Is it Just Cool To See Your Brand in Offline Marketing?
The other day I got a text from my mother. She had just been printed in a monthly magazine as part of an ad that some national association ran. She is an administrator for a large Ophthalmic practice. The association was advertising to encourage membership. Its an industry specific magazine and a highly focused audience. Regardless it made me think about the amount of money they spent on this ad. Based on my estimates, they probably paid about $3500 to $5000.
I was trying to figure out whether it made sense for them. The association that is. I’m not sure that they had bothered thinking about it. It’s what they do. It’s what they have done for decades and what the 4 marketing managers before them had done. Now maybe you still believe in old school print advertising. Maybe you have an urge to advertise in a local paper or magazine.
Don’t Waste Your Money On Offline Marketing
Please do me a favor and save your money. The beauty of online advertising is that it is transparent and analytical. With perfect clarity you can measure the number of people that come to your site. If you place a banner advertisement on another site, you can study your traffic figures. You can determine exactly how many people visited by clicking on that banner. Dividing the cost per person gives you an exact number and you can determine whether it makes sense for you.
Offline advertising is the complete opposite. An ad in a magazine or billboard isn’t measurable. This is part of the reason they are still in existence. It’s clear there is a value for these placements but nobody can prove what that value is.
Between the fun of seeing your ad and your optimism, you convince yourself it works. You want to believe it was a good investment but the reality is, it is probably not. If you are trying to build a brand and the publication is highly targeted you have something. This may make a good supplement to other online advertising efforts you are making. Its not a sustainable online driver though.
How Often Are You Going Online From Offline Marketing?
I ask you to think how often you are reading a newspaper or magazine and find yourself interested in an ad? You may even go ahead and fold over the page. This means “I am going to come back to this.” Now of those folded “hot pages” you have marked, how often do you actually go back to them? If you are like me probably never. But lets say you are more diligent than I am and you decide you are going to go back to the ad. Now looking at that ad again, how often do you actually go online to type in the website?
The numbers are abysmal and it’s understandable why. As an advertiser you need to make a compelling enough pitch to have someone even read your ad. Once they read it, they have to remember your company later. Then they have to actively decide to go to the computer or remember while on the computer. Lastly they have them remember your url to go to your website. It’s hopeless. The odds are .000001% of execution there. (not an official scientific study)
Online, on the contrary, is instantaneous. People are interested, they click, and you have them. It’s measurable and accountable. In my opinion is the only thing you should be focusing on when advertising an online business.
Exceptions to the Offline Marketing Rule
As with everything else there are always exceptions to the rule. Not all offline marketing is terrible. The idea of offline marketing does make sense in certain scenarios. Lets take a look at some I do agree with.
Building a Brand with a Warchest
If you are starting an online business and loaded with cash then maybe it makes sense. Offline marketing is a way to help build your brand. Unfortunately in my case my online businesses are not enormous. I’m not Nike or Amazon. I need to build my brand slowly and strategically. We are all after the same goal. Touch consumers many times until they are comfortable with the brand. Once they are comfortable, we hope to convert them to purchasers. I’m just doing it slowly and inexpensively. If you have money to spend and speed is crucial, offline marketing may be right for you. Its an expensive way to increase your touch points and push people through your conversion funnel.
You are Making Money While Marketing Offline
In another post about whether or an online store should do shows I talk about branding and marketing offline. This is the scenario of attending a trade show or sales event where you can actually sell your product. If you are somewhere that you can take orders, and you believe you are going to cover the cost of attending the event, it makes sense. This is an opportunity to market offline while also making money. You are converting customers, gathering email addresses, and familiarizing others with the brand. This offline marketing idea I like.
You Are in a Highly Targeted Easy Close Situation
I also have written about my campus guerrilla marketing techniques when I was back in college. There are certain scenarios that are exceptions. If you are going to be in an area where there are a high density of your exact demographic, there may be an opportunity. There are inexpensive guerrilla marketing techniques that work. They can give you incredible bang for your buck. In my case I was on campus with college kids marketing something I knew they were buying in the next week. The circumstances made it a no-brainer.
Just Think It Through
It’s a tough sale to convince me that offline marketing is cost effective. Its not measurable, there’s no accountability, and its expensive. Go where your customers are. If they are online and your sale happens online, join them. You can’t afford to compete offline. Disagree with me? Tell me offline tactics you are using that make sense and are accountable.
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