The debate of which is better offline or online marketing efforts have different response and schools of thought. On the one hand, “old school” marketers firmly believe in the offline efforts minimizing the impact of online. On the other, “new school” marketers are the complete opposite; yet each one of those two groups is right in their own way. Offline & online marketing are both unique in their way, both provide positive ROI in their respective weight; yet combined it is a lethal combination, if done right.
No one can deny the impact an offline (TV, Radio, OOH, Print… etc) campaign might have on footfall for an electronics retailer, inquires for a real estate developer, number of sold units of an FMCG, for example. (Unless in some instances when they get it completely wrong – remember the cheese brand a couple of years ago that won advertising awards for the creative message, and ZERO market share?).
Building on that example of an electronics retailer, lets say they are promoting a specific LED TV; if you have seen the ad, you would be tempted to check it out online (reviews, features… etc.) – that is if you are living in the 21st century – imagine not finding the info you want (directions, contact numbers, features, availability… etc.; & website) online for that specific retailer or product they are promoting. The next logical thing to do is to look at competition, i.e. potential lost business.
This is where integrating both efforts can lead to a greater affect, thus maximizing your ROI from your marketing efforts. Here is how, but first lets remind ourselves with the basics:
Website: Promote your website or digital presence on any kind of marketing material: Email signatures, leaflets, brochures, posters, business cards, outdoors, press and even on TV. Your digital presence is live 24/7 unlike your place of business. This will provide the potential customers with another touch point to explore and know more about your product/service at their own free time. Besides, how much information can you really squeeze in 30 sec commercial?
Consistency: Another important and vital element of the basics. Your message, look & feel must be consistent. Why do we feel “comfortable” with a brand that we know and trust? Imagine going to a fast food restaurant and they don’t have a consistent identity. Every store has a theme; every theme has a different look and feel to it. One is promoting value, the other is promoting health and wellbeing. It becomes a mess. Online presence too has to be consistent with over all look and feel. It seems trivial, but you would be shocked at how this is not catered to.
Format: One size does not fit all. Press ads will not look pretty on an outdoor sign because of the amount of text and details, It would also not look good in the online world because landing on your website means you will give me more information than the tool you used to bring me here (site/store… etc). Also, In the 21st century we have three types of screens. The BIG, which is referred to as TV; The medium which is also known as computer/laptop, and the small sized tablets & smart phones. What might look impressive on the big screen will not look the same on a small screen. Each vehicle has to be addressed with the suitable format, yet with the same consistency of message, look & feel.
After checking that the basics are right, lets look at some other hints and tips to maximize your marketing investment.
1. QR Code:
Much debate is happening about the importance and effectiveness of placing a QR Code on your marketing material – If you are not familiar with QR Codes, please see visit ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qr_code ) for more details – the question becomes: what have you got to lose? Try it, reserve a place for it on your print ad, or poster and test the effectiveness. Just recently, a car brand started using QR codes, actually their entire offline marketing effort is pushing potential customers online, and have been using QR code as one of the vehicles to direct traffic to their website… Try it out, we did and it worked.
Make sure that the product/service you are promoting is placed above the fold on the desired landing page, with all features & available images. There is no point directing traffic to the site, only to not-finding what you are promoting, or its hidden somewhere on the inner pages. Providing an incentive to “buy now” always pays dividends. Be creative with your offering/incentive.
3. Paid Search:
Always use your offline keywords (selling line, product name,… etc.) as part of your paid search strategy, making sure that you are delivering a consistent message across platforms. Allocate more funds for keywords of product/service you are promoting to ensure top placement as well as providing your audience with an additional touch point for interaction.
4. Social Media:
“Social” by definition (according to dictonary.com) is: “seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.” This is exactly what brands need to be doing to engage with their audience. Brands should not be saying how great or unique they are; but rather provide content that is relevant to both the product and the customer. This is very difficult to achieve, but not with the right partner. Finally, add a link to your post in order to track. One of the many advantages of Digital Marketing is tracking and ROI calculation.
It’s never too late to start implementing, or even tweak the current implementation. What’s important is the ‘Will’. The ‘Will’ to try things in a different manner, explore new possibilities and learn from mistakes. The example given above about the cheese brand is a typical case study of the “Will” to try something different & learn from mistakes. Although the effects of their first efforts were a disaster, nevertheless, they had the will to try something new. They have done it again last summer; but this time it was done right. They always had the will to try something different, and they did by having a fully integrated campaign, with TV & Digital as the spearheads. They have learned from their mistakes, and tried something new in the form of Digital Marketing.
The Epic success came across all KPI’s: market share, sales, distribution, revenue, TOM brand Awareness, brand affinity, engagement,… etc. and a complete change of perception towards the brand – From Zero to Hero in 6 weeks. Do you believe they have maximized their Marketing ROI?