Retro Marketing: How To Stand Out With Traditional Marketing Methods

The rise of digital marketing resulted in many traditional marketing methods becoming less popular, and it’s easy to see why marketers stopped using them. Digital marketing proved to be cheaper and simpler in many cases – and until recently more effective.

The problem with digital marketing nowadays is that everyone is doing it. There are more websites and more ads and more marketing emails than ever before. Not only is competition more fierce, but online users have become more accustomed to tuning out these marketing methods.

This is why companies are now returning to traditional marketing methods. With less people engaging in these methods, they have become an easier way to cut through the noise. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t still invest in digital marketing – an online presence is still important. However, digital marketing should no longer be seen as a replacement for traditional marketing methods.  Our aim as marketers is to be the one that stands out, that knows our audience so well that they pick us out from the crowd, and the only way we can do that is by conducting extensive customer research and a strong social media marketing strategy.

Just which old marketing methods should you revive? This post takes a look at a few different examples.

Billboards and posters

A well-placed, well-designed billboard or poster will grab people’s attention – and hopefully convert a few more customers. A number of companies have started launching creative billboard and poster campaigns. A prime example is Grind Coffee, who recently launched a tiny billboard campaign to highlight their tiny environmental impact. 

Other companies have found ways to incorporate tech. 3D digital billboards are becoming more common and can give the illusion of people, creatures or objects coming out of the screen. A lot of companies have also started producing billboards and posters with QR codes that lead to a website, or even AR features that can be viewed using an app.

While it’s true that less people are looking at posters/billboards nowadays and more people are looking at their phones, there are still many locations where you can grab people’s attention. Drivers still have their eyes up, making areas with slow moving traffic an effective place to put a billboard or poster. In fact, places where people sit or stand waiting are ideal for billboards and posters. By thinking about your demographic and where they hang out, you can target your billboards and posters strategically.

Human billboards and dress-up mascots

In-person sales can seem a little invasive to many people. But there are ways in which you can make it less invasive or more fun for consumers. One way of doing this is to consider human billboards and dress-up brand mascots.

While some stores still hire human billboards or dress-up mascots, it has become a less common appearance. Now could be the time to start re-employing these types of sales reps – particularly in pedestrianised areas with a lot of passers-by. Dress-up mascots tend to be best suited to companies aimed at kids. With many companies like McDonalds retiring their mascots, it could be a good time to fill the gap. 

Brochures and catalogues

Websites and apps have replaced most brochures and catalogues. However, some companies are starting to revive this form of print marketing.  Booklet printing is much cheaper than it used to be, and a rise in sustainable forestry and paper recycling has made it much greener. Amazon, Bonobos and Wayfair are just some of the companies that have started reprinting catalogues in recent years. 

Posting brochures and catalogues through people’s doors could be an effective marketing strategy because a) more people are working from home and spending more time at home, and b) because people are receiving less physical mail, making it easier to stand out. Just make sure to target addresses of people that are likely to be your audience rather than posting them through any door.

Physical newsletters and flyers

People’s inboxes are fuller than ever. Most cold emails go straight to spam or are simply ignored. At the same time people are receiving less physical mail. Could now be the perfect time to return to physical newsletters and flyers?

Newsletters and flyers coupled with flyer delivery services, can ensure targeted distribution to your ideal audience, maximizing the impact of your message. They are even cheaper to produce than brochures and catalogues. They can also use a level of digital integration – QR codes can be added to direct people to websites or social media pages for more information. 

Newspaper/magazine adverts

Fewer people read newspapers and magazines. But they can still be a valuable place to put adverts. Why? Because the people who still buy magazines and newspapers nowadays have disposable income to spend and are more invested in the contents than readers in previous generations.

Take gardening magazines and car magazines as an example. In the past, those with a casual interest may have bought these magazines. Nowadays, the readership is less but it tends to only be enthusiasts. This makes specialist magazines a great medium for targeting niche demographics. 

Business cards

Business cards are still a great way to exchange contact details and business information when meeting a potential customer or potentially useful connection in person. Modern business cards can also contain things like email addresses or QR codes leading to websites. All in all, they’re a great form of traditional marketing that can still be very effective.

Printing off business cards is relatively cheap. If you want to stand out, think about how you can make the design look different. Vintage business card designs could be a great way to do this. Alternatively, you could look into glossy cards. This Forbes webpage offers a few examples of creative business card designs for inspiration. 

Radio advertising

While less people are listening to the radio and more people are listening to podcasts, radio stations still attract a lot of listeners. A lot of people still listen to radio in the car, and a lot of workplaces still have a radio on. Radio adverts are unskippable, and unlike adverts on platforms like Spotify they can be blocked out by premium users.

This makes radio adverts worth the investment. They tend to be better suited to a more general audience than other adverts as they are harder to fine-tune. That said, you may be able to pay to have them playing during certain times or during certain shows that may appeal more to your key target demographic. 

Photo by Thirdman at Pexels

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