The reality is that a successful marketing effort for any brand, even in 2016, involves both online and offline channels. Without a comprehensive strategy that involves "new school" and "old school" methods, companies risk losing market share to competitors that employ a more sweeping series of outreach efforts.

Showrooming and Webrooming Are Real Things You Need To Know

Nothing highlights the importance of a comprehensive marketing strategy more than the relatively new consumer practices of "showrooming" and "webrooming."

"Showrooming" is when customers visit a store in person to look for a product that they like. Then, when they've decided what they want to buy, they leave the store, return home, and order the product online.

"Webrooming" is the exact opposite of showrooming. That's when customers search for products online and, when they've found something that they like, they go to a local store and buy it in person.

It's important to understand those modern consumer practices because they demonstrate that modern shoppers are susceptible to both online and offline marketing efforts. Customers who practice showrooming and/or webrooming clearly prefer a "hybrid" strategy of digital and traditional shopping methods when it comes to making purchasing decisions.

That's why companies should adopt a "hybrid" strategy of marketing that includes both online and offline channels.

Consider This Scenario

A consumer goes online and searches for a product you sell with the intention to purchase. The consumer visits your site (through SEO or SEM) and likes what she sees. Your site also offers a link so she can see where the product is for sale nearby. She finds a store selling your product within 5 miles of where she lives. When she gets there, she sees your brand promoted with a visual that stands next to one of the aisles. She also recalls a radio ad she heard for your product two weeks ago that included testimonies from satisfied customers. She purchases your product.

That's how integrated marketing can benefit your brand.

Now, let's look at some offline marketing strategies that can increase your reach.

What You Need To Know About TV

TV advertisers were giddy last year when AdWeek reported on a study definitively proclaiming that "TV is still the most effective advertising medium."

Since Turner Broadcasting was a partner in that study, it might be a good idea to take the conclusion with a grain of salt. That aside, there's no doubt that multi-national corporations with money to perform marketing research still choose to advertise on television. So there's clearly a benefit to it.

Among the study's key findings:

  • TV has the highest efficiency at achieving Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as new accounts and sales
  • TV maintained its effectiveness over a 5-year period while other advertising mediums saw a significant decrease in effectiveness
  • TV advertisers can use data sources, such as inbound calls and website visits, as quasi-analytics to determine the effectives of their TV campaigns

Howard Shimmel, the chief research officer for the study, also went out of his way to emphasize the importance of an integrated marketing strategy.

"We're not saying that digital is bad," he said, "but digital just can't make up the reach that TV delivers. And digital, used in a way that's complementary to TV, is a more effective strategy."

Radio Is Probably Better Than You Think

Lots of marketers think of radio as the modern-day equivalent of the town crier. It's an antiquated medium that's lived out its usefulness.

Au contraire.

In fact, according to Nielsen, 93% of adults listen to radio each week. That's more than the number of people who watch TV (87%).

Of course, where there's people, there's likely to be people in your target market. That means radio is another opportunity for outreach.

According to another study, brands saw a $6 lift in sales for every $1 spent in radio advertising. One outlier even saw more than $23 in sales lift for every $1 spent on radio advertising.

Billboards Have A Unique Benefit Your Probably Don't Realize 

Billboards are a fantastic advertising medium because, unlike the other options we've seen, they're "non-interruptive."

They're part of the environment that the user sees when driving, bicycling, or walking somewhere. As a result, they're much less of an intrusion than other forms of marketing.

Additionally, billboards offer "path to purchase" marketing. For example, if someone is driving to the beach, he might see a billboard advertising a restaurant located at the beach. That's when he'll think to himself: "Hey, I'm hungry. Maybe I'll eat there."

So what makes for a successful billboard ad? A study released last year from the Graphic Communication Department of the California Polytechnic Institute found several common factors. Among them:

  • Few words - The study found that the average person only has about six seconds to "digest" the contents of the billboard. Follow Shakespeare's advice and recall that "brevity is the soul of wit."
  • Integration - It's best to use billboard ads in connection with other marketing channels.
  • Retention - Good billboards make consumers think about the message for at least a little while after drivers have seen them. An example cited in the study was Chik-Fil-A's "Beef Puts U 2 Sleep" billboard. That message led many drivers to ask themselves: "Wait. Does beef really put you to sleep?"
  • More is merrier - Less is not more when it comes to billboard advertising. It's best to run as many ads on billboards as your marketing budget will allow.

Magazines Are Not Dead At All, They Have An Impact

There's more than just blanket promises, though. An econometric modelling study conducted by Nielsen last year found that magazine advertising delivers a positive ROI and is cost-effective. Among the key findings:

  • During a three-year period, Magazine ad ROI increased 168%
  • Magazine ad's contribution to sales more than doubled, moving from 10% to 23%
  • When TV advertising and magazine advertising were combined, the ROI of TV ads increased by 18%

Integrated Marketing Is A Must, I Have Seen It First-Hand

As we've seen, it's not good enough just to run offline and online campaigns. It's also important to ensure that they're integrated properly so that there's a consistent marketing message throughout all channels.

Nowadays, a favorite buzz-phrase for marketers is "omni-channel marketing." Briefly defined, omni-channel marketing is marketing across multiple channels with a similar theme. 

HubSpot cites Disney as a company that's excellent at omni-channel marketing. Disney has done a great job integrating online and offline elements in every step of the customer journey.

That kind of comprehensive omni-channel marketing might be out of your budget but that doesn't mean you can't use Disney's example for inspiration.

Bottom-line The Best Marketing Strategies Integrate Online and Offline

I have worked with hundreds of companies. The ones that do both offline and online marketing always see better results.