How to Formulate a Branding Strategy that Binds Digital and Traditional Marketing Methods

Why combine online and offline marketing methods? After all, isn’t it cheaper to move your entire marketing campaign online?

Well, the answer is simple- traditional marketing is still relevant, and I can prove it to you.

Eight years ago, Pepsi invested millions of dollars in the so-called “Pepsi Refresh Project.” Their main aim was to transfer their entire marketing strategy to digital channels, especially social media. The project was widely promoted and a lot of good buzz was created around it. All in all, it looked like a brilliant idea. But, it wasn’t. Tens of millions of likes, shares, followers, and votes weren’t enough for them to sell their product. These are all just vanity metrics. And, as it all boils down to gaining profits, the end result was terrifying. They lost over $350 million.

The point is, people still watch TV, listen to the radio, pay attention to billboards, read newspapers, and collect flyers to inform themselves about various brands and products they offer. Above all, there are still more than 4 billion people who aren’t online.

When building your brand and trying to set yourself apart from your competitors, you simply cannot afford to ignore those users.

In light of statistics like these, I’ve created a list of ideas that will help you build your brand strategy by merging offline and online promotion.

  1. Use Traditional Advertising to Boost your Online Presence

Digital marketing allows you to constantly analyze your brand and product mentions. By implementing it, you are able to not only keep track of the latest trends and offer customized customer services, but also understand what your target audience feels about your brand.

But, remember that not everyone knows about your products or services. To get your potential customers to visit your site or social networking pages, you should leverage the power of offline advertising.

Namely, traditional marketing practices are an amazing way to raise brand awareness and reach out to a wider group of people. Most importantly, they allow you familiarize your potential customers with your brand and everything it has to offer.

But, how to bring this form of traditional marketing online?

Your goal is to use traditional means of advertising to invite people to like you on social media, subscribe to your newsletters or visit your site. For starters, you could add your website address, hashtags or social media URL to TV ads, business cards, leaflets or billboards. You can even use vehicles as your billboards.

2. Drive Traffic from Print to Digital with QR Codes

Even though they have been around for quite some time now, Quick Response (QR) codes have become popular over the past few years. Many brands turn to these codes, as a creative method of hooking their target audience’s attention and raising their awareness of their brand. Still, the main reason why these codes have become so popular is that you can use them to promote your online presence.

For example, you can add them to promotional items, business cards, or storefront displays. Most importantly, you can get your target audience to perform the desired action. You can ask them to like your Facebook page, share your content, see an ‘exclusive’ video, learn more about your contests or discounts, download contact information, fill contest entry forms, scan paperless tickets, and so on.

3. Take Advantage of Direct Mail Marketing

When done right, direct mail marketing drives super-high response rates. Most importantly, it can improve your brand awareness, authority, and revenue. Here is how to get the most of it.

Make it relevant

When sending out a direct mail, you need to have two things in mind.

First, your recipients get a bunch of similar mail, some of which is too promotional and annoying. You need to inspire them to choose you over your competitors.

Second, your job isn’t over once a person receives a direct mail from you. You need to add value to your content and make it relevant to them.

Here is how to do so:

  • Do a detailed customer segmentation. Pay attention who your customers are, as well as who your competitors are targeting. Once you collect the data, you need to build a buyer persona. Ask yourself whether there are any gender, ethnic, geographic, socioeconomic, or education factors you need to pay special attention to. What are the personal preferences, hobbies, behaviors, and values your target audience shares?
  • Have a clear and unique call to action.
  • Deliver content that makes sense to your readers.
  • Have a straightforward proposition value.

Integrate it with email marketing

Email marketing and direct marketing have so much in common. They’re both highly targeted, affordable, and engaging. The only difference between these two forms of marketing lies in the fact that direct emails have a much higher open and response rate. And, by integrating them with your email marketing, you can significantly boost your ROI.

For example, instead of the “Call Now” feature, use short URLs or QR codes I mentioned above to send your recipients to your website. To add a sense of consistency, create the same landing page for your email and direct email campaign. Additionally, since direct mail has a higher open rate, you could use it to follow up with those customers who ignored your emails or deleted them without opening them first.

4. Use Social Networks to Promote Offline Events

Event marketing is an amazing way to show the human side of your brand. Most importantly, it helps your customers meet the people behind your business. This is exactly why  79% of U.S. marketers generate sales using this form of marketing.

And, if you’re organizing an event, one of the most effective ways to promote it to a wider group of people is to use social networks.

Let’s take an example of publicity stunts, organized events used to inform one’s potential customers about their brand or their cause. If done right, it can bring tons of good press. That is exactly why brands usually choose to promote it via social media. One of the most famous publicity stunts ever was organized by Red Bull in 2012. They sent an extreme sports athlete, Felix Baumgartner, above the stratosphere and set the world record for the highest skydive. The video has become viral almost immediately, generating tens of millions of likes on Facebook and over 10 million views on YouTube.

With the help of social media marketing, you can make your event promotion engaging. It allows you not only to share engaging content, but also to answer your customers’ questions in real-time, keep track of the attendance list, and measure the performance of your campaign. Most importantly, there are many customers who won’t be able to make it to your event. With the content you share, you can make them feel as if they were a part of it.

Here is how to use social media marketing to promote events:

  • Create a detailed social media promotion plan.
  • Have separate event pages on your social networks.
  • Share highlights from the similar events you’ve organized.
  • If you have guests of honor, tell who they are.
  • Have a unified hashtag on all social networks to make it easier for people to find you.
  • Share content relevant to the event.
  • Once the event is over, post experiences, testimonials, as well as photos and videos.

5. Take Advantage of User-Generated Content

When trying to make a purchasing decision, who are you more likely to believe- a brand or a person who has already tried out their product? I suppose you would go with the latter option. Me, too. Studies show that we’re still more likely to trust the recommendations from friends, family or other consumers than brands themselves. And, that’s the idea behind creating user-generated content.

Namely, UGC is any form of content created by users to show their opinion about a certain product, service or brand. It’s 100% authentic and, most importantly, it’s never paid by a business. Given the fact that this type of content is particularly prevalent among social media users, you can collect it and use it to boost your brand image.

One of the prime examples of how valuable user-generated content can be is the 2014 Starbucks’ White Cup Contest. Namely, they invited their users to doodle on their Starbucks cups and share their images as a contest entry. The winning cup was supposed to be a template for a limited edition of Starbucks cups. And, the results were outstanding. Nearly 4000 people submitted their entries in just 3 weeks, while the brand gained invaluable customer feedback and a lot of publicity.

So, what you can conclude from this example is that user-generated content doesn’t help you sell your product. It helps you sell a particular lifestyle and vision behind it.

Here are a few ideas that will help you harness the power of this kind of content:

  • Organize a promotion and invite people to submit images and videos.
  • Share snippets of user-generated content and ask your fans to share their own content.
  • Encourage new submissions by sharing new user-generated content regularly.

To Wrap It Up

So, what’s the moral of the story?

Separating traditional and digital marketing methods has never been an option. Instead, you can combine them to create a wider customer base and build an authentic brand that stands out. Of course, the way you will tie these two approaches together heavily depends on your industry, as well as of your business and objectives.


Guest Blogger – Emma Miller

Emma is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree she started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and latest business trends.