Back to School, Back to Basics

The week after Labor Day was always the beginning of a new school year in my hometown. It was a time of much anticipation and excitement. Back to school shopping for new pencils, notebooks, and other school supplies was a fun activity and having something tangible in my hands was what made the excitement real.

Tangible tactics can make a tangible impact

In our increasingly more virtual world, traditional (aka old school) marketing tactics such as postcards, promotional products, and brochures are dwindling, even more so now as in-person events have been cancelled, concerns about mail delays have been raised, and marketing budgets have been reduced. However, the impact these items can make should not be forgotten.

Cross-channel or multi-channel marketing used to mean print ads, direct mail, online banners, emails, events, and more. As digital marketing increased in popularity – and effectiveness – many of the more traditional tactics became obsolete. Cross-channel started to mean using multiple social media platforms. This shift made sense; digital was faster, cheaper, and customizable. But have we gone too far?

Integrating printed tactics into your customer journey mapping

An important part of any marketing plan is the customer journey – mapping out touch points and triggers from discovery to purchase / conversion to upsell for each segment of your target audience. Oftentimes, these are utilized to automate marketing. However, don’t forget about the “hard copies” that might be relevant – the actual “touch” points. An insert in a package might just be the reinforcement or reminder a prospect needs to check out your business. There is a lot of noise and clutter online, so sometimes holding onto something (even if it is just the minute from mailbox to recycling bin) can have a breakthrough moment.

I’m not saying every marketing campaign should include a printed piece or a free t-shirt, but I am saying that offline marketing isn’t obsolete. Physical tactics should be part of the strategic planning discussion. Remember the rules of effective marketing should always apply including good design, messaging reasons to believe, accurate targeting, and using the channel your audience wants to consume information. Those are the basics, and sometimes all you need to do is get back to the basics.

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