Entrepreneurship · Startups

Are offline ads dead?

Maria Garnier Operations Coordinator en Socialatom Group

September 16th, 2016

These ads used to be the way to go in the past and a powerful way to acquire new customers. They include TV spots, radio commercials, billboards, infomercials, newspaper and magazine ads, flyers and local advertisements. Are they all dead and should we focus mainly on driving awareness online?

Tom Cunniff Founder at Cunniff Consulting, B2B Brand Consultancy

September 16th, 2016

  1. In the entire history of media, no medium ever "dies". Instead, they wax and wane in relevance.
  2. As Chris and Chuck have already said, the relevance of each medium depends entirely on who your customer is and what your offering is.
  3. A good rule of thumb: there is no good rule of thumb :-)

Niland Mortimer Chief Marketing Office for Hire at Performance Marketing and Branding

September 16th, 2016

As others have written, the case for online vs offline is entirely dependent on the target audience and product category.  Both are relevant, often in combination.  Some categories such as cosmetics and skincare depend heavily on appearing in the bibles of the trade (as those publications depend on their brands.) Niche market magazines catering to specialized audiences continue to prosper for that reason,while general interest pubs struggle or vanish. For certain locally based products, a bus shelter ad may be 50x more effective than an online ad. For an online gaming product, stay with online promotion. Go where your audience is.
As for the comment about watching out for ad agencies, few if any agencies today bill based on media commissions.  The old 15% commission rate system has been dead for 25 years. Agency fees are generally a calculation of man-power based billable hours.

Chris Gorges Managing Director, Infinia Group // Founder, Biddlist

September 16th, 2016

Totally, 100% depends on your target customer.

Snapchat would've been poorly served by informercials and radio commercials for user growth.

A product enabling safety for the elderly? Fire up the infomercials.

Scott Bundren Marketing Director at 3 Cents Media

September 16th, 2016

Online ads are much cheaper to run, test, and get feedback on. For most online companies, all they need is online marketing, especially in the beginning. Even for larger companies, its often more effective to start with simple online campaigns, track them carefully, then later take the ideas learned and apply to off-line campaigns as well.

Beware of many ad agencies though...most of them earn a % of spend as a commission, which does not align motivations well. You really need to know exactly what you need out of campaigns, ideally trackable metrics, and need to set those expectations and goals from the beginning.

Rich LeFurgy Online Advertising Advisor

September 16th, 2016

Sorry but this premise is as silly as "are online ads dead?". Especially as it applies to building awareness, the near future holds for the continued merging of digital and offline media. But until media companies can measure and target their audiences across devices and user locations, traditional media still has its strengths. TV is still the gold standard for immediate reach, something that online takes a while to build. Radio and outdoor still reach people out of home. Newspapers and fliers are closer to the dodo bird on a relative basis. Yes mobile and social are very powerful, they are still part of the media mix alongside traditional.

K. Robbins Head Moose at Moose WorldWide Digital

September 16th, 2016

All excellent responses.

Before you ask this question you need to determine how your customers enter the marketing funnel.  If they start at google/bing then yes, traditional media is probably not going to work as well as online.

Cameron Carey Manage Energy for Efficiency and Savings -Founder, President, CEO at Sustainable Energy Solutions, Inc.

September 16th, 2016

Does media choice for our sales words and graphics depend a bit on the depth and longevity of the relationship needed?

Mateo Aviles Business Development Consultant

September 16th, 2016

It depends on your service or product and if you know your target market. If you do know your target market or have an idea who you want to target, then I would start with Facebook, it's very inexpensive compared to TV or radio and also way more focused and great immediate feedback. Don't forget to follow AIDA (first spot grabs Attention, second spot creates Interest, third spot Desire and the fourth one creates Action). So at least 4 posts a week on FB to the same group of people. If you go for radio spots then 4 per day minimum, or 4 TV adds a day, but again this will get very pricey. I would stay away from any type of print, cost per person reached is very high and ineffective these days were everything is digital, unless you are targeting senior citizens.   

Dr. Conway Licensed Clinical Psychologist; Owner of HELP Behavioral Health Services. In-home/In-facility/In-office/Video Visits

September 17th, 2016

It depends on the population you serve with your product or service.  One-third of our business serves the older adult population.  Many have never been trained to use the internet or they are not physically capable of using the internet.  Therefore, we use a variety of marketing tools such as print, direct mail, and online.

Nikki Johnson Seeking Technical Co-Founder / Developer for Edtech Startup

September 16th, 2016

Hi Maria!

I thoroughly agree with the sentiments above. Ultimately, it's a case-by-case judgment call.

One of the primary reasons that online ads have gained such a strong upper hand comes down to the issue of measurement. It tends to be so much easier to track individual users who convert through online advertising, right down to the specific link that delivered them. This data can then be sliced and diced to the nth degree to look for patterns, such as common demographic characteristics and behavioral commonalities; these insights can then be leveraged to further refine your targets and evolve your campaigns, for increasingly stronger results over time. We live in a truly amazing age, in terms of the capabilities now possible for online advertising.

However -- at the end of the day -- effective ad buys are all about finding ways of connecting with target audiences for your product or service. Is there a particular publication or media opportunity that aligns exceptionally well with the audience you're trying to reach, based upon its focus on a specific geographic area, demographic, and / or category of interest? Take a hard look at the cost of that medium, combined with the extent of commitment required for the ad buy and other factors, to determine whether it makes any sense to give it a shot, as part of your overall marketing mix.

Experimentation can yield surprising results sometimes. Try some different approaches; evaluate the results; and then concentrate additional investment on the channels that prove to work best.