As we all know, the world changed in March 2020.
In the uncertainty of the lockdowns, many traditional in-person marketing methods were not viable. Other traditional in-person marketing opportunities, like trade shows for the B2B market, went virtual.
Most brands quickly switched focus to adopt a near-all-digital approach, which made sense since people were online much more frequently. This had been the case until recently.
Today, there is optimism that the worst of the pandemic is behind us. While digital marketing is always going to play a major role, the time has come for brands to reintegrate physical marketing into their campaigns.
There are many opportunities for companies to return to their physical space, though these will depend on factors like the target audience (B2B or B2C) or industry (goods or services). In this article, we’ll explore some different in-person marketing methods.
Guerilla marketing is something most established brands don’t typically embrace.
However, it can be very effective. Guerilla marketing is about interacting with people in a surprising or unconventional way that could lead to your brand message going viral on social media.
The beauty of it is that if your efforts go viral, you can reach thousands with little effort on your part. This type of marketing is hyper-localized but must be well-timed to surprise the targeted customer when they least expect it. Some guerilla marketing examples include colorful chalk drawings on streets or sidewalks that grab attention or projecting images on the side of buildings at night.
While guerilla marketing can be affordable, it is not without its risks. Take for example what happened to a pair of marketers in the Boston area in 2007. They were looking to build attention for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie by placing battery-powered LED placards throughout the city and surrounding area. Unfortunately, people mistook these lights for improvised explosive devices which caused some panic in the area and resulted in a police investigation. Tread carefully!
Stickers are highly effective marketing tools. Brands can create different types and styles to help promote their products.
Stickers can be included in purchases or handed out at trade shows. Best of all, they can be placed literally anywhere. They could be placed on the back of a street sign, sidewalk, lamp post, benches, or the bumpers of vehicles. If enough of these stickers are spread across an area, the constant exposure could result in people contacting the company as possible new leads.
Stickers are an affordable marketing tool because today’s technologies allow companies to print in various formats and styles in the quantity they require. They can be die-cut on durable, weather-resistant vinyl, come in all shapes and sizes, and can be removed without leaving a sticky residue or damaging property. However, care must be taken when plastering public areas because people can be charged with vandalism if stickers are placed on private property.
In-store or point-of-sale (POS) marketing
Businesses can build awareness of special offers, events, sales, or new or upcoming products through a creative window display, signage, stickers, posters, videos, or merchandise displays.
Point-of-sale (POS) marketing attempts to get the customer to purchase additional products or services they were not originally planning to buy. For a quick-service restaurant, it could be a side dish or dessert. A clothing retailer could suggest accessories like socks or gloves, a bookstore could push items like magazines or bookmarks, and an electronics retailer can offer gift cards or extended warranties.
POS marketing is designed to appeal to impulse buying. But even if an item isn’t purchased, the customer can engage with the brand and see messaging or a call to action to visit websites or return for upcoming sales.
The first billboards appeared in the 1830s, and nearly 200 years later, they are still a very effective and popular advertising format. However, when the first lockdowns started, brands that paid for a billboard on the side of a busy road may have seen little return on that investment.
This type of marketing works best when it is constantly seen by people every day during a campaign. Billboard marketing is ripe for a return.
People can find billboards on benches, on bus shelters, and even on the bus themselves. They are a phenomenal tool to build brand awareness and help make purchasing decisions. Small businesses or major corporations can use billboards to promote products and services. Companies can buy space at one location or across a wider area, depending on the size and scope of their marketing plan.
Wrapping it up
The world is slowly returning to a life that’s closer to the pre-pandemic norm. This gives brands a chance to return to traditional marketing methods and engage people physically.
There are some advantages to this because, unlike digital marketing, there are no ad blockers or pop-up ads that block out content and annoy users. A strong physical and digital marketing strategy can pay significant dividends to businesses and brands, regardless of size or location. Best of all, it does not have to be expensive or complicated to be effective.
Guest Author: Andrew Witkin is the founder and CEO of StickerYou, a global eCommerce leader in custom-printed, die-cut products that empower consumers and businesses to create high-quality materials for personal expression, marketing, and packaging.