In 2011, we’re still waiting for the ‘blogging’ revolution to truly arrive. Sure, social media has changed the way we connect with others and the way businesses market products and services. However, until recently, the vast majority of marketing still took place offline. Email marketing remains the most popular marketing channel, followed by direct mail.
New Offline Marketing Channels
Though we mostly communicated with people face-to-face until recently, marketers have always been comfortable using digital media to connect with consumers. The difference now is that we can also rely on offline channels to reach people.
Here are a few examples of how marketers have adjusted their approach since 2007:
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably discovered the usefulness of blogging in marketing. While the practice isn’t new, it was mostly limited to content-rich websites and newsletters for brands. Now, however, there is no denying that blogs are making a comeback, and for good reason.
Websites like Blogger and WordPress have made it easy to set up a professional-looking blog in no time at all. The important thing to keep in mind is that many businesses and bloggers are still figuring out how to use this new channel effectively. Therefore, don’t expect to see any spectacular results right away.
2. Television Advertising
You might be familiar with traditional television advertising, where companies would buy a certain number of minutes during specific timeslots in order to educate, entertain, and/or persuade you to make a purchase. While this is still a popular way to market products, it isn’t as effective as it used to be because:
- people have become so accustomed to seeing advertisements on TV that they’ve practically ignored them;
- the TV networks’ revenue comes mainly from selling time to advertisers, so they’re cutting back on the amount of original programming to make more room for ads;
- the stigma surrounding advertising has lifted, so people have become less likely to turn off their TV sets upon seeing an advertisement; and
- more and more people are choosing to avoid ads by investing in TV sets that can hide the ads (aka ad-blocking devices).
In other words, the line between marketing and advertising has blurred. What was once considered “advertising” is now considered “marketing”, and that’s a good thing.
3. Radio Advertising
Until recently, radio advertisements were mostly considered an annoying distraction while you were trying to listen to the radio show you came to hear. However, that all changed with the “talk radio” craze that took off in the ‘90s. Today, radio advertisements can be an effective way to bring in potential customers who might otherwise never have given your business a thought. As with TV advertising, the stigma surrounding radio advertisements has lifted, so now they’re considered an effective and relatively inexpensive way to reach a large audience.
4. Outdoor Advertising
Once considered a lazy man’s way of advertising, billboards and commercials on bus shelters and traffic lights are doing more than just catching people’s attention now. Thanks to advances in technology, outdoor advertisements can display highly professional-looking graphic images and copy, and they can also come with a powerful message behind them.
While many companies still opt for the tried and tested method of using a “straight-up-and-down” billboard to display a simple message such as “Buy Shoes”, savvy marketers are taking advantage of the fact that there is now more than one sight line and more than one ear at which to grab someone’s attention.
5. Internet Marketing
Although you’ve probably been using the internet to look for products you need for your own personal use for years, the vast majority of marketing until recently has taken place offline. That is, companies would seek to make a direct connection with consumers through face-to-face interactions or phone calls.
Thanks to the internet and various marketing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, it’s now possible to target consumers based on their personal interests and marketing messages. For example, let’s say you’re a toy store and you notice that a lot of your potential customers are talking about Disney Frozen products on social media. Instead of just sending them a direct mailer with a list of popular toys, you can put together a short online video showing the many features of your product and include a discount code or enticing offer that is only good on the web.
In theory, internet marketing should be considered “online marketing” because much of the activity takes place online (i.e., at websites, social media platforms, and email accounts). However, the line between marketing and advertising gets a little fuzzier, since much of the activity still occurs offline (e.g., radio ads, billboards, and telephone calls). So, for the sake of this article, we’ll continue to use the terms “marketing” and “advertising” to describe this new way of thinking in business.
What Has Changed Since 2007?
As you can see from the list above, a lot has changed since 2007.
First and foremost, the platforms through which consumers now receive marketing messages have evolved. Back then, people primarily got their news from newspapers, magazines, and TV broadcasts. Now, with the invention of the smartphone and social media, news outlets need to seek new ways to attract audiences.
In addition, the tactics used to market products and services have changed as well. In 2007, direct mail was considered the ‘gold standard’ of marketing, followed by TV advertising. Now, online marketing is the preferred method of marketing, with SEO and paid search taking the lead. While many older businesses still rely on traditional methods of marketing, savvy firms are taking the time to develop a digital footprint and attract prospective customers to their websites.
Since 2007, the world of marketing has changed in many ways. As the old adage goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, businesses that rely on older methods of marketing may find that they need to adapt to the changing times in order to stay relevant.
For those seeking to venture into the world of online marketing, there are certainly a host of new tools at their disposal. With a little bit of research and experimentation, they can find a system that works best for their particular strategy.