Digital Brands Evolve… Offline

Attach “digital” to the beginning of an element of traditional marketing, and you’ll have an idea ripe for a popular blog post. Wherever you look online you’ll find advocates for automation, technological sophistication, and staunch rejection of “the old ways.”

Is this surprising? Well, no. Digital marketers will always write enthusiastically about digital marketing, after all, they’re biased towards the continuing dominance of their field. But it’s myopic to assume that anything marketing-related that can be done online should be done offline.

In fact, the steady abandonment of offline marketing has actually served to make it more effective as a promotional avenue. While all of your competitors are scrambling to stand out in the digital sphere, you can take an uncontested shot at getting some offline attention — and I strongly suggest that you do. Here’s why it’s the perfect way to boost your marketing.Audio Advertising Is More Compelling Offline

Audio Advertising Is More Compelling Offline

When it comes to streaming advertising, the internet has become a very challenging place indeed, mainly due to ad blockers — and when ads do happen to slip past our filters, we can just ignore them entirely until we’re given the chance to skip them. But offline audio is a different beast altogether, and there are two avenues that are particularly viable.

Firstly, there’s radio, one of the more frequently forgotten channels for advertising. Even if you only factor in traditional radio stations, there would still be a fair amount of value on offer. Think about people on long drives in areas with poor signal, whiling away the time with radio and having no desire to skip anything. But then you can add in digital radio, and the possibilities expand further still. Unlike video, radio is typically left on the background — it’s easier to just let ads play than to run to the player and try to skip them.

Secondly, there’s the vast world of podcasting. The humble podcast is a curious hybrid, stemming from the internet but consumed as an offline file. It’s this unique format that makes it so great for advertising. Not only can unskippable ads be inserted between podcasts in streaming players, but podcasters can work ads into their regular content, thereby ensuring that there’s no obvious part to skip. Some podcasters turn their ads into mini routines, making them entertaining (and, most likely, more persuasive).

In short, offline audio advertising gives you a lot of creative freedom and lets you reach a lot of people with minimal skipping. What of video, you might ask? Well, that’s rather more challenging, particularly in light of the much-publicized YouTube adpocalypse.

Networking Events Are Great For Building Connections

Yes, you can network online, and social networks take up ever-increasing chunks of daily life — but adding someone on LinkedIn will never replace the significance of striking up a conversation with them at a networking event. It’s the difference between a moment of attention behind a layer of abstraction and an entire afternoon spent in someone’s company.

And make no mistake, business connections are vitally important regardless of the specifics of your field. Knowing the right person at the right time can earn you a lasting client, or allow you to benefit from their influence in distributing your marketing. And when you need some expert advice, you’ll want the option of actually calling someone instead of just sending an email to a near-stranger whose face you don’t actually know.

So while your online marketing campaigns tick along, supplement them with sporadic ventures to relevant events — making an effort to arm yourself with useful contacts. Sooner or later, it’ll prove invaluable in taking your brand to the next level.

Physical Marketing Materials Are Harder To Ignore

We’re all so used to consuming digital materials beset with ads, pop-ups and other flashy elements that we tend to gloss over whatever we read online. The content mostly feels disposable, inconsequential, or insignificant. You can land on a page with ten banner ads and pay no attention to them whatsoever. Your brain simply disregards them.

But the pace of consumption is very different for traditional reading. Books and leaflets actually need to be physically produced, making them considerably harder to spam and decreasing the rate at which they can be examined. You can click through numerous blog posts in the time it takes you to put one pamphlet back on its rack and pick up another.

Consequently, the physical marketing materials you produce and distribute will prove much harder to ignore (in the right circumstances, at least). If you can get a banner up in a prominent location for instance, it may well get some attention in a way that an online banner never would. Will it be markedly more expensive? Certainly — but if you’re looking for an edge (and you understand how to get the attribution right) then this is the route to take.

Running A Pop-up Store Is Very Cost-effective

Selling products online is a challenging endeavor. Merchants are typically selling from the same ranges with the same profit margins, and lacking the unique locations and store atmospheres that can make the difference between a retail dead zone and a hotspot. What’s more, simply getting someone to visit your store doesn’t mean much when it takes them less than a second to arrive and they can leave just as quickly.

It doesn’t typically make much sense for an online business to invest in physical premises, because the results won’t justify the expenditure. But you don’t need premises to sell offline if you create a pop-up store. Creating a pop-up store involves taking something to sell and a POS (point-of-sale) system to a viable public location and setting up there for a limited time. That way, you have the opportunity to present your brand directly to the public.

If the nature of your business is such that you don’t really have products you can sell (or perhaps you offer a service instead), then you can still use the idea if you adapt it. A popular option is to set up to sell (or even give away) branded items. One efficient approach is to buy an order-ready store that supports a service such as Merchify, fill it with branded items, take some with you for your pop-up store, point people to said storefront for more, then — when the traffic has dried up — sell the store on to recoup your initial spend.

Tactile Demonstrations Are Irreplaceable

You might wonder why it’s so valuable to run a pop-up shop. After all, isn’t it essentially the same as your online store, only less convenient? Yes, but the essential impact of being able to physically experience a product shouldn’t be underestimated. This is particularly significant for certain types of products: items of clothing, for instance, or — even more notably — comestibles.

There’s a reason why brands of all kinds will clamor to have their new food products offered as samples in large stores. You can read countless excellent reviews about a new frozen pizza, but it won’t feel very compelling. But tasting and enjoying that pizza will have a profoundly-greater effect on your attitude towards it. It turns it into a known quantity.

In the end, no matter how much information you offer about a product online, it will never amount to anything as consequential as giving someone the opportunity to experience it in person. And if your rivals are overlooking that avenue, then you have a golden chance to exploit that gap.

There are plenty more reasons why offline marketing remains not only viable but far more effective than digital marketers will typically acknowledge, but these are the most significant in my estimation. If you can achieve a formidable blend between online and offline marketing elements, you’ll fill in the holes in your strategy, and steal a march on comparable businesses in your niche.

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