Online vs Offline Marketing: Which Should We Use?

offline-vs-online-marketing

Online and offline marketing are two sides of the same coin. You may opt to use one or the other, or benefit from both. The key in understanding offline and online marketing is to identify their respective pros and cons. Here are some tips to help you understand the difference and decide your best approach:


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By singling out their differences and finding out where the two intersect, you have already acquired a competitive advantage. It’s not a question of which is more dependable; the aim is to point out where both can become interdependent and become beneficial to your business.

Defining Online vs Offline Marketing

Offline marketing

Offline marketing is any promotion or advertisement that is published and released outside the Internet. It is about reaching and grabbing the attention of people who are currently within the vicinity of said marketing activity. The Internet is not needed to make people participate and gain feedback from them.

Samples of offline marketing include:

  • Events
  • Posters and print ads
  • Product giveaways
  • Discount coupons
  • Billboards
  • Radio and TV Commercials
  • Newspaper ads
  • Flash Mobs

Recommended reading: Low Cost Ideas for Offline Marketing for Small Businesses


Online marketing

Online marketing is anything available on the Internet. A lot of people are connected to social media and are subscribed to video-sharing sites. Since the rise of this digital phenomenon, marketers have been tapping on the online crowd. Ad spaces opened up in various social media sites, such as Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

They can sell you anything from any site you are surfing. When online, you can see ads everywhere—from banners suited to your interests and surfing behaviour to Youtube video interruptions of ads that require you to wait for five seconds before you can skip it.

Online marketing comes in all shapes and sizes, including:

  • Pop Ups
  • Display ads such as banner ads
  • Video content
  • Native content - otherwise known as sponsored advertorial or content that promotes your brand
  • Hyperlinks
  • Online surveys
  • Free downloads
  • File sharing

Those who truly want to maximise online marketing would look at finding ways to increase the number of visitors to their website, and then look at how you can convert them into paying customers.

To analyse and measure the success of your online campaign, there are various tools available that would tell you your current standing in comparison to your competitors, evaluate user activity, as well as show you areas for improvement.

Looking at the Pros and Cons of Each Side

For you to be able to harness the full potential of both, it is also essential that you look at the positive and the negative aspects of each marketing strategy.

Pros of offline marketing

  • Consumer feedback is immediate and easier to collect
  • Reaches a concentrated area of target audience
  • Great for building customer loyalty
  • More creative options to make an interactive experience during events

Cons of Offline Marketing

  • More expensive to fund
  • Requires staff presence during implementation

Pros of Online Marketing

  • Much cheaper to finance
  • Availability of social media as a market ocean
  • Since there is more coverage in online population, the likelihood of sharing and “liking” will also increase
  • Software targets your audience. For instance, when the software detects user A to have a strong preference for skateboards, it begins to market skateboard-related ads to him.
  • 24/7 presence in all online outlets and automated operations
  • A good online presence is also good for brand recognition
  • Fully-customisable web layouts and design at your fingertips
  • Interactivity

Cons of Online Marketing

  • Congested online ad space limits the attention span of users
  • You may need to build trust before "selling"

Making them work together

There are myriad of ways that you can do to use both offline and online marketing. For instance:

Offline marketing is great at grabbing focused attention from your target audience. Organising events or launch parties have been proven to give your product a jumpstart in terms of word-of-mouth marketing. Mixing this with the elements of online marketing by promoting said event on social networks or getting people to use hashtags can help increase reach. Promoting a product launch online is more practical than relying on traditional media such as television or radio.

Considering the immense number of users on these sites (e.g. Facebook recently reached its 1-billion users mark), there will be networks upon networks of users to invite and make aware of your product’s existence.

By effectively combining the experiential interactivity brought by offline marketing with the reach of audience in social networks, offline and online marketing can work wonders for your business.

Over to you now. What's your experience of offline vs online marketing? Tell us what has worked for you in the comments below. 

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