57% of the global population (or 4.39 billion people) are internet users– a colossal number that’s only expected to grow each year.

It’s no surprise, then, that when the Digital Marketing Institute produced a report on some of the world's most influential brands, they found that 95% of those organisations have increased their digital marketing budget in recent years, and 9 in 10 marketers expect their digital marketing budget to continue to grow by 2020.

The Internet is undoubtedly one of the most efficient and effective ways to reach new customers – it’s instant, targeted and allows for real-time interaction with your brand.

But has diving headfirst into the world of digital marketing led us to overestimate its power? And have we ended up neglecting the vast potential of offline marketing as a result?

A billboard - an example of offline advertising.

What exactly is offline marketing?

According to Marketing-schools.org, “Given the Internet’s tremendous rise in popularity, today’s marketers refer to other media channels that aren’t connected to the World Wide Web as “offline.”

“Offline marketing strategies utilise offline media channels to create awareness of a company’s products and services.”

“These campaigns can include radio and print advertising – including billboards, signs and pamphlets – telemarketing, and television ads.”

Offline marketing, then, can encompass anything and everything that we might describe today as a more “traditional” marketing method.

The comeback kid?

Although most businesses nowadays opt to pour their advertising budget into social media and online ad space, last year it was reported that print display ad revenue for national UK newspapers had increased for the first time in seven years, reversing a 7-year trend of decline.

This comes as Forbes had reported on the latest findings in neuroscience research, which suggests that “paper-based content and ads offer special advantages in connecting with our brains,” particularly regarding brand recall and emotional impact.

Print display ad revenue - for example in magazines - has seen an increase recently.

This trend of looking back to offline marketing methods seems to represent a reaction towards the ever-increasing digitisation of our lives, reinstating the advantages of prioritising real-world, human-based interactions.

A multi-channel approach

Industry-leading websites like Marketing Week have recently suggested that, whilst digital marketing should still play a central role in your marketing strategy, small and medium-sized companies in particular could greatly benefit from adopting traditional marketing techniques to further their business.

Although Forbes contributor Roger Dooley confirms that, “[..] we certainly aren't going to see a massive switch back to paper content, […]” he believes that “[…] rather than an all-digital world, it appears that a multi-channel approach that leverages the unique benefits of paper with the convenience and accessibility of digital will perform best.”

What about reaching international customers?

Yes, online marketing may allow you to track your click-through rate and give you access to the kind of analytics that marketers couldn’t have dreamed of 20 years ago, but it would be a mistake to think that this automatically produces a return on investment, especially on an international level.

With the right professional language support, traditional marketing and advertising channels can work for a global, multilingual audience too.

Trade shows, for example, are an incredible way to meet potential distributors and customer face-to-face, particularly when first attempting to break into a foreign market. And don’t let language barriers be an issue – investing in professional language services, such as interpreting or translation of your marketing materials, will allow you to hit the ground running at any event.

Which marketing method is best?

As Dooley stated, it seems that a multi-channel approach that leverages the unique benefits of both online and offline marketing will produce the best results.

The key thing is to discover which type of marketing and advertising works for your particular business – you may surprised.

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