Perhaps it’s the natural born geek in me connected to the genuine interest in new marketing mediums but I’ve blogged a lot about online activity, time to consider matters offline.

What do I mean by “offline”? Well literally anything that’s not computer or even phone related, that’s my definition. Others are more specific stating online is anything internet based but with sms and app technologies I think we need to broaden that to include smartphone marketing.

Twitter, Linkedin et al are awash with marketing experts pushing particular top ten ways to…, things to avoid, the must have software all related to developing online business.  True, there is a massive market out there online but we shouldn’t become too focused on this channel of activity.

Offline online crossovers do occur of course with articles and press stories appearing in online news and traditional paper based periodicals but in the most part there is a distinction.

So what offline activity should we be looking at if we’ve spent a little too long screen staring?

Events – Event based marketing that brings targets to you. Offering your guests an opportunity to experience something interesting and worthwhile that may help them in either their professional or personal life can be an ideal way to raise your brand profile.

Meetings – the opportunity to spend time face to face with a prospect customer is still one of the best methods of generating new business.  With finances and time often in short supply it can be hard to persuade a prospective buyer to open their door.  Preparation and an appropriate approach to each prospect is the key.  These days the “hard sell” won’t get you very far customers are far too aware of the signs so taking a consultative problem solving approach can be far more effective.

TV and Radio – whilst times have been tough for broadcast media many stations have adapted to offer attractive and not always “break the marketing bank”, methods of advertising. Sponsorship of certain regular features can be a very good entry into TV or radio but it isn’t for all businesses and can still be expensive if not focused or creatively weak.  This medium can still dazzle many business owners who fall in love with the idea of broadcasting their brand in this way.

Press Adverts – again publishers have been struggling to attract advertising revenues so be prepared to bargain hard if it’s a route you’re considering.  As with TV and radio it can be expensive if you dip in and out rather than construct a campaign of reasonable duration unless of course you have a specific promotion and time limited call to action event.  We still like to read and take in information on good old papyrus rather as well as pc although figures on readership are down generally certain local newspapers and magazines have bucked the trend.

Direct Marketing – traditional mailshots are declining.  This is a result of the increase in e-mail marketing as more of us are online and the costs compared to design, print and distribution of leaflets or flyers. As with newsprint – a well designed and targeted mail campaign can still be effective. Personally I’m a big fan of a well drafted letter but many households have signed up to the mail preference service (mps) which actively prevents you targeting them for such activity.  Taking the message to areas where your target market congregates eg a shopping centre, may be one way to overcome the compliance issue but again the creative execution would need to be one that makes an impact.

Not an exhaustive list but some examples of the offline activity that has worked for years and can and does still work for many businesses b2b or b2c global corporation or sole trader.

Volvo V40 Forums
Peugeot 208 Forums
Ford B Max Forums
Skoda Rapid Forums

The decision to buy a product or service can be a complex one based upon a range of influences.  Often it is the human interplay and physical connection that helps the customer to finally decide but subliminal supporting references gained from marketing in a variety of mediums will always help.

Online activity certainly supports the cause but it’s the traditional routes with a fresh “twist” that can help to make your business stand clear of the competition.

If you have any examples of effective offline activity we’d love to hear from you.

David Laud – Chartered Marketer

David.laud@i2isolutions.co.uk

 

Virtual vs Reality – the role of offline marketing
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