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Utilizing Old-School Marketing Tactics in a Digital Age

Posted On: October 10, 2013

Just because something is old doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t still be useful. Sure, a lot of marketing methods that produces big results in 1993 won’t fit the bill in 2013. (For example, good luck getting much ROI out of a newspaper ad or the Yellow Pages these days.)

However, some of the old ways still hold up today — they just need a bit of a modern polish. Here are a few ways you can use the old school to your advantage with just a bit of new school shine.

Promote your service or product at an event like a conference:
The old-school approach was to rent a booth, put up a sign, and hope someone would wander by and chat with you about what you offer. Heck, a lot of businesses still do this, but there’s a way to do it better.

To update this idea, try providing a service. Bring in some relaxing chairs. Give out water and/or snacks. Provide chargers and electricity for people to charge their phones and tablets. (Almost all the newer Android and iOS devices have fairly universal chargers.)

Instead of pitching passersby on your product, you’re providing a relaxing oasis. While they’re there, they’ll mostly likely ask what you’re all about, and that’s a perfect opportunity to break it down for them.

Put up a huge sign:
That’s pretty much where the old-school approach started and ended. Hey, look at this huge sign! This is something! You should check it out! There might be a phone number or a Web address on there, but unless someone takes a picture and makes a point to check it out later, you’re not getting much interactivity there.

To modernize this marketing tool, add a QR code to your sign. Smartphones can easily scan QR codes, which immediately direct the phone to your website, landing page, app, promotion — whatever.

Blast out a direct mail:
Direct mail has often been used to promote an event, but it’s not a very surgical tool in its typical use.

Is it really beneficial to advise everyone in the neighborhood that you’re having an event? How many of those recipients will actually be interested, and how many of those will actually attend? The percentage typically is very small.

For a modern spin, focus on email invites that are carefully segmented toward people who live in the area and will be interested in checking out your event.
As with any email promotion, you should only be emailing people who have opted in originally. Segment your invites whenever possible, creating differentiated messaging for leads and current customers, for example.

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