The Deal with Offline Marketing in an Online World

traditional and digital marketing

Imagine a man sitting at his breakfast table, or even a café, reading the headlines. Do you see him clutching a newspaper, or a smartphone?

In today’s world, no one would raise an eyebrow if anyone proclaimed physical newspaper as a dying medium. Is traditional marketing going the way of the dinosaur?

The advent of digital marketing, scary-accurate analytics, and targeted advertisements is a bandwagon companies are too eager to jump on. As a result, marketing experts have argued whether traditional marketing or media (TV, radio, and print) still has any place in an increasingly Google-search and social media-focused landscape.

The Pros and Cons of Digital Marketing

Both schools of thought have their merits and downsides: Traditional marketing has been around a long time, but is notoriously expensive to launch and maintain, while digital has expansive reach and interactive, but requires investment to see some real success.

For most companies, they will go for the budget-friendly, everywhere-at-once guarantee of digital rather than the static nature of traditional methods.

Granted, this trend did not materialize overnight. It’s taken years for this shift to get recognition and gain traction. Businesses have moved from the mass marketing concept of the four P’s: (product, place, price, promotion), to the niche marketing concept of the four C’s: (consumer, cost, communication, convenience). Companies now cater to a specific audience, instead of casting a large net and hoping for the best.

Then the Internet happened, and the businesses went crazy with their digital ad spending. Companies started creating social media pages and websites, relegating billboard and centerfold ads to the sidelines.

But it is unwise to label traditional means of marketing as useless. Any company that knows its marketing chops will realize the value in using the best possible combination of media to achieve optimal consumer awareness for the brand. In this respect, traditional media is still very potent.

Let’s Get Physical

We can actually approach this in several aspects, but all of them benefit from traditional marketing’s inherent advantages. One approach is to use traditional media’s physical presence to its maximum effect.

Strategic placement of billboards (even digital ones for greater flexibility) provides a more creative approach to reach a significant market segment. The message your billboard conveys should be thoughtful and relevant to drive home its message, and it should funnel traffic to your online presence.

Traditional Care

Another approach is providing comprehensive customer service. While it is more about retaining, rather than a sales tactic, the best companies stay on top by creating brand loyalty. Dependable customer support makes patrons feel special and valued, and will happily recommend your brand to their friends and relatives. One way to accomplish this is to provide human interaction to address inquiries, complaints and the like, through live video or chat support.

Another consumer-centric traditional approach would be to incentivize that brand loyalty. For example, you can create a system to determine a number of high-tier consumers, and reward them accordingly with personalized thank-you letters, limited edition items, or even appearances in your ad campaigns. This strategy not only creates strong customer retention, but also makes them feel appreciated and empowered by letting them be involved in promoting your brand.

A Matter of Privacy

Take into consideration a rising trend of digital fatigue as well. Certain users who have been on the Internet for a long time are wary of data-mining practices of companies, done solely for bringing them targeted ads. By using traditional methods of marketing, a company can provide a less invasive approach to attracting and retaining their consumer base.

Creating Success Online and Offline

Companies should not be afraid to employ traditional marketing in conjunction with their digital campaigns. In fact, mastering traditional techniques will solidify the brand’s ability to quickly gain familiarity. It might not be the go-to strategy in the market now, but it can definitely serve well as a supporting role in driving traffic to a company’s digital presence.

Traditional versus digital can be a confusing choice, what with the influence of the Internet and technology. But companies who care about being top players should re-orient their views; think of traditional marketing as a great asset rather than phase it out or dismiss its concepts entirely.