It’s not one or the other, it has to be both!
Why integrating online and offline marketing is essential for marketing success . . .
All brand managers unanimously agree that marketing is a must. But while they are constantly trying to overcome media clutter and find innovative advertising devices, they often commit a simple yet serious crime. If print, TVC, radio, OOH belongs to the realm of offline marketing, PPC, social media marketing, blogs, forums and articles form a distinct part of online marketing. What many people fail to realize is that a marriage of online and offline marketing plans is likely to produce far more effective results than either one alone.
This is at the core of the concept of 360 degree marketing that basically prioritizes multiple media marketing over one or two media. In other words, it may be better to put your eggs in many baskets when you are trying to reach out to the maximum number of consumers.
For brick and mortar businesses, the first obvious step to marketing online is to create an online identity in the form of a professionally designed, search engine optimized website. Not only does this help you reach out to far greater virtual visitors than possible with a physical store or office, it also is a more cost effective way to advertise services. Since most offline marketing media entail prohibitively expensive costs, it is best to use as little media space as possible to grab eyeballs and generate basic awareness. The offline advertisement must then contain a link to your website or more specifically, a specially created web landing page, where the audience can get greater details to satisfy the curiosity created by the offline ad.
Another very important aspect of online marketing is to not limit your presence to a website. There are multiple low-cost, pay for results models offered by various sites and affiliate marketers that can help spread the word about your business on the World Wide Web.
Going from offline to online methods is therefore relatively easy and economical. The reverse, however, is much harder making it very difficult for exclusive internet businesses to have a presence in the non-virtual world. This is particularly magnified in the case of pan-continent businesses where it is just not possible to have an offline presence without having targeted geographies. For such businesses, full exploitation of all possible internet marketing methods is a far safer bet.
Another great benefit of online marketing is the ability to evaluate various media comparatively to a very fine detail and then re-plan allocation of funds to the more ROI effective methods. There is a far more ambiguous link between advertising and sales in offline marketing methods.
In conclusion, online marketing is more suited to smaller companies that are starting up or have limited funds. With time though most businesses need to find a way to make their online and offline marketing models work in tandem for maximum benefits.