Whether you are a business owner or just curious how things work, it is useful to know the differences between online marketing vs offline marketing. There are numerous similarities and differences between the two. And clearly, each strategy offers its own advantages and disadvantages. This leads us to one central question: Is online marketing the new default strategy? Is offline marketing simply outdated and should be replaced by online marketing, or does it still have a reason to exist? Let’s take a closer look at online marketing vs offline marketing and find an answer to the question.
What is Online Marketing?
Online marketing, also called online advertising, is a form of advertising which uses the internet to deliver marketing messages to consumers or companies. There are several main strategies for online marketing, starting off with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is an organic way of climbing to the top of search pages. For example, a website with content on specific keywords that potential customers are searching for would show up higher in the search results. Another strategy is Social Media Marketing. This is where sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are used to advertise your brand or product. It can either be done with paid ads or simple posts that get engagements from fans/friends.
There are other methods such as Lead Generation, Influencer Marketing, Affiliate Marketing and Email Marketing. Lead generation is when a seed of interest in your product is planted in a customer’s mind, ultimately in the hope they eventually fully buy in. Influencer marketing includes an influencer, someone in your niche with credibility, who promotes a product to their targeted audience for a fee. The chances of receiving recognition or sales are higher because there is trust with the influencer and their fans. Affiliate marketing involves a third party that creates a sale on your behalf, in exchange for a commission/percentage of the sale. Finally, email marketing is when visitors of your website subscribe to an email list and are periodically sent promotions of your products/services.
What is Offline Marketing?
Offline marketing refers to any type of marketing that does not involve the previously discussed online marketing. In other words, when we speak about marketing via media channels that are not connected to the World Wide Web, we mean offline marketing. Offline marketing strategies use offline media channels to build awareness of a company’s products.
Offline marketing strategies include television, radio, newspapers, flyers, posters, and more. None of these require the internet. This is the traditional way of marketing and it can still be highly effective to this day.
Online Marketing vs Offline Marketing – What are the differences?
There are several aspects to take into account when comparing online marketing vs offline marketing, including cost, level of exposure, convenience, and personalization. Starting with cost; online marketing tends to be significantly cheaper than offline because of all the expenses that accompany physical delivery of marketing messages. For instance, reserving advertisement space/time on television and newspaper is much more expensive than delivering ads online via social media. However, the major difference in costs shows up when it comes to targeting: while the whole campaign may cost the same, the costs per lead are significantly cheaper in online marketing. The reason is that ads can be precisely targeted to your desired audience, without wasting money on people that are not even interested in your ad. Advertisements can target very specific categories of people, ultimately capturing leads that turn into sales. The result is that you only pay for actual leads that you want. Offline marketing simply does not have these benefits because the information is not available at such a large scale.
Next is exposure. You can reach all over the world with online marketing, and that is very difficult with offline marketing. With the click of a button, a customer can purchase a product or service across the globe. When it comes to exposure in online marketing vs offline marketing, online has maximum reach.
Offline Marketing – is it only a remnant of the past?
The central question that we want to answer is whether online marketing is the new default strategy, or whether offline marketing still has a justified reason to exist. Considering the advantages of online marketing, it is easy to say that it appears better in every way – and is the better choice for any business. However, while the impact of the internet on marketing is undeniable, it may be exaggerated. For instance, according to Internet World Stats, 78 percent of the population in the U.S is online. This leaves nearly 70 million Americans who can’t be reached through online marketing efforts at all! The fact that some user groups can be reached only via offline channels is only one of the many reasons why many companies still regard offline channels as a fundamental aspect of their marketing mix.
Another reason is that it really depends on the message whether online marketing or offline marketing is the better channel. For some messages, for instance for those that are highly local, offline billboards might just be more visible than ads on social media.
Finally, it may depend on the scale of the company whether online marketing is better than offline marketing. A local bakery may be better served with some offline marketing efforts than with online marketing.
All in all, it clearly depends on the nature and size of the business, its target group and the intended message whether online marketing or offline marketing is the better choice. It is always beneficial to consider the similarities and differences regarding online marketing vs offline marketing before moving forward. Online marketing is gaining popularity and it will be the go-to strategy in the future, but there are still important uses for offline marketing.