Before the rise of the Internet and the capabilities it has awarded advertisers and marketers, all promotional activities were executed offline. Websites were magazines or newspapers; social media was interacting with your friends or colleagues in person. Advertisers were limited to traditional mediums, like radio, television and print. Today, online advertising has been around for a while, and people are looking, both online and off, for more authentic, imperfect brand experiences. This article looks at the advantages of both online and offline marketing – and how to integrate the two for ultimate engagement:
The power of online
For all its fantastic potential, the Internet has given consumers one game-changing thing that trumps the rest. We’re talking about convenience. Today, Internet users can instantly research brand information by looking at websites, listings and online reviews. They have access to vast networks of people who both generate and consume content. Before attending events in-person, people will research the venue (if only just for directions), and even check into social media to see who is attending.
For marketers and advertisers, being online and connected to audiences, through nothing more than the click of a button, has transformed how campaigns are executed, consumed, and responded to. Marketers can reach people on their mobile devices, and advertise directly on search engine results pages (where people look for information). Social media has given brands a highly-impactful platform to reach more people on more occasions.
The authenticity of offline
Before Google and online shopping, customers would have to visit a store or call in physically and order (which meant having to drop by the store to collect anyway). Salespeople were still necessary, and all advertising (at least in the case of SMMEs), was restricted to mostly print and word-of-mouth. Offline brand engagement involves human connection, like speaking to someone over the phone or having an in-person interaction.
Generation Y, and to a large extent Millennials, are now insisting that brands engage them with authentic, personal experiences in the real world as well as online. In the music industry, musicians prefer to test out instruments in-store before deciding to buy (which they do from either the store or an online retailer). You can’t hear the authentic sound of a guitar without being in the same room as it, and you can’t feel how a car drives without getting into it and turning the key.
How to fuse the two for improved engagement
Think of your marketing as a bicycle wheel. In the middle, you have your point of transaction (lead or conversion). Pointing into this central point are multiple spokes, or in this case, your marketing activities. These should be a mixture of offline and online channels, all integrated and working together to drive people to the point of conversion. The more spokes you have, the tougher your marketing wheel will be. Here are a few easy ways to fuse your offline and online marketing activities:
- Host more speaking events. These should be in-person engagements that can be advertised and live-streamed on social media and other online platforms.
- Ensure branding consistency. Carry brand identity elements through both offline and online marketing material for increased brand recognition amongst audiences.
- Integrate your sales funnel. Customers can start the sales funnel by seeing a poster or flyer, which then directs them to a website or landing page for conversion.
- Reverse the funnel. Capture your customer’s attention online, then use a contact form or ‘click-to-call’ CTA to initiate an offline phone conversation.
Marketing managers can leverage the potential of all applicable advertising channels, be they online or offline. Kick-start your career in upper-level marketing with a Marketing Management course from DSM. Check out our full list of digital marketing qualifications today!
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