How to balance offline and online marketing

No business has a bottomless budget when it comes to marketing and promotion. Thus, you need a combination of tools and activities, driven by a strong strategy that delivers results. Colour Graphics take a look at how to balance offline and online marketing.

Marketing is about selling and not just products but your brand. It is a tough challenge finding the right combination of both online and offline marketing techniques and tools. Throw into the mix budget constraints and perhaps a lack of expertise too, and you can see where the problems lay.

But in this digital world in which we now live, we can also assume that offline marketing – the flyers and leaflets, the radio adverts, business cards and the like – are ‘old hat’, tools that have had their day and are no longer relevant.

But they are. Evidence shows that offline marketing can still be as powerful as it once was with 21% of companies predicting they will increase their spend on offline marketing in the future.  But there is an important caveat – there is no point increasing offline marketing spend if that is not where your customers are at, the same being true of online promotion.

Getting the balance

And so, when it comes to marketing offline and online, there needs to be a balance. But what factors determine where your balance should be? What works for one company may not work for another.

Thus, it is important to understand what drives your decision to market and advertise on either or both of these platforms.

  1. Know your business – it is amazing the number of business owners who think they know their business and yet, get tripped up by one small question. In order for you to promote your business in either forum of offline or online, you need to have a practical understanding of the products your customers will receive.

It may have been back in 1992 when the then-chairman of H-Samuel described their products as ‘total crap’ but it is an infamous phrase which continued to haunt the jewellery chain for decades. It is essential everyone talks up your products.

  1. Know your niche & market – understanding this means you can deliver your marketing message in the right way. In other words, in the way that your customer would expect. You only have to look at the unintentional but damaging faux pas on social media of various companies to understand why this is important.
  2. Run with what works – in some ways, it makes sense to run with what works. So, if you get a great response from direct mailing and trade shows, then it is viable to continue with these. But this doesn’t mean shutting down and not trying anything else. In fact, a strand of your marketing strategy should be a development strategy. How else can you reach your customer base? What new promotional methods could earn you new customers and fans?
  3. Ask customers – feedback from customers is an important foundation from which to grow your business. Listening is not something that brands have always been very good at doing but the signals are all there. We live in an ever-changing and shifting society, so what was acceptable last year may no longer be seen in the same light. Ask your customers what they want and how they see things but listen to the shifting social climate too.

Adverts from the past make for an interesting commentary on social values. However, it begs the question, were these adverts from the past ever really acceptable?

  1. Test your campaign – before you go all out and launch a zillion-dollar campaign bringing your product to the masses, test it on a smaller scale beforehand. This gives you the opportunity to make the small tweaks and changes needed before it goes viral – and this means offline and online viral!
  2. Cross-promote – there is no denying that when it comes to successful promotions, a combination of online and offline channels and tools have a wider reaching effect. There is no reason why an online or offline marketing campaign has to stand alone and isolated.
  3. Test and measure – at the start of every campaign, your marketing team should be asking ‘how will success be measured?’. But you also need to be clear about what results spell success. This means setting clear goals and objectives.

Marketing online and offline needs to be strategized and meet the needs of your customer – don’t try and create an online viral campaign if your consumers access your products via offline means and vice versa.

Which channels work best for your business?

Colour Graphics has been helping businesses of all shapes and sizes to reach their customers with a powerful combination of offline and online marketing for over twenty years. Connect with them on Facebook.