The Aftermath of A Digital Revolution: Is Offline Marketing Dead?


Share on LinkedIn

Image by danielbroche

Marketing Monopoly: Image by danielbroche

If you talk to anyone under the age of 25 and try to tell them there was a world before the internet they look confused for a second, before returning to the glow of their smartphones. The internet has caused a revolution comparable to its industrial predecessor in the impact it has had on business. It is a digital platform with a significantly non-virtual influence.

You don’t have to be a business owner, or involved in marketing, to see this – when your Gran starts buying things online from her iPad it’s obvious the revolution has won a lot of ground.

However, does living in a new era of SEO, social media and PPC mean that offline marketing is wheezing its last breath, if not completely dead and buried?

A Digital Revolution

For anyone working in marketing, your job will most definitely have changed in the past few years, veering steadily towards more online strategies. As the devices people can use to get online have continued to increase – laptop, tablet and smart-phone – businesses have had to get to grips with interacting with their customers in a new way… and to do it fast.

This has seen an ever-increasing number of Facebook business pages and Twitter accounts as people struggle to keep up, and not just e-commerce sites but bricks and mortar businesses. As consumer habits change, everyone is expected to have an online presence, and join in in the convoluted dance with Google to get their site to the top of the SERPs. Most business sites now include a blog as standard practice, not just for company news but content (in all the different forms that can now take) that is interesting and useful.

Say hello to ‘inbound marketing’ and another concept to get to grips with, where businesses are advised not to sell but to interact with their target audience – to gain their trust and to build brand recognition and loyalty.

Phew! It’s a lot to take in.

Mix this in with the mystery of whether offline strategies – ones you understood – are still effective in any way; it can be a confusing time for those that don’t feel like they are in the loop. Unless you’re a professional marketer, or are getting help to develop your marketing strategy, it can be difficult to know which way to turn and what is going to change next year, next month or even tomorrow.

Is There Life Beyond The SERPs?

As the digital marketing industry continues to boom and SMEs continue to look worried that they are doing the right thing, is there any hope for marketing beyond the SERPs?

If you don’t have an online presence, without a website, a Facebook page and some SEO efforts, your company is missing a golden opportunity, however people don’t live their lives solely online.

Word-of-mouth is still incredibly important and makes 60% of people highly likely to make a purchase. Trust of friends, family or just acquaintances is something that just can’t be reproduced in the crowded, faceless online marketplace. More than that, offline channels like TV, radio & print advertising are still influencing conversions, even if those conversions are online.

So what does this mean for your marketing?

A Balancing Act

Unless we all turn into half-human half-cyborg soon, there will be a need to incorporate both online and offline tactics in your marketing strategy far into the future. Both tactics are needed in conjunction, in a marketing strategy that is in-line with your business strategy – with consideration of your target market and how they want to interact with your brand. This includes vital offline tactics that are involved in marketing which is more than just advertising, like new product development, pricing and more.

Video didn’t kill the radio star, just as digital marketing hasn’t done away with offline strategies. Although the world has changed your customers haven’t – take what you know works from your traditional marketing strategies and incorporate it into the online tactics the kids are all shouting about.

What do you think? Share your views on the offline/online debate.

James Duval
James Duval is a marketing expert who has been cited by Mainstreet, ProBloggingSuccess and MarketingProfs. He works for Comm100, thinking about new tricks and techniques in the email and marketing industries.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here