Whilst online marketing has often been described as the best thing since the proverbial sliced bread, it may sound surprising that there is still a place in the world of advertising for the old traditional print-based methods of marketing.
This is particularly true with regard to small and independent businesses. Unlike large multinational companies, small independent businesses cannot afford huge advertising budgets, or Search Engine Optimisation services which ensure that their businesses achieve high-profile placements in online search results. In this respect, small businesses are competing not against other similar small businesses on a purely local basis, but against all businesses, globally, and regardless of their size.
Integrated Marketing Communications
Small local businesses can compete more successfully, and more cost-effectively, by combining their online advertising with distributing printed leaflets and using targeted direct mail. This practice is known as Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). One such exercise might be to target potential local customers by sending out a printed flyer which includes a money-off coupon, or details of a particular promotion or event. This flyer would also include details of the business website – which in turn would showcase the offer on its home page whilst also offering much more information about the business, and, where appropriate, links to online ordering. The piece of printed marketing acts as a personal introduction to the business, whilst the website provides far more details about the company than can be included on the printed page.
QR Codes and Custom Landing Pages
The flyer could be designed to include a “QR” (Quick Response) matrix barcode which can be read by smartphones, or the URL for a specific landing page on the company’s website which relates directly to the offer (ideally, one which matches as closely as possible the design of the flyer). In either case, any interested customers are provided with a fast-track route to finding information specific to that offer. In addition, the business will be able to track the level of direct response which has been generated by the flyer. This information can in turn be used to develop and determine future direct marketing campaigns.
The same is true of advertising in printed media such as magazines or newspapers. This is one instance where the choice of the publication will be determined by the genre, customer base or even locality of the product. There is no advantage to advertising in a town – or country! – where your product is not locally available.
The Power of Direct Mail
Print marketing can often reach out to customers far more effectively than its online equivalent. By using direct mail, or corporate brochure distribution, a business is actively reaching out and seeking potential customers. Online advertising, on the other hand, relies on the practice of potential customers actively seeking out suppliers. With so much competition for effective search engine placement, this makes for a far from level playing field. As a result, for the reasons detailed above, the chances of a small independent business being located in an online search are worryingly small.
But print marketing and online marketing are not mutually exclusive. The two methods of marketing can be skilfully combined, or “integrated”, into one marketing message which has a far higher impact. This is one instance where the whole really can prove to be much greater than the sum of its parts.
- License: Image author owned
Thanks to Steve at Project Print Solutions – the corporate brochure design specialists – for sending us this post.