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Graeme Benge

Why Integration Is Key: Digital Marketing Versus Offline Marketing

18th Mar 2014 Brand 4 minutes to read

bigstock-Business-concept-Integration--53194183Digital Marketing has evolved rapidly over the last five years. Maybe longer. Its speed to market, its improved ROI attribution and scale of reach has taken Digital Marketing from buzzword to a staple of any forward thinking company’s marketing strategy. Yet, is there still a place for offline marketing?

Integration is key when it comes to both marketing approaches. Here’s what I’ve discovered.

Yes, Digital Has Grown

  • 71% of businesses plan to increase digital marketing budgets this year
  • The average increase in budget is 27% compared to 2013

(Source: Econsultancy)

Digital Marketing Covers All Bases

Digital Marketing however is a broad church covering paid advertising, search engine optimisation, branding, social media, content marketing and PR. It’s push and it’s pull marketing. This underlines its effectiveness; it is flexible in ways that offline marketing can never be – due to speed to market and budget economies.

Digital Marketing Is Easier To Measure ROI

Measurement is now getting more intelligent. With the evolution of Google Analytics bringing functionality to measure behaviour at a user level rather than a session level, a more intelligent insight is available to marketers. Google Analytics isn’t the only measurement tool out there either so this ‘upgrade’ will push others to compete or publicise how their solution trumps Google’s.

The key is to have the skill to review and use the data. The platform, be it Google Analytics, Piwik or Site Catalyst only gives you the ‘what’. A human touch is needed to get to the ‘why’. Then you can refine your strategy accordingly. They key though is that the measurement of your digital efforts is largely in place prior to you launching said efforts. Offline measurement happens post event as long as good data capture hygiene is in place for your direct mail piece, newspaper advert etc. It has a myriad of accuracy considerations that can skew your data to the point of it not being useable.

Digital Marketing Is Cheaper

With print run costs, materials and labour massively at such a scale, much of this can be offset in Digital Marketing. It’s by no means a reason to scrimp as in-house or agency talent is vital to making money online.

The skillset needs to centre on offering content of value to your audience. Analysis of user behaviour and conversion triggers. It needs to encompass design and development at the heart of everything; two things that are not entirely the same thing but serves the same purpose. And finally it needs to be found by readers, bots and fans.

As you look around your marketing team you’ll now be seeing:

  • Web Development that understands user experience
  • Web Design that understands user experience
  • Copywriting combining solution oriented content with compelling reasons to have your prospects open up their wallets/purses (delete as appropriate)
  • The ability for that content to then earn links
  • SEO that balances the effective labelling or targeting of a page with clearly getting the value of the content across

That sort of profile is going to belong to a team of people, so no small investment.

What Is The Point In Doing Offline Marketing?

bigstock-Old-Way-New-Way-47810777 (1)

Direct Mail Is Still The Most Effective Marketing Method

Being on the coffee table sets you apart from the online masses. People like to have something tangible to hold whilst pondering their purchase. Direct mail puts your product or services in front of people of which you should have a profile, and with which to target your offering:

  • Seasonality (when in the year they purchase)
  • Price point
  • Product type

This pre-qualification means you’ve a customer further down the sales funnel as you’ve sent products they like, at prices around their budget around the time of year they start fact finding prior to a purchase.

Newspaper Advertising Gets The Phones Ringing

A well timed newspaper ad can set the phones alight. Newspapers offer a way of extending your reach and are also a great way of targeting new custom but from within the same demographic that you wish to target.

Digital Marketing And Offline Marketing Should Actually Grow Old Together

The simple fact is that one cannot replace the other. Digital marketing is evolving at a rapid rate, perhaps more so than traditional offline methods. However, in the same way that messages are best received in multiple ways (audio, visual and kinaesthetic), this should also count for how they are transmitted.

A business selling a product or service needs to have cemented themselves in the subconscious of their prospect. That will either be by implanting their brand with a halo of trust or product recall that drives the prospect to you.

So now if you’ve printed a brochure or sent out a postcard and not included your website’s URL there’s something not right, equally if your prospects have given you their postal address you own them some value if you’ve any hope of nurturing a relationship that you provides revenue.

This simply boils down to being there at the point the decision to purchase is made, being there for the prospect at the point the credit card comes out. So it doesn’t matter if it’s a brochure, an e-shot or a newspaper ad. Your marketing plan can’t afford to not fish where the fish are – which is everywhere nowadays.

Image Credits:

Business concept: Integration on computer keyboard background from BigStock
Old Way-New Way from BigStock

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Graeme Benge
About the author

Graeme Benge

Graeme is a self-confessed chocolate addict and his carefully curated physique reflects this. His beard is better than yours and if you ever want to see such a majestic creature you can find him in the ‘room of doom’ listening to rock and heavy metal.


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