Who Said Offline Advertising is Dead?

Posted on April 19, 2013 by

Is it realistic to think that offline marketing has been driving sales long for thousands of years and all that would disappear when online marketing comes along? In fairness, online marketing is good, in fact, it’s better than good because it’s scientific and you can measure exact return on investment for the first time since the advertising adorned a shop front.

I’m a great believer in internet marketing, but I’m also a believer in proven methods honed over long periods of time. I saw a preserved, 2,000-year-old advert on a recent visit to Herculaneum near Pompeii and it started me thinking about how some of my clients market their businesses.

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After becoming wrapped up in the online race trying to compete for attention on behalf of clients, I sat back and considered the benefits of focussing on a specific target audience offline in the same way as I consistently target readers and visitors online. I suspect many people reading this are guilty of neglecting areas of marketing that have huge potential. Like those who target Google and pay no attention to Bing. It’s important to remember that not all customers are accessible by the same medium.

Sponsorship and Brand Building

Working for a national newspaper (Well it was national in Wales) many years ago, I realised sponsorship sold well for feature publications. Every time we had a Six Nations Rugby Tournament, it was a race to sell the feature sponsorship because it was the biggest ticket and had the most commission. There are a select number of businesses that are keen to splash out the high-than-average spend and it was always competitive, but it was an easier than usual sale if you found the right customer.

The sponsor would feature on the front and back cover as well as every page on match day programmes as well as the centre pages of the newspaper. With such an interest in the tournament, it was a sure fire way to position a business in very favourable position for the duration of the tournament, but although the programmes were kept at the back of draws, they were unlikely to see the light of day after the tournament end.

What was the Value of Sponsorship?

The one time I made the sponsorship sale was to an Audi main dealer through the agency they used for their marketing. The agency rep told me there was much more value in the sponsorship than the six or so weeks of the tournament. The customer would have publications, banners and displayed in their showrooms for the following year and it gave the business kudos and a very useful introduction topic for any rugby fans that came on the forecourt. People buy from people and if we like the same things, we are more likely to feel at ease.

Sponsoring the publications also elevated the car dealer’s status from local showroom to someone who operated on a national scale. After sales, security and trust are some of the connotations associated with a company of stature and that is what they bought with their sponsorship. Building brands at its simplest. RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) were the tournament sponsors, but what does it say to the customers when an Audi dealership features alongside these huge names in business?

Where Can your Business Find Similar Opportunities?

You may not have the same opportunity every day of the week, but you can build your brand on any scale. Sponsoring two local derby teams for a grudge football match each year will enable you to name a trophy after your business and benefit from year-round publicity at your business premises. If you want to gain more publicity, why not sponsor a tournament with the strongest teams from North, South, East and West playing for the trophy. By simply inviting local press from each area or at the very least sending out press releases about the tournament with Captain’s interviews included, you can gain a lot of ground for the cost of coach hire, trophies and some beer money behind the bar. The important thing to remember is that everything is scalable.

Gareth Shearan has been in advertising for more than fifteen years and is a strong believer in brand building. As well as online marketing, he uses everything from instant awnings for sponsorship events through to corporate gifts to promote his client’s businesses.