The 21st Century Dilemma: Offline vs. Online Advertising

Posted by: Matt Thompson Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Where Should You Invest?

Offline vs. Online Advertising

The world of marketing has changed dramatically in the last few decades. The explosion of affordable online advertising options has given even the smallest businesses a broad menu of advertising choices. However, offline advertising media, such as direct mail, print advertising and vendor events still have a place in most business marketing plans. While each approach has their benefits and drawbacks, we don’t believe there has to be competition between the two. Together, both approaches can drive traffic to your website and help make your business successful. The trick is to know when to use each type of advertising.

When to use Online Advertising

Online advertising comes in many forms like email marketing, social media management, or search engine optimization. It can be the big banner ads that you see across the top of web pages or informational blogs educating the customer about industry trends. There are a number of reasons why you might choose to use online advertising. Since there is no print and postage costs associated with online advertising, it can be generally more affordable than print or direct mail campaigns. You also have the opportunity to create as small (or as large) a campaign as you need with the ability to track each page view, click, conversion, and more.

Online advertising makes sense when...

  • You want to target a specific audience. Digital advertising can be targeted to users who already have an interest in your particular industry or product, no matter where they are located. You can be specific or as general as you need with setting the parameters of your target audience.
  • You need a quick turnaround time. The processing time for online ads is significantly shorter than traditional approaches. If you know how to maneuver the different online platforms, you can envision a campaign, customize the design, and promote it all in the same day. You also have the ability to make changes much faster giving you the flexibility that you need.
  • You want to engage your readers and potential customers. Online advertising allows you to poll your readers, show them a video or otherwise interact with them, something that's very difficult for most businesses to do with traditional offline advertising.

When to use Offline Advertising

Despite the many benefits associated with web-based advertising, there are still a number of reasons to use traditional advertising methods like brochures, TV commercials, and radio ads.

Offline advertising makes sense when…

  • The market for your product or service is small and localized. If you market your product primarily in a small area, advertising in the local newspaper or via a billboard can help you create a presence in the community as well as support the local economy.
  • Networking and relationship-building are central to your business’s success. Manning a booth at local fairs and other vendor events can help you become the "face" of your company for a relatively modest investment. Such events also let you get out and meet your customers and potential customers face-to-face, rather than as an impersonal scribe online.
  • Physically touching or holding your ads is important to your audience. Traditional advertising like direct mail pieces and newspaper ads can be felt, written on, and held on to for as long as the prospect has a need for it. Whereas the life of a social media post, email, or display ad is much shorter.

For most products and services, the best marketing plan will combine both online and offline advertising options. The main deciding factor when choosing online or offline advertising is determining where your target audience spends the majority of their time. If they are in the age demographic that spends a significant amount of time on Instagram and other social media platforms, digital marketing may be your best bet. Whereas, the baby boomer generation may read the newspaper or watch TV more. Before getting started, it is important to take the time to get to know who you will be targeting and your budget to determine which advertising tactic is best for your business.

Here at Splash Omnimedia, we do it! We are a full-service marketing firm with services spanning from graphic design, to search engine optimization, and inbound marketing. To find out what is the best advertising solution for your business, contact Splash Omnimedia today.