MARKETING: ONLINE or OFFLINE?
It doesn’t matter how good your marketing material is if you don’t know where your target audiences are. So here’s the question,
How many people read news online VS hard copy newspaper? You can most likely find accurate online statistics from different sources on a great variety of web surfing behavior (e.g. the average amount of time people stay on one page, Heat Map – the screen location where people click most, etc.).
What about for hard copy ads? The most accurate figure you may be able to find is how many is printed, where they were distributed, etc.
Then what’s the crucial difference? Online statistics enables you to understand the audiences, whereas offline sources only gives you their best assumptions on who’s seen your master piece.
As with anything else, there’s no 100% guarantee in marketing, the trick is to test your results against your set outcome and make more informed decisions on your next move. This is the reason why the world is moving from traditional marketing to online marketing, or better still a hybrid of both.
I’ve listed a few different reasons below on why businesses should at least have a good portion of their marketing budget on online media and start building a team of expert, whether in-house or contractors, to help in this domain.
Testing VS Guessing
Here’s something to think about.
We can find pretty accurate statistics on how much time people spend surfing the internet without separately statistical surveys on the audiences, or at least not as much effort. There’s a lot less guess work involved in the figures we get from online sources.
Traditionally, many businesses find it hard to track results on marketing or advertising campaigns and struggle to make decisions on where to spend their marketing budget, but with online marketing platforms, this is not the case anymore. With the statistical information that we are able to gather within a much shorter time span on the internet nowadays, we’re able to gain a lot more insights on our audiences’ browsing habits, interests as detail as the specific type of images they like, and much more. Marketers are now able to more effectively spend their marketing budget on more profitable campaigns, as long as your campaign and databases are setup to your requirements
In summary, traditional way to obtain statistical information could tell businesses what was DONE, e.g. number of brochure handed out. Online sources on the other hand, tells you EXACTLY both what was DONE and ACHIEVED, e.g. number of people viewed your ads and how many purchased BECAUSE of that particular ad. And more importantly, enables you to track the purchase behavior at almost every single step of the way.
Static Content VS Interactive Content
Traditionally, businesses buy slots and air time from advertising media or through ad agencies, everything was static and there’s not much control after the ads are published. Online marketing on the other hand, taking Facebook as an example, is a lot more versatile and flexible in terms of content interactiveness. You can test your content for as long, or short, as you like with a tiny budget. This enables brands to constantly make adjustments to their ad campaigns in order to improve engagement, build awareness of their brands, generate more leads, generate more sales, within a much shorter time span as before.
Online marketing enables marketers to structure their campaigns to create much more fruitful audience experiences. The tools available these days enables instant interactions and purchasing experience through a carefully structured and designed process. For example, we encourage our clients to build automated chatbots for some general enquiries on their Facebook page, which enables instant conversation through an inbuilt chat sequence without having a physical person constantly chatting with them.
Scalability and Efficiency
Online marketing also offers more creative ways to spend your marketing budget since you can spend as little as a few dollars a day to reach thousands of cold market audiences. And what’s more enticing is you can choose how fast or how slow you want to scale your campaign, so to a certain extend, businesses have regained control.
Back in the old days, scalability of ad campaigns are pretty much controlled by the packages the ad agencies offer to you, there’s not much flexibility in there.
Information travels much faster on the internet. Needless to say, with all the online tools, it’s much easier for businesses reach out to the rest of the globe, it’s a much efficient way to expand your brand awareness campaign on a global scale without spending huge amount.
Result Based Model
This is one crucial difference between online and traditional marketing. Whether it’s PPC, CPC, CPL, CPM, Cost per whatever, they all serve one purpose, i.e. to make your marketing budget worth it because they only charge you after they generated results for you.
Businesses traditionally are paying some fixed fees for ad agencies to publish their ads on whatever newspaper or magazine hoping the person who picked it up with see the ad and buy their products. Online marketing on the contrary, businesses are only paying for the leads generated, not the number of papers your ads are printed on.
Allows and Ensures that you to retarget the exact same audiences who have seen your ads, as opposed to placing your physical ads in a shopping centre praying that Mr or Mrs Smith will walk pass the follow up ad one day and pick up your ad again.
Online marketing also makes it a lot easier for brands to collaborate with other brands, one great platform is undoubtedly Instagram. It allows new brands to collaborate with more established ones (i.e. the influencers) to cross promote and build audiences at a crazy pace. More importantly, there’s no need for a middleman (i.e. agencies) as well, that’s a huge cost savings for new businesses. Also, gone are the days where influencers are generally celebrities that appears on TV shows, movies, pop singers, etc. The influencers can be anyone posting anything that followers are interested in, it’s opened up a lot more business opportunities for people.
You can’t put your brochure in other people’s shops to promote your own products, but with online marketing brands are able to do research on audiences in a much more accurate fashion. This doesn’t only benefit new brands, but also their target markets by giving them alternatives that might suit their needs better.
There’s nothing stopping businesses from using a good mix of online and offline marketing strategies simultaneously. This works well with brands who has the bigger budget that want to take their brands to the next level, and build a more solid brand presence in the public with billboards, usually tells works well for bigger brands since it implies it costs much more.
On the other hand, brands that are launching new and/or repositioning their products / services, may consider a hybrid approach in order to test where their target audiences reside.
As with anything else, there are always potential drawbacks to any tools that we use, and here’s an important one to remember. Remember with marketing, it’s all about your target market, about the people who might potentially need your products or services. Therefore, it’s always important to look at where your target audiences usually “hang around”.
Last Generation Audiences – If your products are targeting the older generation audiences, online marketing might not necessarily be the best channel for you simply because there’s less of a proportion of them using or trusting technologies.
In conclusion, whether it’s online or traditional channels, the most important thing for business / brand owners is to understand what your potential clients’ interests are, what are the easier and most cost effective way to reach them. These usually requires a good level of analysis work based on accurate statistics, and online marketing platforms do have bigger advantage in that sense. Surely there are more great reasons to use online marketing tools to build brand, however, we do agree that to some degree, traditional marketing channels do still have their own unique charisma.
The best advice we would give to our clients is to always keep an open-mind, keep up to date with technological trends and news on the market, and also engage trusted marketing agencies who has their interests at the first priority in order to help making their brand a great success.