We currently live in a world where information can be shared amongst us at the speed of light.
Where we can connect with anybody from anywhere almost instantaneously, where we can speak on Skype and write on someone’s virtual ‘wall’. We of course live in the age of the internet. Certainly the internet is the master of linking us together and indeed its credibility is renowned, for people share their thoughts on blogs for all to read and put their items for sale on a website for all to buy. Thus it seems needless to say that the internet is no less powerful in the arena of business and especially marketing for that business. The internet is a powerful medium for online marketing because it is accessible at anytime by anyone and the all mighty search engines can dramatically increase the traffic to your very own tailor made website all about your product! But wait, what about the value of offline marketing? Good old, some would now say old fashioned, advertisements in newspapers and magazines? Has it lost its touch? It indeed seems tempting to put total faith in the World Wide Web but offline marketing campaigns are still incredibly significant, especially if used in synergy with an online campaign.
Offline marketing is online marketing’s older more experienced equivalent and thus it is undoubtedly proven to produce results. Even amidst the present day’s obsession with the internet, people are still reading printed newspapers and magazines. A study by Katherine Page, a consultant for the National Readership Survey, found that 2.3 million 15-24 year olds are average readers of eight different newspapers and magazines in print. What’s more in our celebrity culture, Vogue has managed to increase its readership by 50% since the year 2000. Quite simply, people are still very much participating offline as well as on. This being said one cannot help but perceive the magnetism of the internet. Certainly Siamak Rastan, brand editorial manager at organisation NS&I had it in a nutshell when he said “I don’t buy the Guardian any more now, I’ve got the iPhone app.”
However the various methods of offline marketing certainly make it a worthwhile avenue to take, mediums such as TV, radio, magazines, business cards and billboards mean there are different approaches to how you want to market your business. Perhaps what is more noteworthy however is that these mediums have become all the more significant for those without computer access and, believe it or not, these people are out there. However these methods take time to put in to place and we cannot overlook the fact that the use of a website means that daily or even hourly updates are possible. What’s more the costs can be large and online marketing does significantly reduce these.
Nevertheless the informal nature of offline marketing methods is not to be taken for granted, for instance a personal appearance at an event is much more informal than an internet link, and a shake of the hand whilst presenting a business card beats finding a website on Google. I suppose essentially offline marketing allows you to be specific with your target audience; giving one the option of only choosing to advertise in certain targeted places. Yet the internet is capable of putting your business in front of thousands of people as opposed to the unknown number of people who will actually stop to read your advertisement in a newspaper. Thus offline marketing may mean you can be specific with your target audience yet the search engine means your business is sought out by those who are targeting you.
So which is the more effective method? Quite simply, one does not triumph over the other. There does not exist a significant enough divide between offline and online marketing because one can influence and improve the other so dramatically. Consider this: offline media channels such as TV, radio and print clearly influence a staggering percentage of online searches, and according to a study by Jupiter Research 67% of the online search population is driven to search by offline media channels. Plus in an online survey asking which is the more preferred manner of reading magazines, 49.18% of voters said they used a combination of print and online magazines. What this clearly tells us is that the web has not taken over our lives but only heightened our experiences of it. We still read hard copies of newspapers, we still watch TV and listen to the radio as much as we log on to Facebook or shop on Asos. Succinctly, we are still subject to marketing through both mediums thus marketing campaigns need to reflect this and strike a balance between our online and still very extensive offline lives.