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In the world of digital and online marketing, its offline counterpart seems to be the forgotten counterpart left out in the rain.  Trends of the last decade have been heavily weighted in the favour of digital – from the herculean rise of SEO, to the power of social media and content marketing.

But does that mean that 2013 and beyond is a place not suited for offline marketing?

Well, no.  Of course not.

Online vs. Offline Marketing

In the pantheon of marketing – offline is actually still the powerhouse.  Without investigating revenue and ROI, it’s clear to see the advantages of offline that transcend into the 21st century.  When you’re driving to work, you’re not browsing Facebook or checking Quora – you’re listening to radio and reading billboards.  When you go on holiday – you take magazines, papers and books for the flight.  Publications like Cosmopolitan, GQ and Men’s Health are still enjoying a booming success in the offline market – not to mention the newspapers.

But there’s no denying the new kid on the block, headway is certainly being made and it’s a case of finding the happy middle ground.  Companies around the world are at a swinging gate – deciding whether to abandon offline, embrace online or try to amalgamate the two.

Linking Online & Offline

The best marketing campaigns are defined by their strong research and expansive creativity.  Making use of any and all resources available is a mantra adopted by all marketeers – which has led to the hybrid marketing of online and offline.  To leap onto the bandwagon and address the 70% of Western Europe that are connected to the internet might seem like a great idea, but would you leave behind the 10,000,000 people who still buy newspapers every day?  (That’s just in London!)

So as a manager, a director or a marketing leader – how do you try to net the whole demographic?

One of the most successful stories and examples is the impact of QR (Quick-response) Code. If you don’t quite recognise the name, you’ll definitely recognise the square shaped barcode that has been plastered over every billboard, film poster and product packaging in the last couple of years.

Scanning the code with an app from a smartphone will direct you to a specific URL – driving you immediately towards an optimised page designed to convert you into a sale. Piquing your curiosity with the code and the branding surrounding it, the process then pulls you directly into online engagement and potentially a conversion.

Another, simpler way of linking the two streams is by using shortened, trackable URLs. The most popular current format is bit.ly – which can shorten and personalise web addresses so that they can be distributed more easily. Including your shortened URLs in a wide variety of places and locations, geared towards certain audiences – can also help you to decide exactly where your marketing efforts should be concentrated.

Those ads at the university didn’t get a single click?
But the link on the wall of the retirement community got hundreds?

It’s safe to assume that you’ve just uncovered a new market!

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Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a copywriter & digital strategist specialising in helping agencies & software companies find their voice in a crowded space.