While many experts are emphasizing the trend toward internet-based marketing, traditional marketing methods still play a useful role for many types of businesses. Effective marketing requires an understanding of a target audience, including age, education, geography, buying behavior and media preferences. Billboards, handouts, print ads, direct mail, and telemarketing can all be particularly effective at reaching specific niche groups, experts say, especially those less inclined to be internet users. Physical marketing can also work well for groups that tend to frequent a specific geographic area.
Today’s marketers believe that in addition to market analysis, business leaders need to understand the relative strengths of various media. Traditional marketing can be a relatively fast means of reaching a target group, especially as compared to social media and websites. Some old school methods, such as networking and events, also provide advantages when it comes to building trust and credibility.
Many marketing experts are urging businesses to implement an integrated approach, using traditional and electronic media to complement and magnify the overall impact. Local marketing coach Veronika Noize explained that a comprehensive marketing plan needs to have components targeted toward attracting, selling to and retaining customers. As Noize explained it, visibility and lead generation fulfill the role of attracting the consumer; a coupon or sale can help motivate a purchase; and retention means staying in touch with customer. The breadth of the approach requires a variety of online and offline methods.
Looking at demographics
In Vancouver, Noize coaches her clients to focus on the marketing triangle: market, message, and media.
“Marketing needs to be based on the expectations, habits and preferences of the market. For instance, very few people these days are reading the daily paper. Still, it is worthwhile for some businesses to advertise there,” she noted.
The key, Noize said, is evaluating your market’s media preferences alongside the benefits of individual techniques.
Traditional marketing has its greatest advantages among those who use the Internet the least. Recent studies show approximately 78 percent of Americans use the Internet, leaving more than 20 percent who cannot be reached by an Internet campaign. Businesses targeting an older audience, or those with lower incomes or lower education levels, can usefully allocate a higher proportion of the marketing budget to traditional techniques, as these demographic groups use the Internet the least. Internet usage drops below 50 percent for those over 65 years of age, and for adults who did not graduate high school.
Noize also emphasized an awareness of each medium’s relative strengths, saying that electronic marketing can at times lack warmth and credibility. Marketing is about building familiarity and trust, she noted, and about cultivating relationships. While an Internet strategy is absolutely essential, Noize warned not to neglect old school practices, such as networking.
“People do business with people they know, like and trust,” she explained. “The more people who know you or about you, the more business will come your way.”
At Numa Marketing in Vancouver, Tiffany Meyer agreed that a personal touch can yield big results.
“We have become so overwrought with digital messages, it leads people to turn off to them. In an environment that craves authenticity, a hand-written thank you note can be particularly effective at getting a customer’s attention,” said Meyer.
Integrating the approach
Meyer’s specialty is working with small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Often with niche products, services and limited budgets, these customers typically need unique strategies that deliver maximum impact for the dollar. Meyer advises customers to avoid putting the tactic before the goal.
The key is to understand your market, she said, as well as the impact of various marketing forms. Then, utilize a multifaceted approach to reach your audience economically.
Noize is also a proponent of a multi-media strategy. She said, “Everybody should be on Facebook,” a potent and inexpensive marketing platform. However, a broad media strategy “shows market pre-eminence,
and builds familiarity, credibility and trust.”
At the same time, Noize urges businesses to get the maximum mileage out of marketing content. For example, she said a published article can be posted to the company website, used in a direct mail campaign, framed and placed on the office wall, and used in a press kit. The article can be publicized further through social media like Facebook and Twitter. Subsequently, the article can be republished in other publications, and distributed online through numerous avenues.
Whatever the medium, the marketing community has changed the way it deals with content, according to Meyer. Today’s content, she said, is likely to spend more time identifying with the customer, and less time glorifying the product or service.
Meyer said there are simply more choices in front of the consumer these days. As a result, she advises businesses to consider how they can best stand out in a crowd. Whatever the method used, businesses need to constantly improve their relationships in terms of numbers and quality. While media and markets are key components in this process, businesses are well advised to carefully hone their message.