Offline marketing versus online marketing

Online marketing has taken off over the last few years and there are now a plethora of online marketing tools available to promote your business and generate sales.

Some interesting Internet statistics

  • The internet reaches 30% of the global population (70% of Western Europe) and there are more than 2bn users worldwide. [Source: We Are Social, January 2012]
  • 50% of UK college students buy more online than in person. [Source: Cisco, September 2011]
  • 72% of UK mobile users go to an apparel store after being exposed to a related mobile ad. [Source: Microsoft, March 2011]
  • Global display ads are growing by 18.9% per year. [Source: ZenithOptimedia, December 2011]

The above statistics make a compelling argument for focusing on online marketing which begs the question, is there still a place for offline marketing? In this blog post we highlight the advantages of both offline and online marketing:

Offline Marketing – the more traditional forms of marketing. Includes: advertising (TV, radio, press, outdoor), direct mail, Public Relations (print media), sponsorship, exhibitions etc.

Online Marketing – marketing that uses the Internet. Includes: e-mail marketing, social media, pay-per-click, blogging, QR codes, online advertising etc.

Advantages of Offline Marketing

  • Many options available – online marketing relies on prospective customers having access to the Internet. However, there are many different ways to reach customers offline e.g through the press, through their letterbox, via a  billboard poster etc.
  • Tangible and tactile – you can give customers the opportunity to experience your product e.g.via direct mail or an in-store promotion. A real experience is more powerful than a virtual one.
  • Face-to-face interaction – engaging in offline marketing such as trade shows or demonstrations gives you the opportunity to meet your customers face-to-face and interact. This can be especially important for high value transactions or services which are relationship based.

Advantages of Online Markerting

  • Easy to adapt – an online marketing campaign can be adjusted part-way through to make it more effective or capitalise on an opportunity that arises. This is not possible in the offline arena – when a leaflet or advert has gone to print it’s too late!
  • Highly targeted – online marketing, Facebook for example, allows you to target specific demographics such as gender, age and location. This is harder to achieve with offline marketing.
  • Real time tracking – the performance of your marketing campaign can easily be tracked, and often in real time, using online analytic tools. Codes and coupons can be used in offline marketing but overall it is much harder to track the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.
  • Cost effective – online promotions have unlimited reach and can be relatively inexpensive. Email is very cheap to send in comparison to postal mail. To advertise widely or send a large volume of direct mail can be prohibitively expensive.
  • Instant conversion – customers can be taken directly to your website where they can make an immediate purchase. With  offline marketing it takes more time to convert a customer into a sale.

The key starting point when planning a marketing campaign, whether offline or online, is determining who your target audience is and which is the most appropriate platform for them. For example there is no point advertising online if your target market does not have access to the Internet.

Marketing campaigns do not need to be exclusively offline or online and an integrated approach can be highly effective. In next week’s blog post we will identify ways to successfully integrate offline with online marketing.

At Straight Marketing we help clients to plan successful marketing campaigns. To read what our clients have to say about us click here or for help planning your marketing campaign click here to contact us.

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