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How Traditional Marketing Complements Your Digital Strategy

Date published: August 25, 2020
Last updated: August 25, 2020

On the list of best practices for business today - high-quality products, attentive customer service, agile leadership—one important factor is often overlooked: traditional offline marketing. It offers tried and true techniques to build a loyal customer base, adding valuable strength to your business strategy.

Digital marketing, of course, is still extremely relevant. Useful online content is one of the top ways to find new customers. But developing a balanced marketing strategy, based on traditional and digital marketing techniques, covers all your bases to deliver maximum exposure for your brand.

Let’s take a look at how traditional marketing perfectly complements your online efforts to build customer awareness, trust, and loyalty.

Common Traditional Marketing Strategies

What is traditional marketing? Essentially, any mainstream marketing channel that was well established before the onset of the World Wide Web is considered traditional marketing. Here are four key examples:


Printed marketing materials go back to the origins of printmaking itself. Even before we had books, we had flyers. Traditional print marketing tools include newspaper and magazine ads, sales brochures, promotional coffee mugs, calendars, and business cards.


Free over-the-air radio and television are critical marketing channels for most major brands. Even as technology has evolved over the last 25 years, the largest companies in the world still look to TV and radio as important ways to distribute their marketing messages. And now that live video is easily accessible through social media, engaging broadcasts are seeing an upsurge in popularity.


Postcards, coupons, catalogs, and free gifts sent through the mail are still critical to many companies. According to Statista, 59% of the world’s population is active online. That leaves 41% of the world that needs to be engaged through other channels. And, of course, email marketing is a recognizable descendant of direct mail advertising, but more on that later.


Everything from concert posters and billboards to bus benches can be considered outdoor marketing. This is still an effective way to gain attention and brand exposure, and public spaces can reach both a broad audience and niche sectors in specific areas. Today, technology such as interactive digital billboards in shopping malls creates a new, hybrid marketing channel, based on traditional and digital techniques.

Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing

Skype, the popular video calling app launched in 2003, gave people the widespread ability to have digital meetings. But traditional face-to-face interaction is still a vital way to network and conduct business. Even frequent virtual conference attendants will say that nothing beats the energy and full sensory measure of when people meet in person.

Many people argue that digital meetings cause a disconnect, both literally (when the broadband connection gets problematic) and figuratively (you can’t pick up all the nuances of body movement). As another example, some say that mobile devices have only made print media more distinctive. This all points to not if you need to leverage traditional marketing, but how.

Effective Offline Marketing Techniques

Trade shows and business conferences have, until recently, been a prime example of how traditional marketing can be extremely useful and lucrative. Although for much of 2020 these events have been canceled or moved online, that doesn’t mean traditional marketing has to take a full hiatus. Here are a few offline marketing techniques that remain effective.

Direct Mail/Email Hybrid Campaigns

Anyone with a mailbox knows that direct marketing is alive and well. From coupons for new homeowners and political postcards to grand opening announcements, people still receive and read a lot of mail. And it’s a proven technique that warming up your leads with a branded postcard or letter will help with the open and response rates for your email outreach.

Many of the same best practices apply to direct mail and email, so be sure your messaging is consistent and focused on customers’ needs. It’s all about building brand recognition and trust.

Private Demonstrations

Just because your trade show has been canceled, doesn’t mean you can’t have the same conversations in a one-on-one environment. Use your website to collect leads to real-world product demonstrations.

Even if you can’t travel to meet your potential new customer, product samples can be shipped, along with catalogs and how-to guides. Mailing product samples to people that have registered interest may even be more cost-effective than constantly traveling to trade venues and conferences.

Local Meetups

While large-scale events are on temporary pause, some smaller local organizations are already back to meeting in person. There are plenty of opportunities to market within clubs, business associations, and trade organizations. Even if your first small event is virtual, it could lead to a lucrative one-on-one presentation opportunity.

Re-Engaging Previous Customers

One of the best ways to expand your customer base is to re-engage previous shoppers. If someone has bought and used your product or service in the past, some brand trust has already been earned and it’s very likely they’ll be open to your offerings again.

Even if someone has changed their buying habits or lifestyle, revisiting lost relationships with a personal phone call can, at the very least, give you valuable market research to steer your business in new directions.

Traditional Approaches Should Complement Your Online Content Marketing

As mentioned, traditional marketing makes an excellent complement to digital channels, it doesn’t replace them. Your company still needs a thoughtful content marketing approach to be successful.

Your traditional marketing materials should reinforce what customers see online and vice versa. The best way to achieve brand harmony between online and offline content is to be visually consistent. And the easiest way to do this is to make sure all your messaging has a cool company logo while using the same color scheme everywhere. These core branding techniques let potential customers instantly recognize your brand, whether offline or online.

Email Analytics Help You Measure Your Offline Campaigns

It’s not that difficult to tie your offline campaigns into your online analytics. You could send out a discount coupon catalog through direct mail, and reinforce it with a follow-up email to see who clicks through to enter the codes. Another example is to send out an email with a questionnaire for the chance to win a special prize which you’ll mail them.

The Message Is Clear

The ideas, scenarios, and examples we’ve explained in this article make it clear that traditional marketing still has a strong part to play in an effective business marketing strategy. Done right, offline and online complement each other hand-to-glove. Together, they will effectively build instant brand recognition and strong customer engagement, casting a wider net than either channel can do on its own.

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