Combining online and offline strategy?

Will online overrule offline marketing in the end? As an online marketing agency we would be happy to say yes, but it is not that simple. Basically online and offline should strengthen each other. But for how long?

Almost the whole world is online these days. Traditional marketing landscape has changed and  some believe that the internet has killed their worth and cost-effectiveness as part of their marketing plan. But website owners and companies should not abandon their traditional offline marketing efforts in order to start of SEO and SEM any more than they should ignore the changing landscape to an online world. Following either of these tunnel vision approaches will only hurt their business.

An online presence provide companies with the possibility to connect with their consumers on a different level. Their brand can reach into lives of their target group deeper than ever. With every moment having the possibility to call that user to action. More and more users turn to search engines to query, ask questions and find information. Therefore it does not make sense for a company not to promote their website and products as the answer to the user’s query in search engines. Especially it is important to have a high online presence when users search for that company or one of their products in particular.

Also with the growing use of social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, and new phenomenons of high frequency deal providers like Groupon, companies can push their SEO efforts and reach a larger consumer base that can be better targeted than before.

But none of these online developments can overcome a lack of offline branding and promotion. If consumers do not know a product by name or company, it will be harder for them to find your website unless with a little luck. Therefore online and offline efforts need to work together to help a business grow and promote their brand at your target group.

Let’s use an example: let’s say a restaurant offers a Mother’s day special. They are trying to get word out about their Mother’s day promotion that gives customers two glasses of champagne with their dinner if they make a reservation before May 8th. The restaurant post this special to all their search and social networking profiles  and creates events there. Of course the promotion will also be placed on the restaurant’s website. Next to that they also print the Mother’s day special offer at the bottom of the customers receipts for the last week of April and the first week in May, asking them to book their reservation once they have finished their meal. The restaurant also creates a partnership with the flower shop next door, where guests can purchase a custom designed Mother’s day bouquet with a discount when they mention their reservation at the restaurant. The flower shop posts this joint-promotion to their website, hangs a sign in the front window and placed an advertisement in the local newspaper announcing the joint Mother’s day promotion.

All of the above mentioned efforts strengthen and work with each other to promote the restaurant’s Mother’s day special. The results are a fully booked restaurant and a very busy florist and very happy mothers/customers.

Online + Offline = 100% Success

Conclusion: There is no answer yet on the question “will online overrule offline marketing?”. The landscape is changing and it is important to follow these developments and not to underestimate the power of the combination; offline and online. Only relying on offline or online efforts will affect a possible successful campaign. Every marketing plan should allow space for both to be implemented.

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