With the rise in popularity of online marketing, many proven offline methods are simply forgotten when marketing campaigns are planned. Of course, online marketing is hugely important in today’s Internet-connected world, but offline engagement with customers still has unique and distinct value that shouldn’t be forgotten.
If you want to give your business a real marketing boost this year, start looking outside the box. Here are five forgotten offline marketing tactics that don’t require a big marketing budget.
1. Engage in offline guerrilla marketing
Guerrilla marketing is a generic term for the use of unconventional marketing strategies, and because online marketing channels are so narrowly structured, offline is the best arena to flex your small business’s guerrilla marketing muscle. So, starting now, ignore what you know about marketing channels, and let your inner child out to play.
Offline guerrilla marketing ideas:
Leave sticky notes in random places (bars, coffee shops).
Use chalk to advertise promotions on a sidewalk.
“Accidentally” leave a branded pen at the bank.
Donate branded bookmarks to your local library.
Use sticky notes to create temporary images on buildings, cars, etc.
2. Drop business cards
This is one offline guerrilla marketing strategy that I want to talk about specifically. It’s more of a necessity than an option. If you run a small business, you must have business cards and dole them out! Don’t just share them when you first meet someone new. Drop them everywhere.
Places to drop business cards:
Leave a business card with your tip at a restaurant.
See a public bulletin board? Put up a business card.
Go to the library and place business cards in books related to your business.
When you see a contest fish bowl asking for business cards, drop yours in. Always.
3. Take pictures/videos of everything
Because social media marketing takes place online, many business owners and marketers forget that social campaigns can be boosted by offline efforts. One way to do this is by taking photos of company events and daily activities, and then posting those online. Videos help too. If someone from your company speaks at an event, for example, record it and upload it to YouTube.
Real-life photos from the offline world show the personality of your company and increase online user engagement. Facebook posts with photos, for example, receive 84% more clicks and twice as many Likes than text-only posts, according to Kissmetrics. And some of the most popular social networks (Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr) are image-based, making photos ever more important for online marketing.
4. Donate gift certificates or products as prizes
By offering your product or service as the prize for a local contest, you can build visibility for your business while showing your commitment to the community.
If your business provides computer repairs, for example, you could donate a gift certificate for a 2-hour repair to a local non-profit organization. The organization may announce your branded prize to a room full of sponsors. Your business could also be listed in various publications, such as the organization’s website, newsletter, or even a press release.
5. Speak at events
Professional events offer a great way to meet new people, share your ideas, and build brand awareness. They’re even more effective if you speak at them. Find a local event related to your industry, come up with an educational topic you can speak on, and volunteer. If you don’t yet have the level of clout required to speak at an event, attending events can be just as helpful.
Remember, you don’t have to adopt all of these offline marketing strategies. Just try one. Write a promotion on a couple sticky notes, and put them in your pocket for the day. Who knows what could happen.
All of the buzz about digital marketing has left an old, familiar and still viable marketing medium in the dust: offline programs. The marketing divide between online and offline spheres can be so epic, in fact, that it’s not uncommon inside companies to see separate print, Web and social marketing teams using different strategies and launching campaigns that are in no way connected.
But those silos only exist inside marketing departments. The customer’s mind perceives one continuous brand. We live in a world where customers casually cross multiple marketing channels throughout the course of an hour and can see a kiosk ad, print promotion and social media campaign within moments of each other.
It’s no surprise that consumers tend to be distracted; recent research from Reponsys shows that customers tend to spend 30 seconds or less absorbing digital content, making it especially important to reach them on a variety of channels. Other research shows that they expect seamless access across channels, with a Multichannel Retail Survey finding that 40 percent of consumers said it was “very important” to have purchase choices both offline and online.
Seamless Brand Presence
Where we are still falling a bit short is seeing the thread between the different media and grasping the potential that lies there. An online car ad might inspire a customer to visit a dealer showroom, while another customer might test a laptop in person before buying it cheaper online.
Businesses are starting to understand this, and forward-thinking marketers are using tools to create a consistent brand experience between their print, social, mobile and Web campaigns. This kind of connection can drive an intensified impact across the entire marketing ecosystem and provide insight into how each channel, campaign and strategy influences one another.
Marketers can capitalize on that feeling of a seamless brand presence to drive a stronger interaction between online and offline channels. What’s needed is a marketing system that integrates offline display promotions and print advertising with digital marketing such as paid ads, banners and social media posts.
This isn’t about reinventing a whole new system, but rather connecting and leveraging existing initiatives to amplify both reach and conversion. The trick is creating a nonstop loop of activation that can exponentially multiply the ROI of your efforts in both worlds. Here’s how.
Driving Your Offline Audience To Your Online Programs & Vice Versa
Many sophisticated marketers are already taking these steps; but, they can’t be emphasized enough, as they really are low-hanging fruit to drive offline prospects to online channels.
A print or TV ad can supply a Twitter hashtag to drive conversation to social media, while calls-to-action can direct viewers to online programs. QR codes on kiosks and unique tracking URLs can be included to drive leads to online promotions. Even though they’re getting a bad rap, in my opinion QR codes still aren’t being used enough or used properly. They offer one of the easiest and most powerful conduits that can turn offline strangers into an online audience.
The pendulum swings both ways. A new VisionCritical study of leading social media platforms has found that they spark offline purchases as well as online sales. Digital marketing can also be used to provide a significant boost for trade shows, entertainment events, and other offline venues.
Consider, for instance, using social campaigns to promote an event. Create an official hashtag to share with vendors, attendees and speakers, and you’ll be able to track, influence and respond to conversations specific to the event. Promoting the event on your Facebook page will allow you to track “likes” and gain insight into the leads who are interested.
Once the event is underway, you can measure how much of the attendance originated online by offering a special giveaway for social “friends” in attendance. You can also monitor customer or attendee reactions online and respond to questions, or post additional information on the conference website. After the event has ended, all of your social activity will provide you with a wealth of new leads to follow up on and new relationships to build both online and offline.
Making A Lasting Impact
When it comes to connecting your online and offline programs, one element is the most valuable of all: relevance. A recent infographic from VentureBeat found that three-fourths of consumers want businesses to use personal information to improve their shopping experience, while 64 percent place a priority on receiving relevant offers.
By injecting customized creative assets into your content, you can launch promotions that are especially powerful at local and regional levels. The secret is using the right tools to amass rich segmentation data and then using that information to target customers with campaigns that speak to their goals and challenges.
As an example, an enterprise brand could co-brand with carefully chosen local retail venues to personalize their brand presence. By incorporating an element like a regional sports team into digital collateral, the brand can make a vivid and personal impact by connecting an online campaign to a customer’s offline life. Campaigns can also be measured and updated in real time to be tailored more precisely.
Connecting offline and online marketing activities is about more than strengthening brand presence. It’s about leveraging existing brand capital and assets to make a powerful impact. The time for siloed programs and disjointed collateral is over. Through relevant, personalized campaigns that permeate the customer’s online and offline worlds, you can synergize your marketing ecosystem – and fuse all of your programs into one magnetic brand experience.
Let us go through certain tips for marketing new products and services:
Know your product well. Unless and until you understand what additional features or benefits your product is offering, you will never be able to promote it effectively.
Search on google and make a list of competitors dealing in products or services similar to your organization. For example, if your organization sells mobiles and laptops try to find out companies which are also in the same business. Go through your competitor’s website and understand their offerings and what all new strategies or unique marketing techniques they are undertaking to promote their products or services. Do not blindly copy your competitors but it is always good to keep yourselves abreast with latest updates in your respective industry. You can also go through competitor’s brochures, leaflets to have a clear understanding of their efforts. Visit their office as an end-user and analyze what different things they are doing. Trust me; such an exercise will help you understand what actually sells in the market and how your marketing strategies should be different from competitors which immediately grab the attention of target audience.
Keep yourself in the shoes of customers. Write down what all you would expect in a new product and what all promotional activities would excite you as an end-user. Understand what all things in an advertisement would arouse your interest in a particular product and prompt you to try the same at least once? Try to incorporate the same in your marketing strategies as well.
Understand your target audience. Focus and right approach are extremely important. Why spend unnecessary time in convincing those clients who do not need your product? Even the best of marketing strategies would be useless if you try selling comics to a professional. Why would he even bother to listen to you when he does not have the time to read story books? Concentrate on those who you feel are in need of your organization’s products or services and most likely also think of purchasing the same.
Offer something which others have not even thought of till now. Every product has some USPs (Unique value proposition) and it is the responsibility of the marketers to highlight the same among end-users.
Choose the right channel to market your product. A new product or service can be promoted either with the help of advertisements, banners, hoardings, pamphlets, organizing free trials of the product and so on. When beauty salons launch a new service, they always try to give one free session to their customers for them to understand what special and extra they are offering.
Advertisements need to be catchy so that viewers do not lose interest midway. It is essential the brand message is communicated clearly. Emails, phone calls can also help in marketing new products or services. You can also appoint dealers or third parties who can extensively go out, meet new customers, explain them as to how your product is different and better than competitors. Type of marketing channel entire depends on the size of your organization, nature of product or service and eventually budgets assigned for promotions.
Bigger players also organize press releases, launch parties or probably ask a celebrity to endorse their product or service. If Brad Pitt is shown using a particular product in advertisement, the same would certainly have more acceptance as compared to other products in the market.
Customer feedback is extremely crucial. Know what customers think about your product. It is imperative marketing professionals have their own database of potential clients whom they meet not only to promote new products but also for a cup of coffee occasionally. Trust me, such initiatives help strengthen relationship with end-users who eventually do not go anywhere else but your organization.
It is crucial to understand the complete product life cycle before introducing a new product or service in the market. One needs to understand that every product goes through certain stages starting from inception to its manufacturing, marketing, branding and finally losing popularity in the market. It is essential for the organizations to manage the product life cycle well as it ensures the product is launched successfully in the market and also gain popularity in no time eventually leading to increased sales and profitability of the organization.
Let us understand product life cycle in detail:
Product life cycle starts the moment an organization (more specifically product team) thinks of introducing a new product in the market. Getting ideas to design a new product or service marks the beginning of product life cycle. Understand the expectations of your target audience and how your product should offer something extra than your competitors. Know what you want. This is one of the most crucial stages in product life cycle as it decides whether the product will be able to survive the fierce competition and give other available brands in the market a run for their money. Planning at this stage is extremely crucial. Decide as to what the technical specifications should be, tentative price, target audience and how the product needs to be marketed. Jot down each and every detail neatly on a piece of paper so that you do not miss out on anything.
The next stage is when detailing takes place. It is the time to give shape to your ideas and thoughts to reach to a final product. Not all suggestions are practical so this stage also involves strict filtering of thoughts so that only relevant ideas can be implemented. Identify your vendors who can work in close association with you in the development or promotion of product. Budgets also need to be decided at this stage so that you do not end spending more than what you have.
This is the stage when organization starts manufacturing new products with all the available resources and manpower and also following the parameters and guidelines decided in stage No - 2. Make sure you employ skilled workers who are highly trained, know their job well , can work on specific softwares and deliver final products within the stipulated time frame with no defects. Quality is an extremely crucial parameter one needs to take care of. Make sure you never compromise on quality so that the final product not only meets but exceeds customers’ expectations. That’s the reason why organizations have a separate quality department who check each and every product thoroughly to ensure hundred percent product satisfaction. The checked product then goes to the packaging department and finally to distribution channels.
This is the time when the product is ready to be introduced in the market. Decide on your marketing strategies so that your product reaches to maximum end-users irrespective of their geographical location. Tie up with a good advertising agency who designs a catchy advertisement for your product.Get pamphlets distributed, hoardings and banners displayed at the most strategic locations for maximum visibility.
Once the product is in the market, do not forget to take customer feedbacks. After sales service is extremely important. Check regularly with dealers, distributors, outlets selling your products to find out if at all there are any kinds of customer complaints. If customer suggests any defects, make sure product is replaced or withdrawn from the market immediately.
Remember, information needs to flow in its desired form among all the stages of product development. Coordination is extremely crucial as the next stage is totally dependent on the previous step. Communication needs to be effective among all team members so that everyone is clear about his/her roles and responsibilities and contribute to the maximum.
Often, people get confused with the concepts of brand management versus product management. They tend to think that both are the same since they deal with a specific product being marketed and hence managed from incubation to sales. However, there are crucial differences in the way product managers and brand managers operate. For instance, brand management is all about creating a mind space for the product whereas product management is concerned with features and specifications as well.
Further, brand management is often done in consumer product companies that have more products and product lines and hence the overall emphasis on the brand image is more. On the other hand, product managers operate in environments where they have to take care of a single product and hence bringing it to the market is their brief and so they tend to concentrate on the big picture.
Moreover, brand management is associated with consumer product companies whereas product management is associated with software companies. This is because consumer product companies need a top of the mind recall for their products and brands since they mass market them.
In other words, consumer product companies reach out to a larger audience and wider customer base whereas software companies typically have lesser numbers of customers to contend with. Further, brand managers have to “sell” the product by creating an overall image for the brand that consists of creating a value proposition based on the perceived value that the product or the brand offers. Product managers on the other hand (in software companies) have to concentrate on the value proposition that features and technology deliver.
Apart from these differences, brand managers have to plan for brand obsolescence which means that they need to bring in newer products to keep the product line replenished. Product managers on the other hand need to concentrate on upgrades and versions of the same product instead of trying to launch an entirely different product. There is also the aspect of the lengthy product lifecycle from conceptualizing to bringing to market in case of software products whereas brand managers typically deal with shorter lifecycles. This makes the task of a brand manager harder in some cases where the urgency is more whereas the product manager has some more time. In other cases, the brand manager can relax after the product launch since sales drive the brand management rather than the marketing and branding exercises that would have been completed by then. Product managers on the other hand have to be edge after the rollout since they have to be on the lookout for glitches and bugs in the software that might derail the project the delay the customer experience.
In conclusion, brand management is more about perception and the perceived value whereas product management is more about tangible and measurable value propositions. This is expressed in the customer satisfaction surveys where brand users of consumer products rate the brand according to the perceived levels of satisfaction whereas product users in software rate the product according to the specific and measurable benefits that it brings to them.
Finally, brand management is a high stakes game because brands fail at an alarming rate and any consumer company with some seed capital can enter the market. In the case of software products, the products are launched only when the companies have deep pockets and can stay the course. Of course, the dotcom boom and the subsequent bust was all about software companies trying to market themselves like brands and the reason for the bust was that they forgot the basic rules of product management. More on this in later articles.
Brand personality is the way a brand speaks and behaves. It means assigning human personality traits/characteristics to a brand so as to achieve differentiation. These characteristics signify brand behaviour through both individuals representing the brand (i.e. it’s employees) as well as through advertising, packaging, etc. When brand image or brand identity is expressed in terms of human traits, it is called brand personality. For instance - Allen Solley brand speaks the personality and makes the individual who wears it stand apart from the crowd. Infosys represents uniqueness, value, and intellectualism.
Brand personality is nothing but personification of brand. A brand is expressed either as a personality who embodies these personality traits (For instance - Shahrukh Khan and Airtel, John Abraham and Castrol) or distinct personality traits (For instance -Dove as honest, feminist and optimist; Hewlett Packard brand represents accomplishment, competency and influence). Brand personality is the result of all the consumer’s experiences with the brand. It is unique and long lasting.
Brand personality must be differentiated from brand image, in sense that, while brand image denote the tangible (physical and functional) benefits and attributes of a brand, brand personality indicates emotional associations of the brand. If brand image is comprehensive brand according to consumers’ opinion, brand personality is that aspect of comprehensive brand which generates it’s emotional character and associations in consumers’ mind.
Brand personality develops brand equity. It sets the brand attitude. It is a key input into the look and feel of any communication or marketing activity by the brand. It helps in gaining thorough knowledge of customers feelings about the brand. Brand personality differentiates among brands specifically when they are alike in many attributes. For instance - Sony versus Panasonic. Brand personality is used to make the brand strategy lively, i.e, to implement brand strategy. Brand personality indicates the kind of relationship a customer has with the brand. It is a means by which a customer communicates his own identity.
Brand personality and celebrity should supplement each other. Trustworthy celebrity ensures immediate awareness, acceptability and optimism towards the brand. This will influence consumers’ purchase decision and also create brand loyalty. For instance - Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra is brand ambassador for J.Hampstead, international line of premium shirts.
Brand personality not only includes the personality features/characteristics, but also the demographic features like age, gender or class and psychographic features. Personality traits are what the brand exists for.
Brand name is one of the brand elements which helps the customers to identify and differentiate one product from another. It should be chosen very carefully as it captures the key theme of a product in an efficient and economical manner. It can easily be noticed and its meaning can be stored and triggered in the memory instantly. Choice of a brand name requires a lot of research. Brand names are not necessarily associated with the product. For instance, brand names can be based on places (Air India, British Airways), animals or birds (Dove soap, Puma), people (Louise Phillips, Allen Solly). In some instances, the company name is used for all products (General Electric, LG).
Features of a Good Brand Name
A good brand name should have following characteristics:
It should be unique / distinctive (for instance- Kodak, Mustang)
It should be extendable.
It should be easy to pronounce, identified and memorized. (For instance-Tide)
It should give an idea about product’s qualities and benefits (For instance- Swift, Quickfix, Lipguard).
It should be easily convertible into foreign languages.
It should be capable of legal protection and registration.
It should suggest product/service category (For instance Newsweek).
It should indicate concrete qualities (For instance Firebird).
It should not portray bad/wrong meanings in other categories. (For instance NOVA is a poor name for a car to be sold in Spanish country, because in Spanish it means “doesn’t go”).
Process of Selecting a renowned and successful Brand Name
Define the objectives of branding in terms of six criterions - descriptive, suggestive, compound, classical, arbitrary and fanciful. It Is essential to recognize the role of brand within the corporate branding strategy and the relation of brand to other brand and products. It is also essential to understand the role of brand within entire marketing program as well as a detailed description of niche market must be considered.
Generation of multiple names - Any potential source of names can be used; organization, management and employees, current or potential customers, agencies and professional consultants.
Screening of names on the basis of branding objectives and marketing considerations so as to have a more synchronized list - The brand names must not have connotations, should be easily pronounceable, should meet the legal requirements etc.
Gathering more extensive details on each of the finalized names - There should be extensive international legal search done. These searches are at times done on a sequential basis because of the expense involved.
Conducting consumer research - Consumer research is often conducted so as to confirm management expectations as to the remembrance and meaningfulness of the brand names. The features of the product, its price and promotion may be shown to the consumers so that they understand the purpose of the brand name and the manner in which it will be used. Consumers can be shown actual 3-D packages as well as animated advertising or boards. Several samples of consumers must be surveyed depending on the niche market involved.
On the basis of the above steps, management can finalize the brand name that maximizes the organization’s branding and marketing objectives and then formally register the brand name.