The Traditional Marketing Tool Box
When it comes to traditional marketing (non-internet marketing or marketing offline), there are many tools in the tool box. The following are descriptions of traditional marketing tools. Many of them are often combined with each other. For instance, networking and business cards are listed separately below. Yet, they usually go hand in hand. As technology continues to progress, there may also be digital alternatives to the options listed below which are potentially more effective. For instance, there are now smart phone apps that let you scan and trade business cards electronically. However, there is still a place and strategy for printed business cards. Statistically the average internet user would not read a page this long. So it may be helpful to bookmark this page to use for reference when needed.
Person to Person Marketing:
Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth marketing is when people tell their friends about their business. It’s human nature to vent about bad experiences to friends much more often than relating good experiences. For this reason, the first major reason you must have good customer service is to avoid a bad reputation. When your customer service is so fantastic that people actively and positively speak to others about your business, then the people they speak to will immediately believe and accept what they’re being told. They trust referrals from friends more than any other form of marketing. Person to person word of mouth is still arguably the best form of advertising. Yet, the internet versions of word-of-mouth marketing are wrapped up in social media and reputation marketing (reviews left online by previous customers).
Networking is most often performed by the business owner or an authorized representative of the business. The business owner of a new business usually starts networking within his or her own sphere of influence and their network of contacts grows the longer they stay in business. Having a steady supply of business cards is important for networking. Networking online involves the use of social media. For business to business networking, the best network for business owners to use is LinkedIn.
Canvassing involves going door to door in residential neighborhoods to share a message. This strategy has been used by political candidates and non-profit organizations.
Door-to-door sales is not nearly as common as it used to be, but it still exists. Especially with pest control and other home services. After all, the sales people are going directly to the target market for the product.
Seminars and classes, whether they have free admission or not, are a mixture of promotion and education. The educational part of it is what attracts an interested audience. These types of events range from teaching a free class at your local public library to nationally publicized events where people are willing to fly in and pay thousands of dollars for admission. The venue depends on the speaker’s experience, reputation and target market. The internet version of this form of advertising is called webinar marketing, which can be free or paid to those in attendence.
Demonstrations, Exhibitions, Conferences, Trade Shows
Demonstration marketing involves setting up a booth in a location with high foot traffic. Printed materials are needed for signs, table coverings, and giveaways. Your industry may have conferences and trade shows scheduled throughout the year. Consult industry-specific associations and organizations to find out about trade shows and conferences that are related to your business. You can also find events at www.tsnn.com. Trade shows and conferences are not the only events when your product might be marketed. Other resources include the cooperation with retail stores, county fairs, and others, depending on the product and target market. The internet version of this type of marketing would involve demonstration videos that are either hosted or streamed live online.
Representative marketing involves hiring one or more representatives to promote your business to potential buyers. This type of marketing is used frequently for the medical industry and many B2B products and services.
Multi-level marketing, sometimes called network marketing, involves some kind of incentive to encourage active members to recruit their friends. It must be clearly identified and distinguished from it’s evil step-brother – pyramid schemes. The difference between pyramid schemes and multi-level marketing is that pyramid schemes only focus on the pyramid itself and the only way to make money is by recruiting a large down-line. Mult-level marketing focuses on a product that allows the sales people to make money even if they didn’t recruit others. Yet, recruiting others still has benefit.
Marketing involves all forms of communication that your business has with potential customers. This involves all printing that is branded with your logo and all print advertising. This is the most common form of traditional marketing among small businesses and used collaboratively with other forms of marketing by large businesses.
- Business Cards – Business cards are important for networking and word-of-mouth advertising. There are now apps on smart phones that allow users to scan and share digital business cards.
- Pens – Branded pens are useful giveaways. Often even after people misplace your business card, they’ll still be using the pen you gave them.
- Stationary – envelopes, letterhead, invoices, checks, etc.
- Personal letters
- Cards & Invitations
- Bumper Stickers
- Refrigerator magnets
- Antenna Balls
- Signs, Bandit Signs – signs can be any size and placed in any permitted location.
- Merchandise and promotional products – the printing industry has the nick name chachkies for small giveaways.
- Bulletin boards – often found on school campuses, churches, laundromats and other locations.
- T-shirt design, Human Billboards – When you give away t-shirts that people are willing to wear, they become your walking billboards. This can even get your ad into places that wouldn’t allow it otherwise – like Disneyland.
- Sign Twirlers – Humans twirling a sign out on the street to direct traffic to the business.
- Hat & other apparel
- Product Packaging
- Product Labels
- Book Covers
- Magazine Covers
- Magazine ads
- Newspaper Ads
- Newspaper columns and printed newsletters
- Press releases
- Classified Ads – not as common since Craigslist and other forms of internet classified ads, but still useful in some circumstances.
- Yellow Pages – not as common since Yelp and other local directories online (including Yellow Pages online), but still useful in some circumstances.
- Billboard Advertising
- Gift Cards, Reward Cards, Frequent Customer Cards
- Mobile Billboard Advertising, Vehicle Advertising, Bus & Taxi Advertising
- House Billboards – when a home-owner in a neighborhood without an HOA allows ads to be displayed on the house. Although a neighborhood may or may not have a specific target and may or may not have much traffic, this can produce free publicity. The advertiser is essentially helping the home-owner pay the mortgage.
- Direct Mail, Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)
- Trade Show Materials – Vinyl signs, table covers, promotional giveaways
The services of graphic artists and text writers are useful in the design and creation of print marketing. The above is not a comprehensive list. As an authorized distributor for over 10,000 printing companies, Mirex Marketing can order almost any product imaginable and have it branded with your logo – golf clubs, bags, coffee makers, tech accessories, and so on.
Cold Calls, Manually Operated Owner to Customer Calls (or Business to Customer)
An individual, manually operated phone call from the business to the customer is one of many guerrilla marketing strategies. It doesn’t cost anything beyond the price of a phone call. This form of marketing is used constantly by sales people and more often in business to business transactions. The call is always more fun when calling for repeat business instead of initial business.
Text Message Marketing
Test Message Marketing, or Short Message Service (SMS) marketing is very similar to email newsletter marketing. A customer list is built through a call to action in other advertising materials (print advertising or the business website). These customers receive frequent messages with promo codes, announcements and other information.
Telemarketing is when a staff of callers is used to make calls to phone lists of potential customers. This type of exposure is not always received well by new potential customers. However, those who respond to telemarketing are very targeted leads. Also, telemarketing can be very effective for repeat business, political campaigns, and non-profit causes. (The national do not call list is regulated by the FCC).
Automated telephone message marketing is when a machine calls a list of phone numbers and plays a message for the person who answers the phone. The machine does all the work. Most individuals, including business owners, who have been on the receiving end of this type of marketing would say that it’s not effective because they immediately hang up once they hear that it’s a machine calling. However, that doesn’t mean that this type of marketing is not the right tool for certain industries and occasions. The way to think about any marketing is not whether you would accept it, but rather, can it produce results within your target market. Think about the type of person that actually listens to those messages and responds to them. That would be one open-minded targeted lead. Isn’t that the lead that you’d want? The machine filters out those leads from the masses automatically. If you hang up on those calls, that’s OK. They just won’t sell the product to you.
Sending faxes can be a from of marketing just like text and voice messages via phone lines. Similar to the national do not call list, there are also regulations for sending faxes. Furthermore, sending faxes is becoming less and less common with the advancement of other technologies.
Searchlights and Inflatables
Searchlights and inflatables are two devices that are used to draw local attention to a physical location. A common inflatable is King Kong or some other gorilla. This strategy is commonly associated with car dealerships.
Theater Screen Marketing
Theaters often broadcast advertisements to the audience before playing the movie. Generally, there is a slide show of still images and advertisements. Then they may play video advertisements before showing the previews of other movies. Theater screen marketing can be useful when your target market matches that of the movie being played or when your target matches the same local audience that attends the theater.
Radio advertising has subtle and not-so-subtle variations. Beyond ads that are clearly distinct from the music and DJ, sometimes the radio show hosts perform spoken advertisements that are written as if they were normal conversation. Radio advertising is best when the target market is found at high concentrations within range of the broadcast. Some demographics can be matched with the type of music that is being played on the station or with the target of the talk show.
Although television, and especially cable, is gradually being replaced with entertainment that is streamed over the internet, it is still a major form of advertising. It is perhaps the best way to establish your business as legitimate in the public opinion. In other words, people believe what they see on TV. Here is a breakdown of some of the ways to purchase advertising on TV:
- PI (per inquery) and PO (per order) Arrangements – This is very similar to pay-per-click advertising on the internet. Instead of charging you an advertising fee, you give the TV station commission for every inquiry or sale that you make during your time on the air. This has not out-of-pocket costs for you and could produce a higher return for the TV station, depending on the product being sold.
- Electronic Billboards – brief messages less than 30 seconds, often just a still image displayed on the screen
- 30 second slots
- 60 second slots
- Infomercials – 30 minutes to an hour long, often designed to be like a talk show or news report
- Since services like Netflix and DVR devices have cut down the number of people that watch commercials, product placement has become more common during the show itself.
General Tools and Strategies:
A list broker can be a good resource when you want to buy targeted lists of contact information where people have opted-in to receive promotions. A list broker is essential when sending targeted direct mail, telemarketing and some email marketing.
Co-Branding, Fusion Marketing
Co-branding or fusion marketing is when one business partners with another to offer discounts to customers who purchase from both businesses. They can either reduce the cost of marketing in half or double the results. It is a very cost-effective form of marketing for complimentary businesses.
Drawings, Sweepstakes, Contests, Prizes
Promotions where a small number of customers can win something big can cost less and create more buzz than other forms of marketing. There may be some state and federal regulations regarding these types of promotions. For instance, the use of the word “sweepstakes” over “contest” determines exactly what the rules of the promotion should be and can have legal ramifications if run incorrectly.
Guerrilla marketing implies marketing that is both creative and inexpensive. It is a term that was made popular by the marketing author Jay Conrad Levinson. Guerilla marketing strategies are often applied by small businesses in order to survive and compete against other businesses with larger marketing budgets.
If your business has anything to report that is “news worthy” then it can get free publicity through a press release. This is a process of creating a journalist-friendly resource kit and distributing it through press release markets where journalists look for news to report.
Rewards Programs, Frequent Flyers
Rewards programs are often run through credit, debit or membership cards and it is a proven way to increase sales and produce repeat business. Psychologically, it gives the shopper a goal to achieve.
Sponsoring of Events
Sponsoring high school sports and extracurricular activities can be a great way to establish your presence to the local community. The people who live in neighborhoods that you service will appreciate your community involvement and hopefully show their appreciation by doing business with you. On a larger scale, sponsoring marathon runners and other athletes can be a great way to expose your brand.
Free Sample Marketing
Free sample marketing is often applied by food and drug companies. Free samples can be delivered in person at a retail location or by mail. This strategy is perfect for products where people will want to buy it of only they’ll try it.
Business to Business bartering is an excellent way to network and leverage your resources. This strategy allows you to use what you get at wholesale prices and purchase other products and services at retail. The other business agrees to it because they have the same leverage.
Customer Feedback, Surveys
Allowing people to voice their opinions is a way to make them feel important. For this reason you can get free data that would normally cost a pretty penny. Also, beginning with a survey could be a way to create a conversion that would not have been a lead in any other situation.
Key Codes and Unique Promotions
All marketing streams, whether applied online or offline, should have a method of tracking to eventually determine their effectiveness and calculate return on investment. This is done with key codes or unique promotions for each stream to act as a unique identifier.
As you can see, there are many ways to promote your business offline. This page is only scratching the surface when it comes to the possibilities. Mirex Marketing can help market your business both online and offline. Your Mirex Marketing Manager will help you create and execute an effective marketing plan that is tailored to your business and focuses on your target market.