With all the attention on the new-school marketing strategies, it's hard to even remember how old-school marketers used to do it before the days of Google, Facebook and YouTube. While many of today's business owners scramble to tackle the latest in social media technology, it's good to be reminded that old school marketing strategies still have a place in today's business climate. Here's a look at some ideas worth revisiting.
As far as strategies go, this one should be at the top of every marketer's list. Whether online or off, nothing leaves a greater impression on customers than terrific service. According to a CEI survey, 86 per cent of consumers will pay more for a better customer service experience, and a whopping 89 per cent have done business with a competitor after a bad experience.1 Clearly it pays to treat your customers right.
A close cousin of good customer service, referral business is something that grows from having a happy customer base. Since people are more likely to take advice from friends or family members, reward your customers by giving them incentives to bring others into the fold. As you develop your program, keep in mind that the most successful referral programs are ones that reward both parties.
Yes, direct mail is still alive and well, and in fact it is one of the most viable marketing strategies available. What makes direct mail so effective is the targeted and one-on-one nature of mail. You can touch it, feel it and stick it on your fridge. A survey by ExactTarget last year revealed that 65 per cent of consumers made a purchase after receiving direct mail, with that figure reaching 71 per cent for the 45 to 54-year-old crowd. It's so effective that even Google is using it.2
Events and sponsorships
Local businesses can especially benefit from event and sponsorship activities. In addition to creating a positive association with your brand in the community for a relatively low cost, you can use photos of the event to generate buzz on your social media channels.
For local businesses with a larger budget, radio is a great medium for reaching a target audience. Radio advertising is less costly than TV and takes less time and effort to produce. The key with radio advertising is to pick a channel with the right demographic and to repeat your message often.
Getting a mention or a product review in a newspaper or magazine in exchange for free products is an effective way to build credibility for your brand. Editorial is often seen as more objective than regular advertising, and as such carries more weight with consumers. It's also far less expensive.
While decidedly low-tech, flyers, pamphlets, banners and posters still provide an effective and low-cost way to get the word out about your brand or business. You can post them on walls, in store windows or even on cars. Anyone who has ever sold anything on a local bulletin board knows how effective this simple strategy can be.
While definitely not as slick as a well-designed Facebook or Twitter campaign, old-school advertising still has its place in today's technological world. To make your campaigns even more effective, be sure to include your website address, social media links or even a QR code on all of your materials in order to merge the worlds.
1 2011 Customer Service Impact Report. Oracle (2011).
2 Five Companies (including Google) with Outstanding Direct Mail Campaigns. TMR Direct (2013).
This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.
Kathleen has a degree in marketing with over 10 years experience in the IT field as a database developer and web designer. As a freelance writer, Kathleen has written for several publications across Australia as well as for various business and hi-tech blogs online.