Why Traditional Marketing Is Still Important
Business professionals have become obsessed with online marketing. Social media platforms, do-it-yourself (DIY) website builders, automated email systems, and blogs make it easy for businesses to promote their products and services.
Digital is the first medium that comes to mind when considering a marketing strategy, but that doesn’t mean companies should forget about traditional methods. Customers are looking for offline touchpoints as well. In the ’90s, it was rumored that paper would eventually go away. One look at the thriving print and direct mail industry will disprove that story.
WHAT IS TRADITIONAL MARKETING?
Traditional marketing includes the type of advertising or promotion that has been used for years and has a proven track record. Methods of traditional marketing include print advertisements, newsletters, billboards, flyers and direct mail.
In this DIY world—where free tools are easily accessible to help us execute a complete online marketing campaign—people are tempted to think that the cost of digital marketing is lower, or better yet free. What many people fail to consider is that every hour you spend on marketing is time you won’t be managing your business. Let’s say you’ve invested hour upon hour to master all of these free tools. Are you crafting the right message that captivates your audience in an emotional way and compels them to do business with you, or are you wasting time? What is the cost then?
TRACKING THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)
While offline marketing such as billboards and print ads will bring your brand into the real world, it’s much more difficult to measure your ROI. Here’s the good news. There are a number of ways to track your campaign. Advertising campaigns can direct the target towards a unique domain URL to measure online impact. Direct mail can feature a trackable coupon code. Even business cards can include a QR code that can be easily scanned and tracked on a smartphone.
TRADITIONAL MARKETING EXAMPLES
Business Card — The standard business card doesn’t have to be so standard. A folded card becomes a four-page mini brochure, offering four times the amount of real estate. Hand them out freely. Your business card has no value sitting on your shelf or in your pocket, but it can be a useful marketing tool on your behalf when it’s in the hands of a prospect.
Brochure — On the bookshelves in my office, I have a collection of favorite books. From poetry to short stories to great rambling biographies, these stories have beginnings and endings—differentiated by style, length, and narrative. How do you want to tell your company’s story—as haiku or as a novella? There are a wide range of dynamic options for the design and development of an outstanding company brochure. A larger, more elaborate brochure delivers volumes of detailed information, while a simple and cost-effective trifold conveys a broader perspective.
Direct Mail — The key word is “direct.” Develop or purchase a list of qualified customers rather than targeting the masses, or leverage your existing client base by mailing exclusively to current customers. Speak specifically to the heart of your target—variable data techniques allow you to personalize each piece of mail for every individual on your list. Think outside the mailbox—send a unique padded, oversized, or decorative envelope. Overnight mail calls for immediate attention. Create a sense of urgency with a limited-time offer or an expiring coupon.
Poster — A poster is an artist’s canvas. A good-looking poster can become a collector’s item, serving as a reminder throughout the year of an annual event. Size options can be unlimited and offer an open expanse to communicate a lot of information.
Advertisement — Hey! How about some white space here? Have a lot to say about the benefit of doing business with you? Do you offer a number of products or services? Don’t cram it all into one static and mundane space. Communicate dynamically through a series of ads. Change it—and charge it up—frequently. A stale ad means that people will stop paying attention.
Newsletter — The newsletter or ezine can deliver a variety of information to a targeted audience. It’s an excellent place to deliver the latest industry news, provide advice, announce special events, showcase new products or services, highlight a client success story, and offer a discount or special. Distribute electronically with an invitation to forward the information to others who share the same interests.
Annual Report — You don’t have to be a publicly held company to publish an annual report! And since you don’t have to abide by the legal requirements of a publicly held corporation, have fun telling your story. Provide industry news, celebrate client successes, announce milestone achievements, or feature some of the charitable organizations to which you contribute.
Outdoor Advertising — Billboards. Signs. Vehicles. Serving as a brand reminder, they’re typically only successful when integrated into an overall advertising campaign. Restaurants, hotels, and gas stations find they work miracles as they steer a driver off at the “NEXT EXIT.” Keep the message clear and concise. Use a maximum of six words. (And don’t expect a driver to be able to jot down your phone number or url.)
Referrals Generator — Leverage your existing client base for new business. Allow your current customers to give a gift certificate for a free consultation or trial to friends and family—good only for new customers. Offer an incentive for sending referrals, such as a discount or a gift. Enter all participants to receive a grand prize. Take your best clients to dinner and ask them to invite three of their best friends who may also have an interest in your product. Publicize testimonials. Finally, add a request for referrals to the bottom of your invoices.
You’ll boost your brand’s visibility when you combine both offline and online campaigns. The best part is that you’ll stand out amongst competitors who are flooding the digital arena. Smartphones and other tracking tools make it possible to monitor the effectiveness of your campaign so you can fine tune your marketing strategy. When you use multiple channels, both digital and traditional, to reach your target market, you’ll stake a claim in the crowded marketplace and get noticed.