With the dramatic ascent of online marketing — think email marketing, social media, and SEO — you might assume that applying your entire marketing budget to the digital realm is a wise move. However, even in today's technology-driven world, you ignore conventional advertising techniques at your peril.
Indeed, there are numerous offline marketing strategies that are still relevant in 2020 and beyond. To illustrate this, and to help you decide what might work best within your overall marketing plan, we've compiled a list of the top non-digital marketing activities you should be considering.
A long-established medium for promotion, newspaper advertisements remain one of the most effective offline marketing strategies that you can implement in the modern day.
Pro: Impressively, 56% of consumers assert that print marketing is the most trustworthy form of promotional materials. Even better; this statistic leaps to 82% when using advertisements as a guide for purchasing decisions.
Con: Unfortunately, given the politicisation and logistical restrictions of newspapers in general, readerships have drastically dropped. Many millennial and Gen Z consumers now receive their news through free and instant digital news outlets, although there is still a market in newspaper advertising for those who are targeting the baby boomer market.
Placing an advert within a magazine whose content aligns with the products you sell, the services you offer, and the overall vision of your company is a highly effective marketing activity that your business can take advantage of.
Pro: By conducting thorough market research, a company can determine which groups of people they will most resonate with before deciding upon the best publications for their placement. After all, if someone is interested in purchasing and reading a magazine dedicated to a specific topic, they will likely be interested in considering the items or services offered within its pages.
Con: Spending money on magazine advertisements can be a significant monetary investment that might not always pay off. They are typically more expensive than newspaper ads, even without additional unexpected costs, such as the testing of colours before printing.
A highly effective and innovative marketing strategy for start-ups, guerrilla marketing utilises unconventional tactics to promote your products or services, and is particularly popular with younger demographics.
Pro: By its very definition, guerrilla marketing is low-cost, and creates a compelling and memorable interaction with potential clients. By capturing the imagination and attention of viewers, you also have the added potential to go viral, furthering your marketing reach at no extra cost to yourself.
Con: Depending on your approach and your techniques, guerrilla marketing has the potential to be misinterpreted by your target audience. Meanwhile, the wider public may instigate a backlash against your campaign (including the possibility of legal action), depending on what exactly you've done to 'stand out.'
Perhaps the most basic of offline marketing strategies, the circulation of flyers is a technique that has been used for centuries.
Pro: Flyers are easy to produce and distribute, and offer an opportunity for you to gain immediate face-to-face feedback from your target market. Because of this, flyers are one of the best offline marketing strategies for start-up businesses; it is one that does not require a massive monetary investment, nor in-depth expertise of business promotion.
Con: The truth is that most flyers are dismissed, often without a second glance. If the cost of the flyers and your time spent distributing them is higher than the value of any sales generated, then it can become a waste of money and time.
Taking the concept of door-to-door flyers one step further, direct mail can be distributed directly to the homes of individuals via post, as opposed to face-to-face delivery.
Pro: Today, receiving 'snail mail' has become much rarer, with companies often steering away from this strategy. However, you can use this to your benefit, especially if you can optimise the process (such as delivering to trendy apartment blocks if your audience is made up of young professionals).
As a bonus, you can include a personalised note, particularly if you are delivering to the addresses of existing customers. Personalisation is a significant marketing trend right now, and such an action can help develop loyalty with your patrons.
Con: Like door-to-door flyers, direct mail may be dismissed and discarded without the receiver giving it a second glance. Again, if your expenditure outweighs your sales generated, then you are wasting money not only on the printing costs but on postal fees, too.
A popular marketing method since television sets first became widely available, this is still one of the best ways to publicise your company.
Pro: Television networks reach a massive audience – typically much larger than a print ad in a local publication. Along with this, viewers are immersed in your ad through sight and sound, giving a more substantial sense of what makes your company and its offerings stand out.
Con: Depending on how much money your business is willing to invest in its marketing strategy, your advert may only be shown on late-night television, to fewer viewers. It is also costly to produce and film, with no guaranteed returns, while many younger demographics rarely watch TV at all, preferring to stream content online.
In a 30 to 60-second radio advertisement, a business has the opportunity to share their story and highlight their products or services to a highly localised audience. Indeed, radio advertising is perhaps one of the most underrated forms of offline marketing.
Pro: Radio adverts can be targeted to a specific geographical audience – hugely convenient if you run a localised business, such as a cafe or a garage – and are typically less expensive to secure than television ads. They are also much cheaper to produce and can be done so within a swifter turnaround time.
Con: Though it may seem obvious, the fact that a listener cannot take a 'clipping' of your audio advert is often forgotten (as one can with a newspaper). With many people listening to the radio while driving, for instance, they cannot easily take down a phone number or an address for your business.
A method of telemarketing, cold calling refers to making mass phone calls to potential customers and engaging with them through short, unsolicited sales pitches.
Pro: Having the opportunity to speak with someone directly on the phone is an excellent way to convey all the selling points of your offered services and products. For the duration of the brief conversation, you have a chance to strengthen and perhaps cement a new business relationship.
Con: Unfortunately, cold calling can annoy many potential customers and even put them off of using your services or products in the future. With an increasing number of spammers not just in the offline marketing world, but also the online realm, consumers are becoming ever more wary of companies who are utilising cold calls.
Attending Networking Events
More than just a group of people talking about themselves, networking events are an excellent opportunity to market yourself to a large number of people in-person, particularly if you operate a B2B sales model.
Pro: Networking events are a great place to meet other business owners and allow them to put a face to your name. By partaking in in-person conversations, you will create a reputation for yourself and be remembered as a unique presence with an equally stand-out product or service. If there is something that makes your business particularly unique, then networking events are a prime opportunity to highlight these positive features.
Con: When walking into a networking event without clear goals and an execution plan, it can be a waste of time with no real networking ever being accomplished. That considered, it is also important to note that there is typically no sense of instant gratification to networking, but rather a slow building of connections over time.
Every business needs a marketing plan, and by considering offline marketing strategies, you are standing out in a world that has migrated massively to the online realm. Ensure that you have a presence across both platforms, and utilise the strategies listed above as an opportunity to display your brand's personality.
What other offline marketing strategies are still enabling success in 2020? Let us know your ideas and opinions in the comment section below!