Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Offline Marketing Borrows from the Online World

Since its inception, the online world has taken its cues for conducting direct marketing programs from offline media. In the beginning, emails were written like direct mail letters. Banners looked like small print ads or billboards. Ad space was sold as though it were print advertising space. Even measurement and tracking tools mimicked offline methods.

But Internet marketing grew and changed its methods. In the last few years, an
interesting twist has taken place. The offline world has taken notice and is now
“borrowing” effective marketing practices from online media. Here are a few examples:

Banner Ads
We’re now seeing banner ads appearing in more traditional venues. Retail stores use banner type ads in stores to promote special offers and pricing. Library and in-store kiosks, as well as virtual concierges in hotel lobbies, use banner ads. Even TV stations are introducing banners at the bottom of the screen to promote upcoming programs without a commercial break.

Spam Blocking
Before online media, consumers were essentially required to take what they were given in terms of ad content. Our ability to ignore, delete, or even block online ads introduced a paradigm shift. Now with satellite radio and digital video recorders, consumers can filter and control the traditional advertising they see.

Online media’s most prized characteristic may be interactivity. Many offline media are trying to replicate this amazing feature. Satellite TV offers ads that viewers can select to download more details. Retail stores, such as bookstores and clothing shops, allow customers to browse for titles or apparel at interactive kiosks.

I believe that the line between online and offline marketing will continue blur. One day soon, we won't talk about online and offline — it will just be marketing. Until then, continue to borrow from the online world and make it your own.