Allen Baler: Don’t Ignore Offline Marketing Initiatives

Allen Baler Offline Marketing

These days, when people tell you they are in marketing, it’s usually safe to assume they connect with all their customers and potential customers through the Internet. They attend digital marketing seminars, they purchase relevant email lists and they utilize detailed testing algorithms. They talk frequently about subject lines, open rates and click-through rates, as well as content marketing, search engine optimization and social media marketing.


These are all great avenues to discuss, analyze and pursue as your company works diligently on establishing an increasingly larger digital footprint. It’s difficult to imagine a company becoming successful without a comprehensive online marketing plan.


But shouldn’t a successful business strategy include the creation of as many areas of entry as possible for potential customers? Let me explain what I mean. Many marketers today are so focused on the Internet that they don’t even think about other entry points.


To them, marketing strategies such as direct mail and print and broadcast advertising are nothing more than ancient relics from a distant past.


  • They believe it’s too time consuming to create physical mailings.


  • They think the process of reaching potential customers with a print or radio ad is too slow and too hit-or-miss.


  • They feel it takes too long to receive a response.


We live in an age of immediate gratification, so why drive a 1960s Volkswagen when you could be behind the wheel of a 2015 Tesla? But let’s put the brakes on that kind of thinking for a moment.


Of course, the demographic of your audience is a big factor here, but it’s very possible that more traditional marketing tactics could be highly effective components of your overall marketing strategy.


According to Rieva Lesonsky, CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, nearly two-thirds of American consumers purchased at least one item as a result of a direct mail piece in 2013. Why would direct mail continue to work in 2015?


Not surprisingly, it is effective with folks over 65 because they like reading their mail and because they tend to stay at the same address for a long time. But young people are also responding because direct mail stands out in contrast to the social media messages and emails with which they are regularly inundated.


Radio advertising still works because when your ad is on the air, it’s the center of attention. It’s not buried on page 62 of the newspaper where someone may or may not see it. Radio advertising is generally cost-effective and it’s been proven that frequency sells even when the reach is not as vast. It’s easy to create a sense of urgency with a radio ad because listeners hear a “tone” they don’t get in print, and radio is something people listen to in their cars, at work and at home.


Print advertising may not be as powerful and cost-effective as it once was, due to shrinking publications and rising paper costs. But with so many specialized pubs out there now, it’s relatively easy to hone in on the most likely buyers of your products. In addition to improved targeting, you get a longer shelf life with print. And there’s also memorability. In a test conducted at Penn State University, researchers concluded that print ads stuck with readers longer than online ads did.


The message here is certainly not to abandon online marketing, which can be an outstanding way to engage in a variety of vital communications with your current and potential customers – including sales pitches. But smart business owners are adding old-school channels to the mix, including direct mail and print and broadcast advertising, in order to sell more products and grow their businesses.

Allen Baler is a leading entrepreneur and Harvard grad. Allen Baler is a Partner in 4Patriots LLC, based in Nashville.

Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for the sound advice of a business professional with expertise in the subject matter discussed. Please seek appropriate counsel on what strategies make sense for your business.

Photo credit: ChowKaiDeng / Foter / CC BY-NC