The continued evolution of the internet has impacted our lives in many ways, but it has particularly changed the game in terms of how we do business. Organizations now have a range of tools at their disposal as they look to grow their operations, with the online world having an impact on how many of us go about promoting our products and services.
Running a website is a fundamental part of business, while operating social media accounts and using other digital marketing tools to reach consumers has become part and parcel of the modern world. This is arguably best highlighted by figures from media agency Magna which reveal that the worldwide spend on digital advertising is expected to reach a massive $291 billion by 2020.
However, another interesting aspect of that same research is that such figures would only put digital on the same level as the worldwide spend on offline tools such as TV, print and billboard marketing. With this in mind, it is perhaps safe to say that while digital is on an unstoppable rise, offline promotions still have a role to play in boosting a business.
Take research on small business marketing techniques compiled by Ironpaper at the start of the year for instance. While it highlighted that social media is a core tool for 51 per cent of small firms looking to grow their operations, it also revealed that a number still found benefits in offline alternatives. As OnlinePrinters shows, brochures, flyers and invitations offer a range of options for sharing key messages with consumers. The statistics compiled by Ironpaper reveal that seven per cent of small companies still turn to physical direct mailer formats like these to reach the public. Eight per cent also made use of display advertising, while smaller companies were also more likely to attend trade shows (three per cent) than use either SEO or content marketing (both two per cent) to grow their offering.
A marketing mix
Such findings highlight that while digital marketing may seem like a sure-fire way to promote services and generate leads, the death knell may not have sounded for offline promotions just yet. Online clearly offers benefits, but the importance of an offline presence cannot be overstated. If there was ever a sign that the real world still offers advantages to businesses it is Amazon’s activity in recent years, with the company renowned for transforming online retail taking a step back into reality by opening a chain of bookstores in the US, including one outlet in New York.
Such a move is perhaps a sign that while the internet offers up a huge number of opportunities to businesses, there is still a lot to be said for looking to engage consumers and potential clients in an offline space. The key trick for businesses going forward will be how to balance – and potentially combine – the two to ensure that they are maximising their chances of success both in an online setting and the real world.