By Damyant Singh Khanoria
With digital becoming more pervasive, marketing has undergone a seismic shift. Technological trends are so volatile that what works today may become obsolete tomorrow. As market conditions can change anytime, it’s imperative that brands future-proof their marketing strategies. A unified marketing approach that integrates online and offline strategy can be powerful for growing your brand awareness and safeguarding your strategies from the future.
Integrating online and offline marketing is quite a detailed process. Once the primary goal of your campaign is determined, there are numerous ways by which different channels can be integrated together. For instance, you may run a television ad campaign offline and use Twitter hashtag in that ad. Encourage your offline customers to go online and use that hashtag when posting from the event on their timelines. In fact, hashtags can be added to all your outbound methods such as print ads, broadcasting, etc. Alternatively, TV and radio ads can be used to push offline consumers to your website for an online event or promotion.
Hybrid Model: Key to Increased Conversions
Combining online and offline marketing is the most effective way of optimizing customer journey across various touchpoints. There are tons of ways brands can integrate traditional advertising with digital.
The most important aspect of bridging online and offline marketing is adopting consistent branding across all channels of promotion by creating cohesive campaigns. This means choosing the same logo colour, design, fonts, and styles throughout all your campaigns and marketing activities. For instance, your website’s colour scheme should be incorporated in your business cards, while postcards and flyers should carry a visual link to your social media handles. This helps create a consistent visual flow that makes it easy for the current and prospective customers to identify your brand, whether it’s offline or online. For successful integration, synergy across your offline and online branding is critical. Users should be able to recognize the brand no matter which channel or route they come from.
Generate Interactions Through Social Media
Another effective way of linking your digital and offline marketing is offering your customers the opportunity to interact with your brand through social media. For instance, you can run campaigns that give discounts if customers sign up for your email subscriber list or follow you on your Facebook or Instagram pages. Or you can encourage readers of a print article to comment on a particular topic by using hashtags with your company name or a specific topic. This way your audience can interact with your brand in a digital format.
Also, tying your online (analytics) and offline (CRM) data can help build an in-depth customer profile and better understand the whole customer journey. Once integrated, this data can be leveraged in your marketing strategy. Cross-promotion is another way in which online and offline promotions can be strung together. For example, if you want to put out a smartphone ad for a specific event, then boost your offline reach using social media. Put out a preview, countdown, or banner ad on your website or social media.
As part of your marketing strategy, incorporate online calls-to-action (CTA) in your offline advertising pieces. On your printed ads and pamphlets, lay down reasons for your audience to visit a specific landing page where you can capture their contact information for a subsequent follow-up.
Mobile advertising can also help build brand awareness. Use trackable phone numbers, URLs and UTMs. URLs and phone numbers can be set up and connected to a particular print ad. Every URL will be specific to a specific ad. Always remember to use CTAs and lead capture forms while using landing pages and URLs.
Even the generations of audience you target might not be at the same point in a buyer’s journey. Therefore, different generations of audiences will require different sets of marketing strategies. Businesses need to have specific social media plans for tapping into Generation Z, in addition to Millennials, Generation X, and baby boomers. While others are already spending significantly, Gen Zers will emerge as major spenders in the future. So, running authentic, non-traditional, and meaningful campaigns will attract this generation. It’s also important to engage on social media not only with Gen Zers, but with millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers to reach consumers better.
The Bottom Line
Customer journeys are being shaped by online and offline media consumption. People want product information across different channels anytime, anywhere. The widespread proliferation of marketing channels means that integration is necessary for brands to create a unified experience for their customers. The beauty of combining the two forms of marketing is that one’s advantages cancel out the disadvantages of the other. It gives marketers the best of both worlds and helps them prepare for the future.
The author is chief marketing officer of OPPO India