blog when trying to clarify an SEO concept.

Best Suited For

  • B2B Companies: Businesses aiming to establish thought leadership and provide in-depth information that helps businesses make informed decisions or be better at their job (e.g., tech firms, consultancies).
  • Businesses with Expertise to Share: Companies with valuable knowledge or unique insights into their industry (e.g., educational institutions, professional services).
  • Companies Looking to Improve Organic Reach: By consistently publishing high-quality content, businesses can improve their search engine rankings and attract more organic traffic to their website.

4. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing involves using social media platforms to promote a product, service, or brand to a targeted audience. This form of marketing leverages the user bases and interactive nature of social media sites to engage with customers, build brand awareness, and drive traffic to a business's website. Social media marketing includes both organic activities—such as posting content and engaging with followers—and paid advertising campaigns.

Like other digital marketing techniques, social media marketing allows for better analytics and tracking of customers from awareness to when they make a purchase.

Key components of social media marketing include:

  • Platform: Choosing the right social media platforms based on where the target audience spends their time. Major platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
  • Content Creation: Developing engaging content that resonates with the target audience. This can include text posts, images, videos, stories, live streams, and interactive content like polls and quizzes.
  • Community Engagement: Interacting with followers by responding to comments, messages, and mentions. Building a community around the brand creates loyalty and encourages user-generated content.
  • Advertising: Utilizing paid advertising options on social media platforms to reach a larger or more targeted audience.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Tracking the performance of social media campaigns using platform analytics tools. Metrics such as engagement rate, reach, impressions, and conversion rate help in measuring success and refining strategies.


  • Facebook and Instagram Ads: Businesses can run highly targeted ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram, leveraging demographic data, interests, and behaviors to reach potential customers. These platforms also offer robust tools for tracking ad performance. They also have a high learning curve, so consider finding someone who can help you.
  • LinkedIn for B2B Marketing: LinkedIn is an effective platform for B2B companies to network with professionals, share industry insights, and generate leads through content and targeted ads.
  • Twitter for Customer Service: Many brands use Twitter to provide customer support and engage in real-time conversations with their audience, addressing inquiries and resolving issues quickly.
  • TikTok for Creative Campaigns: Brands targeting younger demographics use TikTok to create viral content, participate in challenges, and collaborate with influencers to boost brand visibility.

Best Suited For

  • Brands Targeting Younger Demographics: Platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat are ideal for reaching younger audiences with creative and engaging content.
  • Businesses with Visually Appealing Products or Services: Companies in industries such as fashion, food, travel, and lifestyle can showcase their offerings through high-quality images and videos on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
  • Companies Looking to Build a Community: Social media is perfect for brands that want to engage with their customers, gather feedback, and create a loyal following. This is especially true for niche markets and lifestyle brands.
  • Businesses Seeking Direct Customer Interaction: Platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow for direct communication with customers, making them ideal for customer service and real-time engagement.

5. Influencer Marketing

Perhaps the most annoying type of marketing (sorry influencers), influencer marketing involves partnering with influential individuals on social media who have a substantial following and can impact the purchasing decisions of their audience. These influencers create and share content that promotes a brand's products or services, leveraging their credibility and reach to drive attention to your business. This marketing strategy can be highly effective due to the personal connection influencers have with their followers, who often view their recommendations as trustworthy.

As annoying as I find this marketing strategy, it is effective, even on me. I own a Blackstone Griddle because they kept popping up in my Instagram Reels.

Key components include:

  • Identifying the Right Influencers: Finding influencers who align with the brand's values, target audience, and marketing goals. Influencers can range from celebrities and macro-influencers with millions of followers to micro-influencers with smaller but highly engaged audiences.
  • Establishing Partnerships: Collaborating with influencers to create content that showcases the brand authentically. This can include sponsored posts, product reviews, unboxing videos, takeovers, and more.
  • Content Creation: Working with influencers to produce high-quality, engaging content that resonates with their audience. This content should highlight the brand naturally and fit seamlessly into the influencer's usual posts.
  • Tracking and Measuring: Monitoring the performance of influencer campaigns using metrics such as reach, engagement, clicks, conversions, and return on investment (ROI). Tools and analytics platforms can help track these metrics.


  • Sponsored Posts and Product Placements: Influencers share posts on their social media channels featuring the brand's product, often accompanied by a personal recommendation or review. This can include photos, videos, or stories on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
  • Influencer Takeovers: An influencer temporarily takes over the brand’s social media account, sharing content and engaging with the brand’s audience. This can create excitement and draw the influencer’s followers to the brand’s account.
  • Unboxing and Review Videos: Influencers create videos showcasing the unboxing of a product and providing a detailed review. This format is popular on YouTube and Instagram.
  • Giveaways and Contests: Partnering with influencers to host giveaways or contests can boost brand awareness and engagement. Followers participate for a chance to win the brand’s products, often by following the brand and engaging with the post.

Best Suited For

  • Fashion and Beauty Brands: These industries benefit greatly from influencer marketing due to the visual nature of the products. Influencers can demonstrate how to use products and show real-life results.
  • Health and Fitness Products: Influencers in the fitness and wellness niches can effectively promote supplements, workout gear, and health programs by sharing their personal experiences and fitness routines.
  • Lifestyle and Travel Companies: Influencers who focus on travel, food, and lifestyle can create compelling narratives and visually appealing content that showcases destinations, experiences, and products.
  • Tech and Gadget Brands: Tech influencers can provide in-depth reviews, tutorials, and demonstrations of new gadgets and software, helping to build credibility and interest among tech-savvy audiences.

6. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy where businesses reward affiliates (partners) for driving traffic, leads, or sales to their website through the affiliate's marketing efforts. Affiliates earn a commission for each action completed, such as a sale or a lead, which is tracked via unique affiliate links or codes. This type of marketing allows businesses to expand their reach and sales without upfront costs, as affiliates are only paid for actual performance. We employ an affiliate marketing strategy, where anyone who refers us a client gets a percentage of revenue generated from that client for a year (email us if you’d like to be an affiliate).

Key components of affiliate marketing include:

  • Affiliate Networks and Platforms: Businesses can join affiliate networks or platforms that connect them with potential affiliates. These networks handle tracking, reporting, and payment processing, simplifying the process for both the business and the affiliate.
  • Affiliate Recruitment: Identifying and recruiting affiliates who align with the brand and target audience. These can include bloggers, influencers, industry experts, and content creators with a relevant following.
  • Commission Structure: Establishing a commission structure that incentivizes affiliates to promote the brand. This can be a percentage of sales, a fixed amount per sale, or a fee per lead or click.
  • Tracking and Analytics: Using tracking software to monitor affiliate-generated traffic, leads, and sales. This ensures accurate commission payments and helps assess the effectiveness of the affiliate program.
  • Promotional Materials: Providing affiliates with marketing materials such as banners, product images, and copy to ensure consistent and effective promotion.


  • Amazon Associates: One of the largest and most well-known affiliate programs, where affiliates earn commissions by promoting Amazon products through their unique links.
  • ShareASale: An affiliate network that connects merchants with a large pool of affiliates, offering a variety of products and services to promote.
  • Bloggers and Review Sites: Websites that review products and include affiliate links in their content, earning commissions from readers who make purchases through those links.
  • Coupon and Deal Websites: Sites that share discount codes and special offers, earning a commission on sales generated through their affiliate links.

Best Suited For

  • E-commerce and Online Retailers: Businesses selling products online can benefit greatly from affiliate marketing by reaching a wider audience through affiliates’ promotional efforts.
  • Digital Products and Services: Companies offering software, online courses, or subscription services can use affiliates to drive sales and sign-ups, often providing high commission rates due to low marginal costs.
  • Niche Markets: Brands operating in niche markets can leverage affiliates who have a strong presence and influence within those specific communities, driving highly targeted traffic and conversions.
  • Startups and Small Businesses: Affiliate marketing provides a cost-effective way to increase sales and brand awareness without significant upfront investment, as affiliates are only paid for actual results.

7. Event Marketing

Event marketing involves creating, promoting, and participating in events to engage with customers, generate leads, and build brand awareness. Events can range from large-scale conferences and trade shows to more intimate gatherings like webinars and workshops. The goal is to create memorable experiences that foster direct interaction between the brand and its audience, enhancing relationships and driving business objectives.

Here at Peak we do quite a bit of event marketing. We host regular online workshops and attend tradeshows and startup weeks. I’ve found that despite an increasingly Zoom-heavy  online world (particularly post-COVID), being able to talk with someone in person is way more effective than via email or video call.

Key components of event marketing include:

  • Event Planning: Identifying the purpose of the event, setting objectives, and determining the target audience. This includes selecting the type of event, whether it’s a conference, trade show, webinar, workshop, or experiential event.
  • Promotion: Developing a marketing plan to promote the event through various channels, including email marketing, social media, content marketing, and partnerships. This helps attract the right attendees and build excitement around the event.
  • Execution: Managing the logistics of the event, such as venue selection, registration, speaker coordination, and technical setup. Ensuring the event runs smoothly and provides value to attendees is crucial.
  • Engagement: Creating opportunities for attendees to interact with the brand, such as through product demonstrations, Q&A sessions, networking opportunities, and interactive exhibits.
  • Follow-up: Engaging with attendees post-event through follow-up emails, surveys, and content sharing. This helps maintain the relationship and can turn event attendees into long-term customers.


  • Industry Conferences and Trade Shows: Large-scale events where businesses can showcase their products, network with industry peers, and attend educational sessions. Examples include CES for technology, SXSW for media and technology, and HubSpot’s INBOUND for marketing.
  • Webinars and Online Summits: Virtual events that allow businesses to reach a global audience without geographical constraints. These events often feature expert speakers, interactive sessions, and downloadable resources.
  • Product Launch Events: Events designed to introduce a new product or service to the market. These can be in-person or virtual and are often accompanied by live demonstrations and exclusive offers.
  • Workshops and Training Sessions: Smaller, more focused events that provide hands-on learning experiences. These are ideal for industries that benefit from practical demonstrations, such as tech or creative fields.
  • Experiential Marketing Events: Unique, immersive experiences designed to engage consumers on a deeper level. Examples include pop-up shops, interactive installations, and branded events at festivals.

Best Suited For

  • B2B Companies: Businesses that operate in the B2B space can benefit from trade shows, conferences, and workshops to network, connect with leads, and showcase their expertise.
  • Technology and Innovation-driven Industries: Companies in tech, healthcare, and other innovative fields can use events to demonstrate complex products and services, engage with early adopters, and stay ahead of industry trends.
  • Retail and Consumer Brands: Brands looking to create memorable experiences and build strong customer relationships can leverage experiential events and product launches to generate buzz and drive sales.
  • Educational Institutions and Training Providers: Organizations that offer educational products or services can use workshops, seminars, and webinars to provide value and attract new students or clients.

8. Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an unconventional marketing strategy that aims to achieve maximum exposure and impact with minimal resources. It involves creative, often unexpected, tactics designed to generate buzz and leave a lasting impression on the audience. The essence of guerrilla marketing is to surprise, engage, and create a memorable experience that encourages word-of-mouth promotion and viral sharing.

Guerilla marketing doesn’t necessarily need to be super creative or edgy. I recently saw an article about a fellow web developer who made a bunch of lawn signs that just said “Need a Website?” with his phone number and posted them around town, which got him three new clients in a week.

Key components of guerrilla marketing include:

  • Creativity and Innovation: Employing unique and imaginative ideas that capture attention and stand out from traditional marketing efforts. This often involves thinking outside the box and taking risks.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Utilizing low-cost methods to maximize impact. Guerrilla marketing relies on creativity rather than large budgets, making it an attractive option for small businesses and startups.
  • Engagement: Creating interactive and immersive experiences that involve the audience directly. This can include street performances, flash mobs, or interactive installations.
  • Viral Potential: Designing campaigns with the potential to go viral, leveraging social media and word-of-mouth to amplify the reach and impact of the campaign.


  • Street Art and Graffiti: Using public spaces to create eye-catching murals or graffiti that convey a brand message or promote a product. Examples include murals that transform urban environments or clever sidewalk chalk art.
  • Flash Mobs: Organizing spontaneous performances in public places that draw crowds and generate buzz. These events can be shared widely on social media, extending their reach.
  • Publicity Stunts: Creating bold and memorable stunts that attract media attention and public interest. Examples include unique product demos, record-breaking attempts, or surprising public acts.
  • Pop-up Shops and Experiences: Setting up temporary retail spaces or interactive installations in unexpected locations to engage passersby and create a sense of urgency and exclusivity.
  • Ambient Marketing: Integrating promotional materials into the environment in surprising ways. This can include placing stickers, posters, or props in unusual locations to catch people off guard.

Best Suited For

  • Small Businesses and Startups: Companies with limited marketing budgets can leverage guerrilla marketing to create significant impact without spending a lot of money. The focus on creativity and innovation levels the playing field against larger competitors.
  • Brands Targeting Urban and Youth Markets: Guerrilla marketing works well in urban settings where high foot traffic and social media usage can amplify the reach of campaigns. It is particularly effective for brands targeting younger, more socially connected audiences.
  • Companies Launching New Products: To generate buzz and excitement around a new product, businesses can use guerrilla tactics to create memorable launch events or surprise-and-delight moments that encourage sharing and media coverage.
  • Brands Seeking to Revitalize Their Image: Companies looking to change public perception or re-engage with their audience can use guerrilla marketing to make a bold statement and capture attention in a fresh, unexpected way.


As you can see, each of these 8 marketing strategies have their place. Even “old-school” techniques like print advertising is great for some businesses, while influencer marketing works better for others. Outbound marketing, which pushes messages out to a broad audience through interruptive methods, can also be effective in raising awareness. Additionally, word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful tool for generating anticipation and leveraging personal recommendations. Developing your marketing strategy is all about hypothesis testing, finding what works best for you, and constantly refining your approach to improve over time. I believe strongly in testing multiple marketing approaches, even ones that might seem outlandish, in as cost-effective way as possible. You never know what might work, and the more out of the box you go, the less likely one of your competitors is doing the same.

Marketing Types FAQs

What are the two types of marketing channels?

The two primary channels are direct and indirect channels. Direct marketing involves selling products directly to consumers without intermediaries, such as through a company's website or retail store. Indirect marketing includes intermediaries like wholesalers, distributors, and retailers that help move products from the manufacturer to the consumer.

What are the 4 types of marketing strategies?

The four marketing strategies are market penetration, product development, market development, and diversification. Market penetration focuses on increasing sales of existing products to the current market. Product development involves creating new products for the current market. Market development targets new markets with existing products, and diversification involves introducing new products to new markets.

Nike’s sneakers are an example of which of the following types of marketing offerings?

Nike’s sneakers are an example of product marketing. This type of marketing focuses on promoting and selling a specific product, highlighting its features, benefits, and value to the consumer.

What are the four types of marketing segmentation?

The four marketing segmentation types are demographic, psychographic, geographic, and behavioral segmentation. Demographic segmentation divides the market by age, gender, income, etc. Psychographic segmentation considers lifestyle and personality traits. Geographic segmentation targets consumers based on location, and behavioral segmentation focuses on consumer behaviors and usage patterns.

Which of the following is not one of the three basic types of marketing analytics?

Predictive analytics, descriptive analytics, and prescriptive analytics are the three basic types of marketing analytics. Any option not fitting these categories, such as "exploratory analytics," is not one of the basic types.

What are the four main types of marketing assets?

The four main types of marketing assets are brand assets, digital assets, content assets, and customer data. Brand assets include logos and trademarks. Digital assets encompass websites and social media profiles. Content assets involve blogs and videos, while customer data includes demographics and purchase histories.

What are the two major types of marketing?

The two major types of marketing are inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Inbound marketing focuses on attracting customers through content and engagement, whereas outbound marketing involves reaching out to potential customers through advertising and promotions.

What are the types of marketing emails?

Types of marketing emails include promotional emails, informational emails, transactional emails, and re-engagement emails. Promotional emails offer special deals and discounts. Informational emails provide updates and news. Transactional emails confirm orders or notify shipping, while re-engagement emails aim to reconnect with inactive subscribers.

What are the different types of marketing campaigns?

Different types of marketing campaigns include product launch campaigns, brand awareness campaigns, email marketing campaigns, social media campaigns, and seasonal or holiday campaigns. Each campaign type is designed to achieve specific marketing objectives and engage with the target audience.

Matthew Johnson

Published on

July 5, 2024