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The Importance of an Integrated Offline/Online Marketing Strategy

Posted: 14th April 2016
Marketing Strategy

What’s your corporate marketing strategy based on? Do you rely on Facebook? Video promotion? Maybe you hand out discount vouchers to the people that enter your store? All of these strategies are great but do you know what’s even better? Merging your online and offline advertising efforts in a solid plan and a comprehensive strategy.

Why is it so important to maintain the same style and build your reputation in both the online and offline realms? The answer is simple – you communicate with prospects and clients in both of them.

A Few Important Numbers

Statistics prove that online and offline marketing efforts can deliver much better results than individual strategies.

Online media are constantly growing but many traditional promo channels are also maintaining their reputation. A Harris Interactive study carried out in the US, for example, suggests that 69 per cent of people trust their local newspaper. A Nielsen study shows that 54 per cent of people still have high trust in magazine and print ads.

It’s also interesting to point out that offline influences have an impact on 40 per cent of online searches. In other words, everything is connected. People may go online because they’ve come across something relevant in the offline realm and vice versa.

It’s All about Perception

Just think about it – how do you choose the products and services that you buy on a regular basis? Like many other consumers, you’re probably looking for an optimal price to quality ratio and for reliable customer service.

These characteristics can be exhibited in both online and offline campaigns. They build an image for the brand, they form the perception of the potential buyer. You can’t have a stellar online campaign that isn’t backed up by high quality customer service. Clients today have the freedom to express themselves and shape up the content about your brand. Negative testimonials (based on a disappointing offline experience) can quickly ruin the reputation that you were trying to establish.

Understand the fact that 41 per cent of people trust word of mouth promotion. They may hear about a company from a friend or a co-worker. They may learn more about it from an online review. Both of these are considered word of mouth types of advertising. This is why you can’t view online and offline channels as individual entities. They’re connected to each other. Both give people information, both give you a chance to establish a brand persona. If you leave some possibilities out of the equation, you’re missing on a huge opportunity to improve and connect even better with your prospects.

Online Feedback in the Offline Realm

The merger between online and offline has a couple of additional benefits.

Online media facilitates the communication between companies and customers. People find it a lot easier to leave you a note, a review or a score on websites like Facebook, Yelp and Google+. These channels also give you access to tons of metrics about the age, location, occupation and interests of your prospects.

Marketers are becoming better and better at tracking online-to-offline metrics. Real-world data and the extensive use of smartphones make it increasingly easy to see how online campaigns are influencing the offline behaviour of potential customers.

Many websites have responded to this demand by offering specialised services. Google Store Visits and Conversion Lift Measurement by Facebook are just two examples. The merger is already becoming three-dimensional and realistic. In the past, it was difficult to tell whether an online campaign was producing any tangible results at all. With more and more real-world data projects being executed, the gap is starting to disappear.

How to Bring Online and Offline Marketing Efforts Together

All of this sounds quite promising but what does it take to bring online and offline marketing efforts together? There are a few steps you’ll have to complete, regardless of your company’s size and the desired outcome:

  • Think about tracking results: unless you do a couple of campaign adjustments, it will be impossible to track results. Here’s a simple illustration of the concept. If you hand out leaflets in the central part of town, make sure that the print materials feature a custom URL. This way, you’ll be capable of tracking the number of website visits that the offline campaign produced.
  • Use real-time online data: what products and services are people searching for online? Which keywords bring the biggest number of visitors to your website? What are clients asking about on your Facebook page? Use this information to highlight certain products and services. You’ll find out that these trends change with the passage of time. Tracking online data will help you stay relevant and even do a bit of targeting in your offline store or office.
  • Ask people to check in: getting people to check in on Facebook or Foursquare while visiting your store broadcasts the message to their entire circle of friends. You can have discount coupons or other perks that will encourage people to tell the world where they’re shopping for certain items.
  • Feature products in your store and on your website: if you’re promoting certain products in your store, make sure those are also presented prominently on your website. Remember, it’s all about consistency!
  • Focus on stellar customer service: this is probably the most important integration tip, the one that’s in the heart and soul of every marketing campaign. By offering clients stellar customer service, you’ll be encouraging all kinds of word of mouth promotion. Your company’s core values and beliefs should be presented in your campaigns and they should also be evident in the way you interact with clients.

As time passes, marketers get more and more opportunities to do online and offline integration. As already mentioned, such strategies can be incredibly beneficial. It doesn’t take a lot to come up with a comprehensive campaign. Have a clear goal and maximise the number of channels you’re using. If you know where you want to go, you’ll soon find out how to get there.

If you need help getting your Online and Offline Marketing integrated, please get in touch.