With so many digital marketing technologies to experiment with, modern marketers can be tempted to adopt an “out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new” mindset. But before you throw out the old rule book completely, remember that many old-school tactics complement digital marketing efforts.
Here are four old-school techniques that marketers can use to support their digital marketing tactics — and vice versa:
There's a reason that credit card providers, banks and other companies continue to send direct mailings to both existing and prospective customers. If done properly, direct mailings can be an effective way to engage customers, especially for local brands. According to research firm BIA/Kelsey, direct mail accounted for more than 43 percent of local retail spending in 2012.
The weight—both literal and figurative—of direct mailings such as coupons can add gravitas to the marketing message. Offline direct mailings can be an effective complement to online tactics such as email, and should be handled through the marketing team’s automation platform to ensure the messages are targeted, personalized and trackable.
While attention and dollars are aimed at digital marketing, offline marketing is still an impactful channel in a multi-channel marketing world. Smart marketers have likely combined offline and online marketing strategies by, for example, including their personal Facebook, Twitter or other social media handles on business cards, according to MarketingProfs. Marketers are also using technologies such as NFC to connect customers’ mobile devices and print assets, driving customers to discounts or to the company’s main website.
What’s more, printed postcards are a great way to promote other marketing efforts, including offline in-store events or an online webinar. Whatever the strategy, success depends on developing a single, integrated strategy across all channels.
While not a new addition to the marketing arsenal by any means, loyalty programs can be an effective way for brands to increase engagement with existing customers in a truly integrated, multi-channel fashion. The bulk of engagement might occur through digital means such as email marketing, but don’t discount offline’s role. Marketers can send discounts, offers and reminders about unclaimed points via direct mail and postcards. Southwest Airlines, for example, uses an integrated online-offline approach to reach customers through its loyalty and discounted fares programs. In addition to direct mail with a rundown of available points, the company also sends drink coupons and advertises discounted rates through a mix of digital and offline channels.
Who doesn’t want something for free? It's even better if that swag is something tangible to hold, no matter how insignificant.
Sure, email marketing isn’t an offline strategy. It's old-school, and it still works. In fact, email is experiencing a sort of revival in terms of popularity. David Carr, the New York Times’ media columnist, recently wrote about the rising popularity of various media newsletters.
“It helps that email, long dismissed as a festering petri dish of marketing come-ons, has cleaned up its act,” Carr writes. “Gmail, in particular, has stamped out a lot of spam and segmented the inbox into personal, social and promotional streams that make email much less a mess than it used to be.”
To effectively use email to reach customers, modern marketers must cut through the noise. Marketers will send 258 billion emails this year, but they must be smart and use all available data to tailor those email messages to the customer and to track the campaign's effectiveness.
[Image via Can Stock Photo]