There is no brick-and-mortar. There is no ecommerce. Integrated campaigns have been on the rise in recent years and while some businesses may identify as online or offline, when it comes to marketing, it’s likely their methods run cross-platform.
While it’s most natural for an ecommerce company to promote via social media, and an offline store to market at local events or through direct mail, more often than not the lines are blurred.
In-store promotions no longer need to be planned in advance, but can be triggered in reaction to uncharacteristically low traffic and notify customers via social media, an app or email.
“Today, with real-time monitoring and alerts, in-store analytics can make marketing and management aware of low traffic stores immediately,” says Fernandez Guajardo. “And with social media and mobile access to information right at the shoppers’ fingertips, a marketing campaign can be triggered instantly.”
Mashable took a look at how brands bridge online and offline presence and what small businesses can learn from these examples…
Ecommerce and offline promotion
Ordering an article of clothing online, with no sense to the feel of fabric or quality of stitching, is daunting — and no less when it’s a high-priced item such as a suit. Indochino sells custom-tailored suits to men online and offers a program called Traveling Tailor so customers are able to get measurements taken, experience fabrics and discuss other customizations with a professional. Similarly, Blurb, which prints self-published books on quality materials, has done a pop-up shop along with training workshops and events — something sure to introduce new prospects to its service and provide first-hand experience with a product with qualities difficult to portray online.
Storefront is a company which pairs desirable retail spaces with brands, often ecommerce, looking for a temporary solution to market goods in real life. It’s been used by Zipcar, artisan chocolate company Cocotutti and StoreEnvy, to name a few.
Even though Zipcar didn’t use its physical presence to hock a physical good, it offered a deal to consumers who visited the pop-up, which provides a clear conversion rate to measure the ROI of the promotion.
In each of these examples, marketing promotions that took place in real life either provided a high-touch interaction with the product or an opportunity to build a relationship with the consumer.
Brick and mortar, and online promotion
A picture is worth a thousand words — and one barbershop found a simple blog to be just the thing to get the word out about its classic services. Danburry Barber, located in Provo, Utah, posts photos daily of clients and garnered press attention both locally and beyond. Similarly, barber Clark Walker used Instagram for personal branding which helped him land a job at Fellow Barber in NYC.
Diet Coke launched a campaign, The Heart Truth, to raise awareness for heart health for women, with the hashtag #showyourheart prominently featured on packaging. Responses on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag were entered into a contest.
The importance of using physical goods to point to a digital presence is summed up as such: “If you’re handing someone a printed surface of any kind and there’s no website address attached to it, what are you thinking?” writes Chris Brogan.
But similarly, making a digital record of your offline presence, as Danburry Barber illustrated, serves to bridge customers back.
Campaigns that span online and off
Movember promoted heavily with an online campaign but also threw seven galas across the country. Videos from the parties were then embedded in email promotions. Movable Ink, which was behind the strategy, noted its client increased mobile app downloads by 300%, generated huge social buzz and the result was the brand’s best year ever in terms of “reactivation” (50%) — getting “Mo Bros” to become repeat supporters.
For Coolhaus, an ice cream company most known for its food truck for hire for parties in five cities, also sells its product online, at Whole Foods and flagship locations in L.A. Recently, the brand created a custom ice cream sandwich called the “Killer Combo” to celebrate the TV show Dexter in its final season. The treat was free and lured customers to stores around the country as well as Coolhaus’ website. On top of promotions, the brand boasts an active Instagram presence filled with food porn smartly relevant to current events.
Social media offers a stellar feedback loop for marketing campaigns. Each IRL event should be a trigger for social media posts by both the brand and consumers, and the resulting social media posts can advertise for the next event. Creating a hub, either on your own website, a social media page or RebelMouse, can keep all users in the loop.