March 27th, 2023

Digital Marketing Doesn’t End in Digital Spaces

Author: Eric Lynch
Eric Lynch
Partner & Director of Business Development

Are the stories you tell online and in person aligned?

Take a moment to consider the marketing you encounter as you go about your daily offline life. Maybe you notice a billboard driving down the road, or a flyer stapled to a telephone pole. Maybe you’re at a conference and someone passes you a brochure or hands you their business card. Or maybe there’s an ad on the television or on the radio, or maybe your favorite podcaster pauses midway through an episode to pitch that week’s sponsor.

You get the point: advertising is everywhere.

Now I want you to think about what those ads ask you to do. How many of them explicitly invite you to go to the advertiser’s website for more info? How many include the website’s name somewhere in the ad? How many of them include a QR code?

From my own observation, I’d guess the answer is: a lot of them.

Even when there is no URL, no QR code, no invitation to “like, subscribe, and follow,” maybe something about the ad sticks with you after you’ve seen it, and you feel inspired to look it up yourself. So what do you do? You Google them. Obviously.

The point is that, even though we’re accustomed to thinking of digital marketing as a subset of broader marketing strategies, in reality, traditional marketing and digital marketing are intertwined. Because so much brand exposure happens in online spaces, if your traditional and digital marketing strategies aren’t supporting each other, the disconnect will be noticeable.

On the flip side, creating a stronger connection between your online and offline marketing efforts opens the door to strategic opportunities that can strengthen your image, grow your marketing base, and give you deeper insights into your sales pipeline. The following are three observations about the link between online and offline marketing—and how you can use them to your advantage.

1. Your brand is more important than ever.

Wherever your marketing appears, whether in an online ad or on a tradeshow banner, there needs to be a consistent through-line for customers to follow. Otherwise, a customer might come to your website expecting to see one kind of messaging, and then find themselves questioning whether they’re in the right place when what they find doesn’t match up.

Fortunately, branding exists to provide that consistency. A strong brand is recognizable not just by its logo, but by its tone, imagery, core messaging, and visual style. Businesses who intend to make an impression across multiple channels should begin by fortifying their core. And that means doing the groundwork necessary to develop a strong brand identity.

2. User pathways begin in the real world.

Digital marketers spend a lot of time talking about “journey orchestration (JO),” or the path customers follow as they learn about your business and grow into brand loyalists. Modern digital marketing focuses on quantifying each stage of that journey, which may lead you to believe it’s a new concept. Don’t be fooled by the latest buzzwords, however: it’s actually over a hundred years old.

We’ve long felt that our web development roots have given us a marketing edge, because our grounding in user-focused design naturally translates to understanding how to guide visitors through a website. Similarly, being aware of how various audiences progress through the buyer’s journey on your website—which marketing materials are most useful to them, what messaging resonates, which actions they need to take before scheduling a product demo—has direct relevance to offline marketing, whether in person or through traditional methods.

For instance, if you’re passing out brochures at a trade show and you want to direct viewers toward your website, you might consider creating a QR code that directs them toward a landing page specifically for that trade show. Or if you’re networking at a conference, building an email newsletter tailored to the interests of those leads creates another digital touchpoint. Either way, the buyer’s journey is as relevant to those events as it is to your digital marketing.

3. Analytics can track offline marketing success.

Marketing success isn’t always the easiest to quantify, nor do we recommend our clients become too fixated on a single metric. Often the benefits of a well-run marketing strategy show their worth over time, through an ability to establish trust faster with new customers, or being able to land more meetings with right-fit clients who are willing to take you seriously now that you look the part.

But sometimes there are opportunities to measure success more clearly, even for offline campaigns. For instance, if you use a QR code to link to a unique landing page as part of your campaign, you can attribute traffic to that landing page as coming from that QR code. It won’t gauge impressions or conversion ratios prior to engaging digitally, but it will let you know how many people engaged with your marketing piece.

Unified marketing leads to a cohesive customer experience.

A few posts ago, we told you to stop drawing a line between web and marketing by turning your website into your best marketing tool. Then we encouraged you to break down departmental silos so that you could bring your whole team into alignment with your marketing goals. The point we’re making here is in the same vein: a disconnect between your online and offline marketing will disrupt what should be a seamless experience and cause you to lose valuable client insights in the process.

As a company with dual expertise in the fields of web development and digital marketing, we understand how much the two gain from operating in tandem. And in developing resources for our clients to carry with them into their real-world customer interactions, we also know how to link those resources back to the digital realm.

In doing so, we’ve learned the value of a frictionless customer experience. In a world where digital savvy is the expectation, businesses can no longer afford dropped connections between their marketing resources.

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