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  • Angela Dobbie

Going Off the Grid: Traditional Marketing Methods

Going Off the Grid Billboard

In a world that has transitioned to technology at every turn, businesses race to adopt digital marketing strategies to promote their products and services. And while there are many benefits from going digital, it raises the question "what ever happened to the good ol' fashioned marketing methods?"

Traditional (aka "offline" or "old school") marketing methods are still going strong and offer unique opportunities for companies to reach their target audiences. Below we've outlined a few of the traditional marketing methods and the benefits you can gain from using each as part of your overarching marketing strategy.

Traditional Marketing Methods

Magazine print ads
  • Display / Print Ads: If your ideal customers subscribe to printed periodicals, such as fashion or travel magazines, a well-positioned and cleverly crafted print ad can get your brand seen by your target audience.

  • Mail Outs / Letterbox Drops: If your company offers home care products or regional services, you can send out printed flyers to select post codes that introduce your company and gets your brand right inside the homes of your target customers.

  • Flyers / Handouts: Like the letterbox drop method noted above, you can also hand out printed flyers at events or locations where your target audience will be.

  • Television Ads: If your target audience is likely to watch broadcast television - such as the local news, live sporting events, or limited release programs - and your company offers products or services with wide appeal, then catchy TV ads may be an appropriate option for you.

  • Radio Ads: Similar to TV ads, if your company offers products or services with wide appeal, and your ideal customer likes to spend time listening to the radio - either in the car or tinkering in the shop - then radio ads are a solid choice.

  • Billboards, Signage & Large Format Display: If your target audience is known to frequent a particular area, and/or you have a highly visual product or service, then a large scale billboard or well-positioned sign may be a great option for you.

  • Tradeshows: If your company has a physical product or innovative service specific to a particular industry, or your target audience includes business professionals, then attending and displaying at an industry tradeshow will provide many opportunities to get in front of prospective customers who are there to do business.

  • Product Placement: Displaying or providing product samples in high-traffic or highly-visible locations is a great way to introduce your brand to new prospects and convert them into paying customers.

  • Sponsorship: Sponsoring events, youth teams, and/or charitable programs is a solid opportunity to positively promote your company and increase brand awareness. This is a good option if your target audience includes parents, participants, attendees, or event organizers.

  • Giveaways / Swag: If all else fails, why not try to buy customer loyalty with free swag? Giveaways offer your company unique branding opportunities that can have long-lasting brand visibility, provided the swag is decent quality and useful to the recipient.

Points to Consider When "Going Off the Grid"

While there are (still) many traditional marketing methods to choose from, there are a few points to consider when selecting offline options to promote your products or services.

Higher Costs

One of the most significant factors to sway your decision for offline marketing is its expense. Most of the methods we listed above require a much larger investment when compared to their digital counterparts.

Print flyers, brochures and handouts.

While printed flyers and mailouts may be at the low end of the scale and relatively inexpensive, print ads can range in the thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per insertion depending on the publication and ad size - and that doesn't include graphic design costs to develop the ad creative!

TV and radio ads can be costly to produce in addition to the expense for ad spots on broadcast networks. Exhibiting at tradeshows also tops out the scale due to costs for booth display, supporting marketing materials, giveaway swag. and travel.

Environmental Impact

A second point to consider when using traditional marketing methods is the environmental impact; printed materials, including the newspapers and periodicals your ads are published in, create a great deal of paper waste. Not only does this negatively affect the environment, it may also alienate your prospective customers if they feel your printed flyer adds no direct value beyond the paper its printed on.

Life Limits

Another limiting factor of printed materials is they can only be current to the day they're printed. This can significantly impact the life span of your printed materials, especially if your products or services evolve soon after you've done a large print run. With printed materials, you should assume they'll only last as long as it takes for a customer to get a first glance and will likely be recycled the very next day.

The Blanket Approach

Spraying with a hose.

The last point to consider when selecting offline marketing methods is their blanket approach to promoting your corporate brand. Also known as the "spray and pray" approach to marketing, traditional methods are largely used for general brand awareness as they lack the ability to target specific audience groups with customized messaging like digital marketing channels can.

Best Arguments For Traditional Marketing

So after reviewing these points of consideration, you may now be asking yourself, "why even bother with traditional marketing methods?"

Believe it or not, there are still a large number of people who don't engage in social media, don't use computers, or don't know how to do a Google search. These folks are largely in the older demographic, so if seniors are among your target customers, offline marketing channels may be the best way to reach them.

Signage increasing brand equity.

Another benefit of traditional marketing is the layering affect it can have to grow your brand equity, especially when used in conjunction with other channels. The combination of seeing an ad on TV, hearing a radio jingle featuring your company name, and seeing your logo printed on a flyer in their mailbox can have a powerful and lasting effect with prospective customers when it comes to brand recognition.

So depending on your marketing objective, your budget, and your target audience, "going off the grid" with traditional marketing methods may offer your company the ability to promote your products or services in a unique way.

If you think using traditional offline marketing methods could benefit your company but you need a bit of help getting started, we're always here to lend a hand!

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