Online Vs. Offline Brand Marketing—Which Is Best for You?

by

Laura Harker

Not sure between online or offline brand marketing? We cover both in this article to see which you should be concentrating your efforts on.

There’s always room to improve your brand’s advertising and marketing. No matter how good you think it is right now, it certainly won’t be perfect. One way you could make some improvements is by considering whether to focus your time and effort on online or offline brand marketing.

Think about what type of advertising you want to carry out and who this will benefit. You also need a plan in executing it, so you know how you are going to do it.

Not sure between online or offline brand marketing? We’ll cover both in this article to see which you should be concentrating your efforts on.

Brand marketing creation online brand marketing and offline brand marketing

What Is Online Brand Marketing?

Online brand marketing is a catch-all term for all of the different ways you can market and advertise online. As there are now so many different online channels and platforms that you can leverage for your brand marketing, there is such huge scope of the things that you can do to spread the word about your brand.

From sending out email newsletters and using social media adverts to optimizing your site and paying for Google ads, brands now use online marketing to reach their target audience in the online places they tend to hang out.

What Is Offline Brand Marketing?

On the flip side is offline brand marketing. This is the use of various offline media to help with marketing and boost a brand’s awareness. Offline marketing is just all the things that companies were doing two decades ago before the internet really took off. You might be surprised to hear that the digital revolution didn’t completely kill off offline marketing methods—it’s still very much worth considering them in most cases!

The Benefits of Online Brand Marketing

Online brand marketing dominates most companies’ advertising strategies these days as it brings them the following benefits.

Easy to Measure

Thanks to analytics and insights (think Google Analytics or a social media tool such as Hootsuite), you will be able to track how well your online adverts and marketing are doing. By measuring, you can hone your strategy so that you only deploy methods that bring the results you want to see.

Online brand marketing

Long-Term Exposure

Certain types of online brand marketing will last for a while, including SEO and some sponsored adverts. It makes them very cost-effective as you will be able to reap a lot of results for the initial cost.

Easy to Target Key Audiences

When creating an online ad, you will be able to target them so that they reach people in your specific audience. You won’t be wasting money on showing your ads to people who won’t be interested.

Affordable

Compared to offline advertising, online ads tend to be more affordable. It’s easier for new brands with small budgets to reach their target audience especially as some methods, such as social media, can be completely free to use.

Target Mobile Customers

These days there are more people using mobile than desktop when viewing the internet, so it’s essential that you target these users too. The majority of adverts and methods of reaching web users can now be tailored for mobile, meaning you won’t miss anyone out.

Easier Reach Online

Adverts can reach a remarkable number of people online. If you create one that people engage with, then it will spread further than what you might think.

Build Relationships with Customers

Chances are that your target audience will see your adverts again and again online. They’ll quickly start to recognize your brand, which is good for brand awareness. The more they see you, then the more they will come to trust you. Eventually, this should strengthen their relationship with your brand.

The Benefits of Offline Brand Marketing

Of course, offline brand marketing comes with its own set of benefits as well. Even though some methods may seem a bit outdated now, they can still help you get one up on your competitors in a number of ways.

Offline brand marketing

Provides Customers with Something Tangible

We all would rather have something physical to hold than something digital, right? That’s certainly the case for most people and is evident when you look at the music industry – vinyl records are increasingly popular right now even though the majority of music is available in digital formats. This is also the case with advertising—whether you give them business cards, pamphlets, or branded merch, consumers love having things that they can hold and keep.

Builds Relationships when Networking

Those business cards will also come in handy at networking events. Networking is a great way to spread the word of your name and brand in real life; it also gives you the chance to speak to people face-to-face, so you can show them the personable side of your firm and can answer any questions directly. Some say this is the best form of offline brand marketing.

Reach Your Audience when They Are Attentive

People who are watching TV or reading newspapers are usually focused on the task in hand; those who are scrolling through social media or browsing online aren’t as focused as they could be.

Think about it: using a TV or newspaper ad gives you the chance to be noticed by people who are attentive and will give your marketing their full attention. This is something offline brand marketing does best.

Chance to Be Creative

You can really mix things up with offline brand marketing. Use jingles in TV and radio ads; create colorful sponsorship branding for an event; invite peers to an open day; go bold with a flash mob. There are a lot more options offline than online, and this makes it easier to be super creative.

Can Work Well Alongside Online Marketing

Nevertheless, there’s no reason to stick to just offline brand marketing. There are plenty of benefits to be had by pairing the two together as they can work well alongside one another.

The Disadvantages of Online Brand Marketing

Turns out that online brand marketing isn’t the golden egg that it might at first appear to be. It does come with a few downsides…

Dependent on Technology

Online brand marketing is, quite obviously, dependant on tech. It won’t reach any of your target audience that don’t use specific types of tech, and you might also have to invest in various software and programs to ensure you can carry out certain online ads.

What’s more, in the event that your company suffers any internet downtime, you won’t be able to update ads or track and measure current ones.

Worldwide Competition

One of the big benefits of the internet is that it opens up a lot of small firms to international markets. That’s great in one sense, but it does also mean that you will also be exposed to a lot of stiff competition. If your ads aren’t up to standard, they won’t stand out in such a saturated market.

Customers Often Ignore Online Ads

We’ve all been there, scrolling through our social media timelines or reading an online news publication when a few ads pop up. I don’t know about you, but we tend to just scroll past them until we get to what we wanted to see.

That’s how most internet users react to online adverts these days, simply ignore them. So, you need to do all that you can to make sure your online brand marketing stops them in their tracks.

Limited Face-to-face Contact

Consumers like to see the human side of the brands that they interact with. Unfortunately, online marketing and adverts don’t offer them this, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to come up with ingenious ways of getting past that.

The Disadvantages of Offline Brand Marketing

Going down the offline brand marketing route will also throw up a few bumps in the road at times as well. Take the following for example:

Not as Easy to Measure

All of the ads that you run online will be super easy to measure. That’s all thanks to analytics. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options for offline brand marketing methods—most just release a new advert into the wild and hope it brings in new customers.

There are a few ways you can try to measure your offline efforts. Traditionally, marketers just looked at sale numbers and profits. If they increased, then an advert’s done well.

You can also use Latana. Our brand tracking software takes various insights, including brand awareness and consideration, to give you an idea of how your brand is performing with your target audience. Those offline brand marketing adverts greatly influence these insights.

Only Runs for a Short Period

Compared to online brand marketing, offline brand marketing don’t last all that long. If you want a TV or newspaper advert repeatedly shown or published, the costs could work out very high. Networking and other event-based marketing don’t even last for that long—once they are over, they’re over.

High Costs

As previously mentioned, costs for offline brand marketing can be considerably higher than online.

There are a lot of free ways to market your brand online, such as using social media. However, there’s no free lunch in the world of offline advertising! TV advertising is notoriously expensive and funding one-off events, such as networking evenings, might struggle to bring you returns that make the costs worth it.

Limited Quick Accessibility

People are always online these days, so they will be exposed to a lot of brand marketing all the time. Some of which they might not even be aware of!

Accessibility to offline brand marketing isn’t so automated, though. Consumers need to actively do something to see it, whether that’s turn the TV on, open a newspaper, or attend a networking event. And there’s never any guarantee that they will do any of those things.

Examples of Online Brand Marketing

Here are some of the main examples of online brand marketing:

Email Marketing

Email marketing is using emails to spread your brand. Lots of marketers now encourage consumers to sign up to their brand’s weekly or bi-weekly newsletter. Sending them out regularly motivates your subscribers to act how you want, whether that’s making a purchase or forwarding the mail to a friend.

The car-share app Uber is known for having a very good emailing campaign. It’s slick and to the point – there’s no wasted copy at all and the mail always ends with a clear CTA. There are also links to blog posts so subscribers can click through if they want to learn more.

There are some downsides to sending out so many emails, though. Some recipients might mistake them for spam and might not even click on them.

Google Display Ads

Google display ads are adverts that will appear on relevant sites. Whether you want text, video, or visual ads, you simply design them and then Google will place them on suitable blogs, news publications, and other niche sites.

These are often super cost-effective, and you can measure various analytical data to see exactly how well they are performing. You can also be sure that they are placed on suitable sites as they are matched according to the Google Ad Words associated with them.

You need to make sure the Google Ad Words are incredibly specific, though, otherwise it’s easy for ads to be misplaced.

It’s easy to end up overpaying on these ads too, as you will be paying for a lot of features, some of which might not be necessary for you. For example, even if you just want your ads displayed on desktop browsers, you will still need to cough up for access to mobile metrics.

Webinar

People are always keen to learn new things. If you have some knowledge or experience that could be of use to your peers or consumers, then you might want to try tapping into webinars for marketing.

This may seem like a lot of effort, but the companies who are doing it right, such as HubSpot, make it look very worth it! On the HubSpot site, you’ll notice a page dedicated to dozens of free webinars. Because they all offer value and quality, they are regularly shared around the net, exposing the HubSpot brand to lots of new consumers.

Using webinars can very easily spread your name around the web, but there are a few downsides to note. Technical problems could hinder a user’s experience of the resource, especially if you favor live sessions. Not only that, though, but planning them can be fairly time-consuming.

YouTube Ads

You can also advertise your brand on YouTube now. Adverts are played at the beginning of short videos as well as throughout longer ones.

YouTube is seen as the choice advertisement platform these days and is only second to Google. In 2017, videos on YouTube brought in a staggering $2.59 billion in ad revenues! It’s certainly the place to be seen right now!

There are a few cons that some marketers see. You won’t have much control over where your ads appear, so they might crop up on some inappropriate videos and your target audience might not see them. Lots of YouTube users tend to skip past adverts when they are available too. So, even if they are shown to your target audience, there’s no guarantee they will take much notice!

Social Media Marketing

If you are looking for a free form of online brand marketing, then social media is your friend. It’s free to sign up and start posting. Of course, if you do want to make the most of your web presence on Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest, it is strongly recommended to sponsor your posts to increase their reach.

One of the best ways to get ahead of your competitors on social media is to be as engaging as possible. The British bakery Greggs use Twitter exceptionally well as they always engage with their followers and tweet content that they know will be reshared.

The retweets and likes don’t always come that easily, though, and it could take you a while to build a significant following. It’s also a platform that needs regular monitoring so that you can always react to criticism or negativity.

Social media marketing

SEO

Similarly, you should be able to carry out some basic SEO steps for free or a very small cost. However, if you want to see the best results, it’s always necessary to invest heavily into it.

Strong SEO can boost your brand’s web presence. Your site will be easy to find which should support your brand awareness and identity. This can also do wonders for a company’s credibility as well.

The grass isn’t always green in the world of SEO, though, and there are a few disadvantages.

It’s a process that takes time; SEO certainly shouldn’t be seen as a quick fix. This is unlike running Google ads, which you can instantly start to track to see how well they are doing.

Strangely, some start-ups find that their SEO can be too good. It helps them increase their leads, but this can be to a point that is too much for such a small or new company to handle. They might end up overwhelmed and unable to process so many sales at once.

Examples of Offline Brand Marketing

Now, let’s take a look at some of the various types of offline brand marketing.

Direct Mail

Direct mail targets consumers in their homes. You just need to design an eye-catching flyer or brochure and post it out to them. But you can always be more creative if you want – in fact, that should be actively encouraged! One such example is when Skoda sent out DVDs to all of its consumers!

The main advantage of this type of campaign is that it allows you to target a niche audience directly. You’ll also be able to give them a lot more information than what you could squeeze into a tweet or Google ad.

However, costs do start to add up quickly. Plus, some recipients might just view your correspondence as junk mail, and it might end up straight in the trash.

Billboards, Train Station Ads, etc.

Large physical adverts certainly command the public’s attention. It obviously still works even in today’s digital age as many of the big-name tech firms, including Apple and Netflix, still invest heavily into billboard advertising.

These types of adverts allow you to get a lot of bang for your buck, and many marketers see the high costs as rewarding investments. Not only that, though, but they will be promoting your brand to a much wider audience. It won’t just be your target audience seeing them, so you might capture some new customers who you might not have considered trying to attract before.

This lack of targeted focus can be seen as a disadvantage, though. There’ll be a lot of people viewing the ads, some of whom might view them as visual pollution. Talking of pollution, these kinds of ads do require a lot of ongoing maintenance if they are to be up for a long time—are you prepared for those extra costs?

Seminars

If you want to add another string to your B2B marketing bow, you might be tempted to start offering seminars. Hosting a seminar will give you a platform from which you can demonstrate your industry expertise to a captive audience. You should also walk away having made a few handy contacts as well.

However, seminars aren’t for every company. Some brand marketers find them too time-consuming, so they aren’t all that great for small companies that can’t afford the manpower. Depending on the type of seminar and your chosen venue, they can also be fairly expensive to organize as well.

TV Ads

We all have our favorites, whether it’s something retro like the famous Coca-Cola ad, or modern like Budweiser’s Puppy Love.

Even though streaming services are such a big business these days, there are still hundreds of thousands of people around the world glued to regular TV channels still. Once again, this is a method that promotes your brand to a captive audience. As you can often choose the time of day it goes out, you can always time your ads to be shown when you know that your target audience are more likely to be watching.

But do people take any notice of TV ads? There are now a lot of TV services that allow viewers to record their favorite shows and fast-forward past advert breaks, so the number of people who do actually watch yours might be considerably lower than expected.

Live Demonstrations

If you attend a lot of expos or trade fairs, you might like the idea of carrying out a live demonstration. Lots of brands that make cooking equipment often go down this route as they can cook something at their local food fair or market to give consumers a glimpse of their products in action.

This allows you to take your products directly to your customers to show them what’s good about them and why they need to make a purchase. This can also help you with tracking sales too.

Live demonstrations could go wrong, though. You might also have to deal with transport and space limitations if your products are especially bulky.

How to Merge Online and Offline Brand Marketing

Both online and offline brand marketing are good on their own, but when you successfully merge them, you should find that it’s like discovering you’ve got a new marketing superpower!

If you plan your campaigns and brand marketing strategies carefully, your digital efforts can help support your offline methods, and vice versa. Here are a few ways to achieve a solid all-round marketing campaign that combines both:

Boost Offline Promotions with Online Call to Actions

Do you have an upcoming TV or billboard ad launching soon? It might not be out in public just yet, but that’s no reason why you can’t get the public excited about it. You could start to drum up excitement on your social media channels. If you give a call to action, like “tune in on Friday at 9pm”, then you should get a few more viewers tuned in to see your ad.

These online call-to-actions can also be used in a similar way to promote seminars, webinars, and events.

Support Offline Brand Marketing with Online Data

Thanks to the internet, there is so much data that we can use to analyze. This data may come from online sources, but it can still be used to look into offline brand advertising. For instance, you can gain insights into the types of consumers who visit your physical stores or attend events.

Encourage Online Followers to Help Offline

Social media competitions help build followings online, but why not use them to create content for your offline marketing efforts?

Some brands now run competitions online to get followers to submit designs, images, and slogans, that could be used in the company’s next offline campaign. As well as getting some great user-generated content, this should also get a lot of people excited to see your offline campaign just in case their entry has been chosen!

Personal branding

How to Determine which Methods to Use

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the different ways you could be marketing your brand? There’s certainly a lot, but you shouldn’t overstretch your campaigns by trying to do them all. Instead, focus on a couple of different methods but make sure you do them well.

Here are a few factors that can help you decide which offline and online brand marketing efforts to go with.

Budget

Possibly the biggest deciding factor for any brand. You need to look at your finances and figure out what you can afford. When done with a lot of care and attention, even a really cheap marketing option should bring you some pretty good returns.

Where Is the Target Audience?

If your product is aimed at teenage boys, then there is no point hosting webinars or investing on TV ads. Your target audience probably won’t see them; it would be best to go for YouTube and in-app ads.

Take a look at the data that shows where your target audience is and which adverts they are most likely to see. Those are the smart places to spend your money.

Brand Identity

You also need to consider what would suit your brand too. Some types of marketing could boost your brand identity while others might hinder it. If you are looking to strengthen your overall brand identity, then it could be best to go with some of the more trusted methods of marketing and advertising.

Test Different Channels

Marketing can be a bit hit and miss at times. What works one week might not work the next. As long as you are flexible, then this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Be ready to test a few different options until you find the perfect balance of offline and online marketing.

One of the main takeaways from this post is that it’s important to find what works for you and your brand. Thankfully, there are a lot of different offline and online methods you can consider. Once you find that sweet spot of the perfect offline/online blend, then the sky really will be the limit with your brand marketing!

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