Is there a difference between online and offline marketing? Do they really work better together?
This question was brought up when I received a lovely email from a reader who wrote:
“I took a copy of your book with me on vacation. It’s so good! I’d love more sections on online stuff though.”
I have to admit, when I was writing the book – I never envisioned it would serve as light beach reading material.
This question illustrates a common misconception that online and offline marketing are entirely different creatures. They’re not. In fact, online and offline marketing work better together.
Let’s begin with the basics:
Online marketing is the process of using internet-based channels to promote products or services. Offline marketing is be done through traditional advertising, such as billboards, TV commercials, and radio ads.
Online and offline marketing are marketing TACTICS not marketing STRATEGY.
Beyond the Niche covers what you need to do BEFORE you begin engaging in any marketing tactics. These are the basics you need to create effective advertising messages. Once you have a sound marketing strategy in place, the online and offline marketing are just tactics.
Once you’ve mastered the steps, you can perform the same dance routine to a wide variety of music. All you have to do is recognize the beat.
Of course there are big differences between online and offline marketing. In traditional media, the beat doesn’t change dramatically. On the other hand, the beat is fast, furious and constantly changing when it comes to online marketing. In 2006, when I wrote Beyond the Niche, MySpace was THE social network. Meanwhile, Facebook restricted membership to college students with an .edu email address. It took less than 5 years for that to dramatically change.
The online marketing connection points that worked in 2005 (eg. MySpace) were different in 2010 (Facebook).
Marketing Strategy vs Tactics
Beyond the Niche does mention online marketing specifically. It addresses how important it is to choose a niche market. Once you’ve chosen your niche market, then it the time to create a marketing message. A niche marketing strategy can be as simple as “appeals to young adults age 18-24.” Social media marketing is a marketing tactic.
In 2006, one way to implement your online marketing tactic was to use MySpace. In 2010, you needed to use Facebook. Even though the online landscape had changed dramatically, the marketing strategy and tactics did not. What changed dramatically was where you needed to go to make the connection.
Your marketing strategy should includes the niche market you’re targeting. The marketing tactics are ways you’ll connect with your target audience. Online marketing and advertising offer millions of options for connecting with your tightly targeted audience. If you haven’t identified your niche market, the options will be overwhelming.
Edited for content on 5.12.2022