When you think of direct/field marketing you might have flashbacks of junk mail, leaflets, overly pushy sales reps on high streets and cold-callers. If we’re honest with ourselves, it can be frustrating right? Despite this, brands continue to turn to field marketing agencies. This is definitely an efficient move, however the question we really want answered is how effective is this in an increasingly digital world? The answer can be “very” – but only with logical steps towards integration. Let’s get to the heart of the differences, and why amalgamating these two disciplines can be a challenge.  

What is Offline Marketing?

Offline marketing is promotion that takes place completely offline and refers to methods such as business cards, leafleting, TV adverts, billboards, radio, pop-ups and events. Now living in a digital world these methods are often overlooked by start-ups, however for certain industries this will be the most effective way to reach the consumer without them being aware. For example, in the finance sector, newspaper ads are 5.7 times more effective, in comparison to retail (2.8 times more). For telecoms companies like TalkTalk, Vodafone and Sky, the use of door-to-door marketing offers a range of advantages, as their products are designed for the home. When considering your campaign strategy, first consider your industry and what you aim to provide for your customer.

Pros and Cons of Offline Marketing

There are clear advantages to direct marketing. One being its ability to add a personal touch when reaching out to customers. For example, the brand Inkpact offer a service to deliver handwritten letters – sending a message that isn’t just personalised but personal. Adversely, the cost of printing materials is high, direct marketing is time consuming and sometimes it lacks efficacy with certain demographics. So the real question is: what is the golden ticket to aligning your offline and online strategy?

A strategic, omni-channel campaign will enable you to use each platform to its individual strength. Print advertisements are ideal when you want the customer to read a message or a call to action. Ideal locations include the London underground tube cars and public transport stations as 60% of passengers notice when new ads appear. Social media is where your brand should use visually striking content that makes you stand out in the masses. When utilising an omni-channel campaign there are some points to consider that will ensure your brand message is memorable and can reach a large group.

1. A Clear Objective

Ensure you have a clear goal in mind when planning your campaign. This could be increasing sales by 25% in Q3 or to gain 2000 female Instagram followers in one month. When you have a clear objective, you create strong foundations for the direction you want your campaign strategy to take. Also, when forming an objective ask yourself the question, what am I offering to the customer? In doing so, you will form your value proposition, which will help guide you to an objective for your campaign strategy.

2. The Golden Thread

The golden thread is the key message or theme that your campaign is aiming to portray throughout your marketing material. In continuing this golden thread you will remind your customer in all your marketing messages, making it more likely that they will remember it. To form your golden thread, decide who am I trying to reach? Answer this question by considering demographics, psychographics and the media platforms most effective within each category. Strong audience insight is key when form a seamless golden thread in a campaign/strategy. Meltwater audience insight reports provide clients with access to far richer analyses than available. Insights that pull together insights such as commonalities in interests, keywords and communities that are keeping up with each other online. It is these more in-depth insights that will allow you to design a campaign perfectly suited to the groups you’re reaching out to. 

Also, when possible try and include an interactive element in your field campaign that aligns with your online material. This can be a QR code that sends the customer directly to your website, a personalised voucher, a discount code or hashtag that represents your campaign.

3. A Brand Story

Your brand story must be clear for any campaign, whether it is online or offline. This narrative lies at the core of your brand, and includes what you stand for, your brand personality, what you want your customer to be familiar with when deciding to invest into you. Your story will be represented through your tone of voice, typography and imagery and of course the campaign itself. When piecing together your brand story a key question to ask is how will my consumer relate to this?

A great example of this is the Tom’s brand story, a shoe company born on the basis of giving back to a child less fortunate. For every pair bought the brand would donate a pair in return as part of their ‘One for One’ promise which provoked a call for action in customers, as they knew their purchase would have a direct impact elsewhere. The brand have donated over 93 million pairs of shoes and are now committed to helping other crises, with the most recent being to end gun violence. 

Coca Cola – Sustainability

Coca-Cola recently used this approach by making an innovative billboard with the famous white ribbon design literally pointing down towards a recycling bin. This aligns with the brands current ‘World Without Waste’ goal for Coca-Cola to recycle one bottle or can for every one they sell by 2030. In using this simplistic and to-the-point approach to billboard advertising, Coca-Cola showed their commitment as a brand to the issue of reducing the environmental impact of their packaging.

The objective for Coca-Cola was to have more customers recycling their packaging. The golden thread was their commitment to being a fully sustainable brand, and their brand story, was shown through the iconic red and white graphic design. This is just one example of a business using print marketing in line with their brand strategy, that is translated across platforms.

Source: Creative Review

How Can These 3 Steps Help You?

It is essential for a business to take a step back and consider the best way to engage their audiences. These 3 steps will aid you in the brainstorming process to create a well thought-out campaign that is fluent across online and offline channels. The key takeaway here is the impact direct marketing can have alongside a well-considered online campaign. Direct marketing is still very effective but is dependent on the industry you are positioned in. Ask yourself, what am I offering? Who am I offering it to? What media sources do our audiences invest their time into? In addressing these questions you will bring together your objective, thread and story which can maximise the potential impact of your campaign.

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