ONLINE MARKETING V OFFLINE MARKETING
It is fair to say that the ‘Millennials’ are essentially the focus of most marketing campaigns these days and the majority of these strategies will be heavily biased towards online marketing methods.
This target demographic has grown up in the ‘online world’ and the likes of Email, Facebook, Twitter and Google are their norm.
I don’t think many people really knew the huge potential that the Internet would hold for the development of marketing and more importantly the ability to target this marketing to very specific demographics.
That said, offline traditional marketing is far from being laid to rest and still plays an important part of any branding or marketing strategy. There are still some things that simply cannot be replaced by the digital world, or not yet at least.
Online Digital Marketing
For brands and marketing agencies, digital marketing is a dream as it is completely measurable at a very granular level. Not only can you target people who match your client profile by age, sex, location and interest, you can also track their journey to conversion.
Then you can target people just like them, using what we call ‘look alike’ audiences. We can even follow people around online through remarketing campaigns as they jump from site to site or even across various social media.
The real beauty of digital marketing is when it comes to data! Analysing data gives even more insight into your audience, their behaviour and their habits online. Using information like this as well as conversion data allows you to test different variables such as the wording of an advert, where the advert points to and even the audience you are targeting. A/B testing is a fundamental part of online marketing; learning and then scaling is the key to online success.
All of this means you can accurately calculate your ROI based on factual metrics, something that is not possible with offline marketing.
Digital marketing is continuing to evolve and much of it is now mobile focused as the majority of people surf the net and access their social media accounts on a mobile device or tablet. This opens up even more ways to target users online, especially by location. For local businesses this is the ideal way to reach the ideal client or customer without wasting money on areas that they do not cover.
Imagine a real estate agent based in Marbella in the days before Internet. Most buyers are based overseas so in order to get on front of these potential customers they would need to place adverts in multiple newspapers and magazines, have numerous billboards and in some cases even produce TV adverts. Now multiply that by several countries so they can reach an international audience.
With digital marketing the cost of reaching all of these people is a fraction of what it used to be using offline marketing. Plus you are targeting the right audience in the right locations and in some campaigns, targeting people actually searching for your product rather than you trying to appeal to them.
As we mentioned earlier, there is still a place for offline marketing. Branding via billboards continues to be an effective way to communicate brand messages. Radio campaigns are always an ideal way to get specific messages across in a subliminal way and TV is still effective, although it is more for the larger brands.
Magazines are still widely read and although many are also available online, there remains a captive market for readers that still prefer to read the hard copy.
The main difficulty with offline marketing when compared to online is ‘reach’ and targeting the right demographics for your product. Offline strategies tend to be more expensive than digital campaigns. Typically, a business must initially decide exactly who they are trying to reach as well as the target demographic and then try and determine what media channels can be used to reach them.
It is also more difficult to measure the success of offline marketing campaigns and calculate the ROI. Understanding how many eyes have seen your offline marketing campaign is based upon estimated data such as distribution, readership and average response rates as opposed to fact based metrics.
However these days many businesses, without even knowing it, use integrated marketing. That is the method of combining offline and online. For example most businesses running an advert in a magazine or local press will include their website address, thus driving people from offline to online. You can advertise specific events or products and then suggest that more information can be found on the website or Facebook page.
As the ‘digital’ world progresses so will new marketing techniques and the ways to specifically target the right people. Usage of things like Google accounts, search history, maps and other products helps these companies learn more about your online behaviour and therefore enables them to show you more relevant adverts based upon this information. That in turn gives the business advertising more chance of conversions.
While there will always be room for specific offline marketing techniques, online is definitely the way forward for most, if not all businesses.