In today’s world, our lives revolve around digital communications. It’s hard to think of a day which doesn’t involve some form of interaction with something digital – whether that’s our phones, a computer, or even an interactive billboard.
It wasn’t always be this way, of course. For most of us, we have seen this shift take place within our lifetimes. Since we all panicked about Y2K, social media has become a pretty big deal, around 380 new websites spring up every minute and 51% of the world’s population has access to the internet. Times have well and truly changed.
That’s why marketing has changed too. Offline marketing, such as direct mail, and digital marketing can no longer be segregated as separate disciplines. They overlap and intertwine with a plethora of digital marketing channels. In 2019, there is an increasing number of ways to create a seamless customer experience. This develops your brand identity to its greatest potential both within a small screen and when you look up from one.
So, does marketing in 2019 simply encompass the on and offline output under one umbrella or do we still keep things a little separate? Let’s discuss.
Consider your target audience
This should be a starting point in all types of marketing activity. Who are you trying to reach? How are you going to reach them? To do this, you have to put yourself in the position of your prospective customer. What media do they consume, such as TV programmes or newspapers and magazines? Will they respond to a digital billboard at a train station or do they typically drive to work? Do they use social media?
The benefit of our media saturated world is that there are so many ways to get your messaging out there. But, this is all the more reason to have that joined-up approach when it comes to both on and offline marketing so there is that all-important continuity.
There are almost never ending ways of reaching out to potential customers. Posters, flyers, mailers, advertising, social media, blogs, websites – you name it, we all do it these days. However, you don’t have to do it all. In fact, it’s probably best not to. This is where that insight into your target audience comes back into its own. Pick the right marketing avenues for you and your chosen demographic and stick to it – don’t just get a Snapchat channel because everyone else has.
Choose your words carefully
Language is more than just semantics. The words you choose will show whether you know who you are talking to or not. The most obvious examples would be how a young fashion brand, such as ASOS, may use hashtags, current slang or buzzwords to show that they have their finger on the pulse with the generation they are targeting. But, this would also translate to any printed materials they send out too, such as their member magazines or leaflets sent out with deliveries. This would be in stark contrast to the language used in a magazine aimed at the older generation, such as Saga for example. A reader – and target customer – needs to feel familiar and welcomed by the community you create across all your marketing materials. Get it wrong, and you risk alienating the exact people you aim to appeal to.
However, even within one company, there can be different language styles used depending on what purpose it is setting out to serve. For example, a charity adopts a very different tone of voice for its fundraising, public affairs or campaigning materials. Yet, they are all synonymous to that brand and linked together so there’s no confusing your brand with your closest competitors.
Data is digital’s best friend
Modern marketing gives us a gift which we never previously had. 20 years ago, it would be almost impossible to really track the direct impact of an advert in a magazine. Today, tracking responses is what marketers live for. We can spend hours looking at the data we are given by analytics on social media and Google. We are better informed than ever to ensure that what we create is hitting the mark by resonating with an audience and leading to some form of action, whether that’s a purchase in a shop on the high street or a social media share.
That is why no form of marketing acts in silo anymore. On and offline marketing overlap constantly and can therefore no longer be separated – and quite rightly so. That valuable insight can inform our marketing, whether that’s on or offline. Through trial and error, we can test what we do until it’s practically perfect.
As with many aspects of life, digital communications have changed the way that we do things. Marketing is just one of those. When online and offline marketing go hand in hand, we can deliver better results. Rather than digital marketing replacing more traditional types, they can complement each other to boost both the customer experience and the profits of the business.