I recently read a case study where Pepsi chose to go invest a great deal on Online Marketing, in order to start transitioning from traditional media and focus more on their web presence. And this test resulted in significant loses.
And as you might imagine, many “experts” jumped to claim that Online Marketing is not as effective as offline, that it’s risky, that you should never stop doing offline marketing and so on.
What do you think?
I personally think that it’s a matter of understanding the CHANNEL you’re using to market your business.
One important factor that I’m amazed many marketers and business owner fail to acknowledge is the state of mind that the observer is going through at the moment of interacting with their marketing. It’s one thing to place your message on a billboard, a very different one to create a magazine ad and yet another one to craft a message to be spread online.
If your “Online Strategy” is to simply use your magazine ads as pictures to post on twitter and post funny pictures on Facebook, then you might be better off spending your money on magazines and billboards. You won’t get customers either way, but at least by having a billboard or a magazine ad your ego gets fed.
There’s so much to talk about marketing, and in reality, I’ve always believed that there are only 2 types of marketing: good and bad.
But the point I’m trying to make today with this post, is that good offline marketing DOES NOT means that you can just use it by placing it online. Many big brands, to this day, simply translate their TV commercials and printed advertising, to online videos and banner adds on high traffic sites.
In order to not make this post too long, I’ll just go ahead and share with you the main 3 differences that I see when comparing Online vs. Offline Marketing:
- Offline marketing is IMPERSONAL, Online marketing is PERSONAL. How could you make a personal message through TV, radio, billboards or print? You have to rely on remarkable market research, then translated into outstanding copywriting, so you can get your message across -and sadly most offline materials lack both research and good copywriting.
But none of the traditional mediums represent a personal approach and are usually invasive for the observer. The experience online is different. When you’re online, you’re using either your personal or work computer, a tablet or a smartphone. The context of the interaction with marketing is completely different, and it allows for much, MUCH more than a one-way communication between the observer and some ad. When thinking online marketing, think of content consumption, natural navigation and personal interactions. Leverage from the virtual “one-on-one” environment that the web allows.
- Offline marketing is about IMPRESSIONS, Online marketing is about ENGAGEMENT. When doing offline marketing, since all you have is a fraction of a second or a bit more to get your message across, you have to aim to some sort of memorability. In other words, you must create an impression on the observer. And in order to get as many as you can, it becomes a numbers game. When doing online marketing, it’s good to create an impression, but more than that, you can create a deliberately structured sequence of steps so you can LEAD the observer into content or materials that he cares about. The goal is to create engagement, particularly in the way of social sharing, commenting, subscribing or passing your information forward. This is not only effective as “anchors” for the observer, but also as a natural and effective way to promote your site or materials, through a word of mouth effect. The key is to create content or materials that are worth engaging in.
- Offline marketing is about BRANDS, Online marketing is about the CUSTOMER. It’s pretty tough to think of alternatives that don’t really fall into “branding” in the offline world. Sure, you have direct response marketing, but most marketers and business owners are a bit skeptic of this style of marketing and usually go into putting their brand “out there” in a broadcasting mode. When it comes to Online marketing, you have to be clear that the reader couldn’t care less about brands (including yours). Even though the reader is visiting or interacting in public sites, when he’s at it, it’s about HIM. The reader is the “curator” of the content he reads, he gets to decide what is worth reading or consuming. What to share, what is valuable and what is not. It’s about the customer, NOT about the brand.
My intention with this post is not about “proving” that online marketing is better.
If your business can use offline marketing, then by all means make sure that it’s properly built and do not discount its effectiveness.
My point is for you to acknowledge and have full clarity on how the online world needs special attention when it comes to marketing strategies. By simply putting your offline marketing on the web, you will not get results. You need to understand the peculiarities, and in my opinion, most small business owners can rely completely on online marketing. It’s cost effective, it happens in real time, you get to track results and become an active participant on it when growing your business.
Hopefully these insights and ideas are helpful to your understanding of marketing, and if they are, remember that you can subscribe to this blog and get access to content available to members only.