4 traditional marketing tactics for the digital world

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While digital marketing is all about measurability and return on investment, it can never replace every kind of traditional marketing. Here’s a look at some of the opportunities still available to SMBs in the offline world.

While digital marketing is all about measurability and return on investment, it can never replace every kind of traditional marketing. In many situations, traditional media continues to play an important role in communicating a brand story.

There once was a time where families would collectively tune into their wireless radio to listen to the George Wallace Show or huddle around their TV set to get a glimpse of Graham Kennedy delivering the nightly news. And the classics were speckled with ads for British Paints that featured Rolph Harris and the all singing and dancing “Happy Little Vegemites”.

Fast forward 60-odd years, and just as the way we consume entertainment has changed, so has the way we consume advertising.

The rise of digital

Technology has revolutionised business. This is driven by both consumer demand for fingertip access to anything and everything, and the opportunities sought by marketers to outperform their competitors. It therefore comes as no surprise that digital channels have found an irreplaceable role in full service marketing.

Digital is all about consumer engagement and collaboration as well as finding new ways to interact and build brand loyalty. With the benefit of being targeted, dynamic, interactive and versatile, as well as increasingly measurable, it’s clear to see why online advertising was ranked second in terms of budget priority for advertising worldwide in 2011.

Digital trends in marketing

Digital is constantly evolving. One emerging trend involves finding new ways of capturing and using consumer data. This is fed by consumers’ increasing desire for social sharing. With a range of apps and social media features enabling people to share their whereabouts and activities, consumers have become more likely to reveal personal information online. Examples include location ‘check-in’ features and fitness tracking product and software integration such as Nike Fuel.

Gamification is also becoming increasingly popular. Not only are digital channels collecting consumer data, but they are enabling people to compete with one another, which is a concept that consumers are widely adopting. But with the abundance of data, there is also a need for curation. Digital will continue to become more focused on helping consumers cut through the noise to connect more meaningfully with a brand or product.

Finally, multi-screening is another digital trend that is helping to enrich the user experience, notably through in-program social engagement. This gives advertisers the opportunity to integrate interactive, digital channels with traditional media to further immerse their customers in a brand or product experience.

Traditional marketing in a digital world

Digital opportunities are only half the picture. In some cases they may not be the best or only way of communicating with the target audience. For example, tradesmen are notoriously difficult to reach via online display advertising as they are constantly on job sites, meaning they aren’t within reach of their computers during the day. Conversely, mobile advertising is a good emerging media solution for this market, in addition to tradition medias such as radio.

In many situations, traditional media continues to play an important role in communicating a brand story. On and offline media are best served together, where the consumer journey is seamlessly integrated to provide many lightweight interactions over time. It comes down to understanding your audience and delivering at the touch points most relevant to them, whether they are traditional, digital or a combination of both.

After all, traditional media still has many advantages over digital. For example, television continues to be a great way of communicating a comprehensive brand story. Likewise, outdoor advertising offers the benefit of broad reach and high frequency. There are also great creative opportunities for large format outdoor ad spaces. Despite the advantages, outdoor still carries a hefty price tag with creative, production and media costs attached.

Advantages of traditional media

There are many other forms of traditional media that may assist you in telling your brand story, without breaking the bank. We have compiled a list of affordable and effective traditional marketing opportunities suitable for small-to-medium sized businesses.

1. Direct mail: Direct mail, which saw a decline in popularity in the past due to the sheer volume of mail being received, plus privacy concerns relating to personal information, is beginning to have a renaissance. With many brands turning away from it, it has once again become something of a novelty and when executed well, can have great cut through. The fact remains that both print and electronic direct mail also presents one of the most highly targeted approaches to advertising, which may lead to more conversions. It also has the added advantage of being measurable, allowing advertisers to determine their return on investment.

2. POS: POS, signage and sales collateral remain relatively low cost options and are important tools for businesses. Likewise print, while suffering from declining circulation over the past few years, is a high involvement media and can be a cost effective targeted medium for small local businesses in particular.

3. Networking: Face-to-face marketing tactics are also difficult to replace because they allow potential customers to establish an emotional connection with your business immediately. These tactics include networking and events. Networking has been used as a sales tool by professionals in businesses large and small. By speaking directly to potential clients, you can communicate the selling points of your business and build an instant personal connection that is more likely to lead to long-term brand loyalty. Similarly, a display stand at relevant events such as trade shows and exhibitions is a great way to showcase your product or service and give people the physical experience of interacting with your brand.

4. Editorial: Another cost-effective way to get more exposure for your business is to contribute articles to publications that your audience reads. If you position yourself and your business as an expert, people will begin to trust your brand and view it positively. Articles written by experts have a higher perceived value in print publications than ads and retain the attention of the reader much longer than a typical advertisement. Think about your audience’s interests and try to provide information they will find useful.

The golden rule is to always understand how each marketing tactic adds value to the customer experience, to truly understand your target markets, learn and evolve your offering from the data available and consider digital channels as part of a holistic strategic approach.