Are Old School Marketing Strategies Still Valid?


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Back in the day, brochures, flyers, direct mail and yellow pages listings were THE way to get your company’s name out there. Nowadays much of the focus on marketing has been directed online. But is there a place for old school marketing strategies? Depending on your company’s target market, the answer may be yes. The suggestions below can help your get savvy about using old-school marketing strategies to increase your customer base.

Target Your Audience

At the risk of stating the obvious, one major advantage of print advertising and marketing is that you know where it’s going. Use this advantage to be savvy with your marketing message. Do a bit of research to determine the needs of your target audience. This doesn’t necessarily require an elaborate effort.

For instance, a check of your own company’s sales records should reveal what products or services sell well versus those that don’t sell so well. Use that information to target your company’s print marketing efforts to point out how your company’s products and services meet your customers’ (and potential customers’) needs.

By the way, targeting your audience includes using original graphics and photos, rather than stock images. Photos of satisfied customers (used with their permission) or photos of your company’s location, tools, products or staff reinforces a personal approach to which customers are more likely to respond. Using original visuals may cost more initially, but this is one area where going cheap definitely does not pay.

Print Ads and Marketing Are Safer

Print ads and marketing materials have another advantage over online materials: no risk of data breaches. It’s an unfortunate fact that many people are understandably wary of online materials and won’t click on links – even those included in email messages from apparently legitimate sources. This means your online message may never reach its intended audience.

All News Is Local

Is a significant proportion of your customer base in their 60s or older? Does your city or town have a widely circulated daily or weekly newspaper or local magazine? Are hyperlocal (publications focused on a single neighborhood) published in your area? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” then local media advertising could be an excellent element to your overall marketing mix. Older individuals are more likely to read newspapers than younger individuals, who tend to obtain their news from digital sources. Local magazines and hyperlocal news publications) are also logical targets for your company’s marketing efforts — and especially for reaching niche audiences.

Leverage the Luxury of Time

According to a study cited in a 2012 Forbes magazine article, people often skim websites in as little as 15 seconds. By contrast, people read words on a printed page 20 to 30 percent slower than they read the same words in digital form. Take advantage of this fact to produce longer, more detailed copy than you might place on a website.

Entice Customers with “Lumpy” Mailings

One of the major challenges of so-called junk mail is inducing recipients to read it rather than throwing it in the trash without a look. So-called “lumpy” mailings play on the natural curiosity of individuals – who are more likely to open your company’s mailing, if only to see what’s inside. One example of a “lumpy” mailing: a toy replica of an air conditioning unit attached to your company’s print mailing message. One caution – “lumpy” mailings should be clearly marked with your company’s logo and address to avoid scaring people into believing they’ve received a suspicious package.

Supplement and Compliment Online Marketing

None of this means that you can or should abandon online promotional efforts, especially if you want to reach younger audiences. The good news is that you can also use print ads and marketing in conjunction with digital media.

Here’s how: create an ad or a marketing piece with a QR code or that includes a URL to your company’s website. But don’t just direct readers to the website’s home page. Instead, create a specific landing page with a call to action, such as a fillable form requesting more information or requesting fulfillment of an offer featured in your company’s print ad or marketing materials. This approach has two advantages: you’re directing readers to take specific action (which is often more effective than merely having them passively read materials, plus you can track how effective your marketing efforts are by comparing the number of ad placements or direct marketing pieces that are distributed with hits on the designated landing page.

Audrey Henderson
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Posted In: Sales & Marketing

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