The rise of internet marketing has been unprecedented so far, and companies are jumping on this train to progress. With digital agencies popping up like mushrooms, those that engage in traditional, or offline marketing methods seem to be left behind.
Don’t get me wrong – offline marketing is still a huge industry, but with nearly half of the world’s population spending at least some time online, it is hard to ignore the benefits that digital brings to the table. With millennials having the spending power they do, and preferring to shop online, brands are under pressure to have a presence there, and to make it an enjoyable one.
Yet what about the brands that do not cater to millenials, but boomers? Or those that have been doing just fine advertising locally, or not even doing much advertising at all? Do you really need online marketing, can you do with just offline marketing, and what happens if you choose both?
Why go Online
The internet is the largest medium ever known to man, and it has been for several years, even decades. This is not a fact that is going to change. As the world’s population grows, and more than a third of it has a smartphone, you can’t exactly ignore the power of online marketing, can you?
However, it should be treated as a tool, not a fad, or a prerequisite to success. It has its clear benefits, and it is true it can drive more significant ROI than offline marketing – but that is not always the case, and any marketing campaign that works is a good campaign, no matter the medium.
Here are some of the pros of going digital:
It is easier to design a banner online than in real life. There are no costs of printing and distribution, and you only ever need to design one copy, and distribute that, as opposed to printing out dozens of leaflets to hand out.
Anything you produce in the digital world can easily be changed – you can delete a post, edit an image, rewrite and republish a post. In the real world, once you print something out, it is done, and it has cost you a certain amount of money. The beauty of digital is that you can always edit something, and you can always stop campaigns that are not working, and you will not be left with a room full of unused promo material.
It is much easier to target a certain audience online than it is offline. There are tools and strategies designed to help you achieve this, and a targeted ads will always have a better ROI than a net cast too wide.
Any online action can be measured with ease. Statistics are every marketer’s best friend, and knowing how many people have seen an ad, how many have clicked on it, and how many have purchased something will only help you craft better campaigns. Knowing where your traffic comes from, how old it is and where else does it spend its time is not something you can ever really know with offline marketing.
Why Stay Offline
Don’t make the mistake of believing you can’t benefit from offline marketing tactics. Even if you work exclusively online, you can still find a way to reach audiences that might be interested in what you have to offer, but are simply not aware of you yet.
Here is what offline marketing has to offer:
Physical advertisements are more easily noticed that online ads. Some people use ad blockers, others simply ignore them in their search results and social media feeds, others still don’t trust them. Something tangible, like a leaflet or a promo shirt will carry more weight. Items like personalized lanyards can be kept, while online ads simply vanish in the noise.
Some people simply don’t trust the internet, and with the amount of scams and swindles online, you can’t really blame them. Others believe that online ads pop up when someone pays them to do so, and that the highest bidder will always win, even if they have the worst product. On the other hand, publishing an ad in a newspaper, while more costly, also inspires more trust.
Online campaigns can be edited and taken down at any time, which means they can at times be easily forgotten, and not make any real impact. On the other hand, marketing in the real world often involves real life products, which last longer and can be used over time.
Reach a Wider Audience
While online marketing can be highly targeted, this targeting can be executed wrong, or simply not reach all interested parties. There is also the fact that so many customers simply don’t use the internet, or at least can’t be reached through the usual online channels. An offline outlet can often reach more people, not all of whom will be interested in your offer, but some likely will, especially if you do target your efforts.
A Mixture of Both Worlds
If you have the budget, you are advised to try out both sets of strategies. The most important thing to bear in mind is that you need to have a unified message across all your channels, be they online or offline. You need to establish brand awareness and be easily recognizable for the services you offer or the products you sell. That will not be achieved if you don’t send out a clear message.
Depending on the type of business you are, you can benefit more from online or offline advertising. This is why your initial market research plays such an important role – by knowing who your target audience is, and where they are mostly likely to be found, you can reach out to them via the means they prefer best.
A well thought out marketing campaign can do wonders. Don’t rush into it blindly, and make sure you utilize all channels available to you, be they social media and printing promotional materials.