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Using 20th Century Marketing Strategies in the Digital Age

A few months ago, I had a conversation at a Meetup group for entrepreneurs. One of the other members (I will call him Eric) had just started his own bricklaying company a few months earlier. I was in the uncomfortable position of needing to give him some difficult feedback on his marketing strategy.

Eric had read a lot of guides on marketing. Like many people I run into, he believed that digital marketing was the future and would make other marketing strategies completely obsolete. I work in digital marketing myself, so I should have been flattered by his grandiose projection of my profession.

Unfortunately, his assumptions were off base. “Old school” marketing strategies still work. In fact, they are as important as ever.

Here is the lowdown on this resilient medium that is as important as ever.

Old School Marketing Strategies Aren’t Dying. They are GROWING.

KissMetrics recently published an insightful article on four old-school marketing strategies that are making a comeback. This was a very big revelation because KissMetrics is a digital marketing blog that has a vested interest in pushing inbound marketing. Nevertheless, they recognized that the demand for traditional marketing strategies has actually risen in the last few years.

Word of mouth is still the best form of marketing. This has not changed in over a century since experts started tracking the performance of different marketing strategies.

Polls have shown that 64% of marketing representatives believe that word of mouth is the most effective way to generate sales and expand reach. It has proven to be a very effective strategy over the years. Many professionals I have spoken with said that they get over 70% of their business from their BNI chapter, which is a fraternity that focuses purely on word of mouth marketing.

Of course, some word of mouth marketing is done over the Internet. However, some of the most effective messages are made in-person. People tend to mention that they are looking for a lawyer, bricklayer or accountant in everyday conversations a lot more than they do online.

Most smart entrepreneurs understand this and try to encourage people to spread the word about their services. They even offer incentives to loyal customers that refer to other paying members.

Direct mail is one of the strategies that is making a big rebound. Over 100 million adults made a catalog purchase in 2016. That figure could possibly grow further, which is why so many brands are turning to companies that print flyers.

The ROI of direct mail seems to be higher than it was a decade ago. Looking at data from Statistica and the DMA, there seem to be a couple of reasons for this:

  • The volume of direct mail campaigns has dropped sharply since the early 2000s. This probably means that people are less likely to view the content in their mailboxes as spam.
  • Many people seem to be showing a renewed interest in offline media. The number of magazine readers has actually increased slightly over the last couple of years and stayed steady since the early 21st This suggests that people are more interested in reading literature that is mailed to them, so it makes sense that they will be more receptive to direct mail messages.

Since so many companies are investing in digital advertising these days, the direct mail market is wide open for savvy marketers to take advantage of. This should lead to far more direct mail sales in the near future.

Traditional Marketing Strategies Are Hotter than Ever

Some of the oldest marketing strategies remain some of the best. You are going to want to be aware of the benefits of applying different marketing strategies and use them to their fullest potential.