Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Offline In The Digital Age: Why Traditional Advertising Isn't Dead
In today’s crowded marketplace, businesses (both B2B and B2C) are fighting to get their brands noticed. Marketers have a plethora of tools to choose from, whether they decide to use a solely digital strategy or incorporate a blend of both traditional and digital tactics. More importantly, brands need to begin thinking like their customer and understand how their target markets are accessing information and consuming content.
Digital marketers are obsessed with pay-per-click models, but that doesn’t mean companies should forget about offline marketing strategies. While it is much more difficult to specifically measure offline marketing such as billboards and paper ads, it is a good way to increase your brand’s awareness, and it brings your brand into the real world.
The challenge many businesses face is finding the creativity to craft compelling ads that not only capture people’s attention but also communicate an informative message in a short amount of time. For example, a billboard advertising a film needs to find space to include the movie title, release date, and a catchy tagline if possible. Such a billboard is likely to be placed along a stretch of road where drivers have only seconds to read and digest the message. And traditional marketing is often a one-way street because advertisers using traditional methods of marketing are making impressions on consumers by talking to, or at them. Contrast this with social media, where marketers can foster a dialogue between brand and consumer through mediums like Facebook and Twitter.
Some businesses are warning against completely writing off traditional advertising. The key is finding ways to incorporate digital tracking methods into offline billboards to verify that the message is effective. Marketers like StickerRide are using mobile apps to track their campaigns and unique domain URLs to measure online impact. “The out-of-home (OOH) advertising market in the United States is $7.3 billion and growing,” says Mikhail Marchenko, CEO and Co-Founder at StickerRide. “Consumers have multiple encounters with OOH advertising every day, so for brands it is important to target in order to receive nationwide coverage and to increase brand awareness.” Drivers sign up to place campaign stickers on their cars and brands can track car-specific metrics to see how their campaigns are doing. Not only does this help a brand get the word out about their campaign, a car-centric campaign also creates brand ambassadors and loyalty. Drivers can pick and choose which campaigns they drive around for, providing an opportunity for fans to connect with their favorite brands.
Another brand, Melissa’s Cupcakes, understands the value offline advertising can bring. With so many marketers focused on creating the ideal digital journey for customers, businesses tend to forget that customers are looking for offline touch points, too. A business like Melissa’s Cupcakes benefits from having a traditional marketing strategy to ensure consumers, both online and offline, are taken on an ideal journey that comes with multiple touch points. And retailers who do have both marketing strategies in place may need to take another look at what types of ads they’re creating. If the offline and online campaigns don’t complement one another, marketers miss the opportunity to educate their customers and create a cohesive experience.
Building a holistic marketing campaign involves finding creative ways to digitally track traditional advertising, which is made all the more possible thanks to smartphones and mobile apps. If you decide to hand out business cards, consider including a QR code that can be easily scanned on a smartphone or has a trackable coupon code. Lyft and Uber are just two companies that distribute thousands of business cards every day with referral codes giving riders money off their first ride, and those coupons are unique and easy to track.
Some people will argue that traditional marketing is dead, but there are several benefits to including offline advertising in your overall marketing campaign. Combining both offline and online campaigns can help boost your brand’s visibility, and help it stand out amongst competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space. And the rapid rise of smartphones and other tracking tools has made it possible for brands to begin tracking various offline campaigns, a feat that was previously unattainable. If the goal of businesses in today’s crowded marketplace is to differentiate and get noticed, it makes sense to use as many channels as possible, both digital and traditional, to attract your target market.
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