Think about your company's marketing strategy. When is the last time you included an offline marketing campaign? Last month? Last year? Last decade?
If you find that offline marketing isn't playing a big role in your marketing efforts, you're not alone.
As digital marketing has moved to the very forefront of the marketing landscape, more businesses are putting their resources into social media and content production - often, at the expense of their offline marketing.
While this is an understandable shift, businesses that neglect to integrate strategic, offline marketing with their digital marketing will lose out on significant opportunities to build relationships with their customers.
Here are 3 reasons you still need offline marketing.
1. Integrating offline with online marketing allows you to build a seamless experience for your customers.
Today's consumers are used to having their information accessible across devices.
For example, if they start shopping on an ecommerce site on their laptops, then pull up that same site on their phone hours later, they want to pick up right where they left off. They don't want to have to browse for the items they placed in their cart earlier - they want them to still be there, waiting for them.
This is slowly becoming true for customers' offline experiences as well.
However, we're still at a point where the brands that can go that one step further, integrating customers' offline and online experiences, have a chance to become leaders in customer experience. In fact, this is exactly the concept behind my new company, MADE.
Sephora's mobile app is a great example of this. The app allows customers to virtually try on thousands of different shades of lipstick, and then easily find the ones they like in-store. Users can also use the app while in a Sephora store to scan items and save them for later online ordering.
2. Facetime with potential customers can build your company's reputation and increase consumer trust.
There's a reason so many leading CEOs spend a lot of time at speaking events and conferences: facetime builds trust, and can enhance your company's reputation.
Speaking or hosting a booth at industry events can be a great opportunity to integrate your company's offline presence with your online one.
Conference and event organizers were actually some of the first to embrace this, encouraging attendees to live-tweet sessions as they're happening. You've surely searched a conference or event hashtag on your phone while at an event, maybe to see what people are enjoying most, or get an idea of what panel to attend next.
When my company, Marketing Zen, was invited to participate in this year's Chase for Business Conference, our team decided to get creative.
They created a Social Media Genius Bar that allowed attendees at the conference to receive one-on-one consultations with Zen's social media experts, gaining offline advice that they could then use to enhance their online marketing.
In addition, potential clients got a chance to meet our team in person, building that human connection.
3. Consumers are tiring of the "all-digital, all the time" push.
We've come to a point where many of us are beginning to re-embrace the importance of the offline experience.
As a society, we've begun to acknowledge that technology overload can isolate us and damage our interpersonal skills. We've come to realize the damage that screen time can do to our children's developing brains. We've started looking for alternatives to staring at our smartphone screens for information.
This means that while many consumers still want the convenience of digital service delivery, they also want a reason to step away from their devices and engage on a human level.
Two brands that are meeting this need are fashion retailers Modcloth (for women) and Bonobos (for men). Both companies started as online-only retailers, but in the past couple of years, each has opened physical locations.
Modcloth's brick-and-mortar, in Austin, functions much like a traditional store, hosting in-store events and offers personal styling guidance to every shopper.
Bonobos' Guideshops, as they're called, operate a bit differently. Visitors can make appointments with a stylist and try on Bonobos offerings, then order them in-store for delivery to their homes.
Both of these concepts give customers a chance to get away from their devices and see and feel what they're buying.
Offline marketing usually takes a backseat to digital marketing, for understandable reasons. However, companies that can begin integrating their online and offline marketing will see an increase in customer loyalty and greater ROI.