Offline marketing still has its place, although many agencies seem to forget its existence and focus almost entirely on the online space. Many companies also continue to keep separate teams for online and offline marketing, and this can lead to unco-ordinated marketing campaigns and strategies.

Understanding the value of offline marketing is essential and tying this tightly to an online campaign can lead to additional benefits in audience reach and participation, conversions, and effectiveness. For instance, it is an old marketing adage that a prospect will require up to seven exposures to marketing material to act on the message. So, blanket campaigns have always been popular to reach the prospective audience as many places as possible. However, in the offline world, this type of campaign was only available to the richest and largest companies who could splash out on TV ads, magazine advertorials, billboards, newspaper full page ads etc.

The arrival of the Internet levelled that playing field and many small businesses have realised the potential of online marketing. But often at the expense of any offline marketing. For those who are online, and even for many who do not use the Internet, well, we have all heard of Google, haven’t we? But, Google is still ramping up the amount it spends on offline advertising, year on year, focussing particularly on TV, but also advertising on other mediums too. For instance, in 2010 Google spent $56million compared to $213million last year. Of that, a remarkable $70m went on TV ads.

It is interesting to ponder why Google needs to do this. Not only is it about gathering in those people who do not encounter Google on the Net by targeting them ‘wherever they are’, but the range of products Google now has is so extensive that even the most devoted Google fan has a hard time keeping up. (Google Play has arrived in the black toolbar recently, but many of the Google innovations are “hidden” in Product Labs within the relevant app eg Gmail).

Google is not a master at offline advertising, and some campaigns have garnered flak before now, but Google (the King of online advertising) has had to learn in order to reach the widest possible audience, just as we all do. By understanding exactly who the audience are, the triggers for action (be that a sale, a discount coupon, a freephone number, or a competition), and where the audience hangs out, offline marketing can help as part of a co-ordinated campaign.

We have seen how print and TV advertising has taken a hit because of the variety of options available to advertise online, but it is not wise to cut back entirely on local and regional advertising, print ads, newspaper and magazine press releases, or even a few simple guerrilla tactics to attract attention to your business.

What offline advertising tactics do you still deploy and how do you combine them with your online strategies?

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of Silicon.com's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology