Marketing has evolved over the years to keep up with consumer demands and technology. Marketing campaigns of the 21st century are shaped by technology and consumer expectations for brands to have a presence online. From customer service and daily social media posts to regular email offers, the landscape of digital marketing leaves no room for the more traditional offline approach, but is this short-sighted?
Many industries, such as real estate and food, still heavily invest in offline marketing as flyer campaigns and billboards continue to prove successful for brands. These industries reach more potential customers with an offline presence, usually with local flyer distribution through the door. With this in consideration, let us find out the future of offline marketing in a digital era and how the two can blend.
In creating brand awareness, offline marketing still has its place and serves many business purposes. From network events, conferences, TV ads and billboards, offline marketing tactics are still integral to all types of businesses.
Digital marketing is a competitive and often noisy space, with brands vying for consumers' attention at every scroll. By trying an alternative offline approach, for example, a SWAG (stuff we all get) campaign, new brands launching in a competitive space can try catchy flyers or handing out ‘swag’ for free to make a lasting impression on a more targeted audience.
Marketing campaigns focusing on one or other channels don’t maximise the potential reach and ROI that merging offline and online can. With that in mind, let us explore the place for offline in a digital era and how best to combine them to get the most out of that marketing budget.
In short, offline marketing is still relevant and a part of the marketing mix. Whilst online marketing campaigns can reach many previously untouched audiences, and offline can be far more targeted and generate better results despite reaching fewer people.
Offline campaigns offer the potential to include an online channel, instantly broadening your reach and helping create a more holistic campaign. Without catchy radio ads, TV adverts that cause twitter storms and localised leaflets with great deals, brands wouldn’t be able to continue to grow their presence relying solely on digital marketing.
Handing someone something for free as they catch their train often leaves a much longer-lasting impression than a fleeting paid advert on their social feed. Featuring something unforgettable or relevant to a local area on a billboard that the bus route runs past can have more impact than a pricey online campaign.
Offline marketing allows brands to create a longer-lasting impression as consumers will often see a billboard or newspaper advert multiple times, compared to a digital advert that may be ignored or closed down and never seen again. Having a tangible advert or poster means consumers subconsciously become aware of a brand as they come into contact with them, creating more of an impression.
Although it is more difficult to measure how many customers saw a magazine advert and then visited your website or converted, combining offline with online can connect the data and help make the most of your marketing budget.
According to research, as many as 64% of brands handle and track their offline and online marketing campaigns separately. That’s a lot of missed opportunities to analyse valuable data by combing them. While many digital marketing tools may struggle to measure the effectiveness of flyers, using a unique discount code on a newspaper ad you’re running, a vanity URL or a QR code will connect the offline campaign with online and provide actual data simultaneously.
Syncing your offline and online marketing efforts will help provide measurable data from your offline campaigns. And create cross-channel marketing campaigns that are efficient for marketing budgets and maximise your brand’s reach to new customers who may not have otherwise engaged.
Since the global pandemic, more consumers have been forced to consider online channels than ever before, and the consequence two years on is digital fatigue. Statistics from Deloitte share that 32% of US consumers feel overwhelmed by the number of digital devices and subscriptions they manage online. Brands need to remember this when creating their next campaign, as over a third of their potential customer base is a significant number of people who won’t engage with a digital approach.
In a fast-paced digital era of brands all competing for our attention, if your campaign is a more subtle flyer or discount postcard handed to them, it’s more likely to land.
Having an offline poster, business card, or flyer also makes your brand more inclusive to audiences who don’t have social media channels or a digital presence, making it more accessible too.
This is another great feature of an offline marketing campaign syncing with an online one; they can be used for start-ups or businesses that are solely online. Offline marketing is a channel that works for every kind of business in all industries.
Aside from the obvious increase in brand awareness, e-commerce businesses that want to reach new customers must consider how to reach them. A tradeshow or a pop-up store is just two great ways to invest in offline marketing when you’re an online business, as it creates an emotional connection with customers. A stand or store people can visit also opens a brand up to receiving active feedback, which they’d otherwise have missed entirely with their online audiences.
Unlike online marketing campaigns that are dictated to by other factors like SEO or strict advertising rules when using Adwords, offline campaigns can be more independent. When launching an online campaign, external forces such as algorithms and campaign builders enforce parameters on a campaign and can restrict creativity.
An offline campaign can use any font, branding, logo and copy without impacting algorithms. This allows brands to get as creative as they like, which is often much more appealing to marketing teams!
Whilst there are lots of positive reasons to incorporate offline marketing in overall marketing campaigns, there’s no denying the numbers it can reach too;
As a reliable and trusted channel, many household brands continue to invest in offline campaigns that still make an impact. Here are some of the more memorable examples of offline campaigns that have landed;
An ongoing offline campaign to keep customers returning for more- McDonald’s keeps relaunching their offline Monopoly campaign year after year as it continues to prove successful. The completely offline concept of collecting Monopoly cards from their food packaging to win money, free food, or even holidays! The idea is simple; keep existing customers engaged whilst encouraging new customers to play. It’s an offline campaign, but their website and social media channels continue to mention it, creating that closed-loop effect previously mentioned.
BBC’s spooky Dracula billboard- Advertising their thriller drama in 2020, the BBC iPlayer had billboards on busy roads across the UK that created shadows throughout the day. This campaign was very clever and memorable and aimed to reach new viewers of BBC dramas from their usual age demographics.
Topshop’s VR experience for fashion lovers- The now default British fashion brand, Topshop, treated a select few customers to a Livestream VR experience in their Oxford Street flagship store. Customers could also enjoy a 360 view of a London fashion show in real-time with behind-the-scenes footage of the models. Another excellent example of an offline campaign that engages and interacts with customers in real life.
Offline marketing has proved its value by remaining one of the main channels brands use to advertise. There are lots of ways brands can get more creative with their offline campaigns that will help build brand awareness and create an emotional connection with both existing and new consumers.
Including clever digital features such as vanity URLs, QR codes, and unique discount codes will connect the offline campaign with online tracking capabilities to measure the success of a campaign. This will help understand ROI and provide the results teams need to secure future budgets.
Incorporating new technology like VR experience in an offline campaign brings an online element to a campaign and delivers immersive experience consumers will remember for a long time.
Thinking outside the box with billboard creatives, like the Dracula poster, presents a whole world of future possibilities for clever offline marketing campaigns for years to come. Remember, 65% of consumers can recall a visual advert they had seen days ago, so create an offline advert that will stand out from the crowd.
Combining offline campaigns with online efforts is one of the best ways to make the most of your marketing budgets and create a closed-loop journey. With more people watching streaming services and listening to podcasts and radio, there is now more opportunity for brands to reach new potential audiences with offline adverts. Brands looking for a clever way to reach more audiences, target new regional or international areas and make a lasting impression with consumers are thinking outside the online box and are continuing to enjoy the growth that offline marketing can bring.
Want to work with an experienced team to help get an offline campaign off the ground? Why not request a demo with our team today.