Online VS Offline: When do you Make the Switch?

No matter what kind of company you may own or work for, at some point the marketing and media strategies must adjust do to internal and external situations.  The internal situations could be derived from growing or shrinking budgets, changes in business strategy, new product launches, re-branding efforts, etc.  The externalities could be anything from buyer behavior to the economy.  Regardless, a company must be fluid in their decision making in order to survive.  Nothing is more true than when considering your media placement and offline VS online marketing strategy.

If you are a business owner you will most likely think in terms of the revenue, profits, and expenses.  Therefore, the return on any investment made for the company must be justified or it should be cut from the budget.  This is just business management 101.  If the company is making investments in things not producing profits for the company in some fashion, then they are draining resources and cash.

Many business owners that have been married to traditional forms of media like print advertising and direct mail for decades often find it hard to embrace Internet marketing and online media buying.  It is not uncommon for large companies that have big budgets to spend the same amount of money each year on the same type of media, simple because they have been doing it that way for 10 years.  Companies in this situation (assuming the company is healthy and profitable) sometimes rarely research better alternatives or greater cost savings because they have the budget and they know what works…right?

Gradually, these companies begin to employ more younger marketing talent that understand the importance of search engine optimization, pay per click, and even social media.  Many times the marketing team is swimming upstream trying to convince the person holding the purse strings that these “new” marketing avenues are NOT new and are in fact more cost effective (when done correctly).  It is interesting because the CFO to whom they might have to answer to demands that they show a good ROI.  How they have done that in a realistic fashion over the years using print advertising is beyond me.  You want something cost effective, measurable, and that has the ability to reach a larger audience…well here it is!  Internet marketing.

The old method of “how did you hear about us?” as an analytics tool is dead.  That system is infected with human error.  Real estate companies are a perfect example of this.  Over the past few years more real estate companies are hiring Internet marketing companies and online media experts to broaden their horizons.  There could be no better time than now as the economy struggles and consumers are losing faith in the previously traditional forms of media.  People want transparent truth, which is why strategies like social media optimization are so popular.

In the recent past most real estate developers, condo developers, etc. were perfectly happy with spending hundreds of thousands in print media each year, using signage and agent networks…and that was about it.  Now, with shoe-string budgets they are seeking less expensive but powerful tools for marketing their property.  Online marketing is the place to be and many have already shifted the majority of their budgets to this strategy.  Good for them!

So how do you know when to make the switch?  The answer is simple, if you have not already made it then you are a bit behind the power curve.  Print media and other traditional forms of marketing have their place and are even crucial to many marketing plans.  It really depends on the product as to what kind of mix you should have between online and offline media.  One imporant thing to note though is that is you hire and Internet marketing company to handle online media, they must be inlvoved and have an intimate understanding of your offline strategy as well.  The two must compliment each other or you might be losing valuable business.

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