Many people believe that offline marketing is swinging its death throes in 2012, but I disagree. If it were then you would see smaller and smaller ads pages in newspapers and magazines. Billboards would be receding into nothingness and television breaks would be shorter. None of these statements are true, but it is true that online marketing has come to the forefront of the mind of the organisation.
Social media is taking an increasingly larger hand in the way that we market our products. Operating through Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms can mimic the advantages of offline marketing. Offline marketing tends to reach a wider but untargeted audience whereas online marketing reaches smaller amounts of people but they are from the desired market. By taking advantages of sidebars and ads on social platforms, one can reach the entire expanse of users registered to that website (much like billboards can reach the entire expanse of drivers on a certain road.) However, via ‘Shares,’ ‘Likes’ and ‘+1s’ social media users can distribute the marketing throughout their extended network and to friends and family whom they know will have an interest.
Online marketing is a great way to go about things for a number of reasons including low cost, eco credentials and ease of use. But there a few areas in which it is difficult to gain a foothold through the internet. One area in which offline marketing is still a powerful tool is locality. Even with the advent of Google Maps and other location based searches, the immediate domain of your business can often seem a million miles away in terms of online presence. The trouble is, you have just as much chance of connecting with somebody in California as you do in Florida. Maintaining a street level presence is key in terms of attracting local business. You cannot get those people passing your company on the street to come into your building through internet advertisement. Put your signs out; market yourself at an asphalt level.
Business to Customer relations are difficult to develop solely online. How pleased are you with the service of eBay and Amazon? You’re content, but it’s a very robotic experience and it’s not pleasure with your transaction process that drives you back. Think of your local store, you know the proprietor or the staff and they’re always friendly and polite. You like to give them your business and you enjoy the mutually beneficial relationship that you develop on a personal level. It’s okay if you are eBay or Amazon and you can draw back customers through your sheer size and power but unless you’re a monolith in your field, developing and nurturing customer relationships should be of great help and value to you.
It’s difficult to think of those monopolising their online fields as physical companies. We have no idea how big online corporations work and it’s a much removed process. Letters and receipts are computerised, signed with digital signatures and encased in branded packaging. We wouldn’t be overly surprised to find out that the entire process was robotic. Maintaining an offline presence is important to create a tangible and approachable feel. Flyers, stickers and merchandise in your business locality can help customers think of you as an available establishment.
It’s so easy to delete an e-mail, skip over it or even miss it entirely through temperamental junk filter settings. It is also very easy to ignore ads and close pop-ups. The real benefit of offline marketing is the human, in-your-face element. Receiving a letter through your door, addressed to you in plain terms and a plain envelope will more likely than not, make you open it. Here you’ve achieved the most important step in marketing, garnering the audience’s attention. Once snagged, as long as your content is good and their interest piqued, they will absorb the information. Of course if your letter is about extreme sports and a pensioner opens it, the game is up but you can’t deny that people read personal letters more than e-mails from obvious sales companies. On the same level, how much more likely are you to delete an e-mail than refuse to take a leaflet from a friendly individual offering you their services?
The truth is, a lot of businesses are forsaking offline marketing in the modern day. Seen as too expensive and time consuming, some companies are negating all of their offline elements and transitioning to an entirely internet-based experience. Humans are still humans and our nature is still to be outdoors, to be social and to interact. I’m not saying don’t embrace online marketing, it would be very silly not to, but don’t give up on the real world.
Guest Post By: Craig Franks. Craig works for MPM Wristbands who are in the events marketing industry. Whilst working for these event wristbands suppliers, he has learnt a lot about the marketing benefits of using wristbands and can see them eventually being used entirely instead of tickets for some events.