Here is what got me thinking about this.
I was on the beautiful roadway of I-94 (ever heard of it?) and as I drove down the road, I started to notice all the billboards still up and rocking. Now one of these billboards has always caught my eye – It is for another website and digital marketing company in the area.
Now putting the irony of a company that builds websites having a billboard on the side of the freeway aside, it really made me take a step and think about other types of “old school” marketing that are out there and if they are still valuable – Especially in our little area of SE Wisconsin. So, let’s go down memory lane:
Let’s Talk About Old School Marketing
Alright since I mentioned this above, I should probably go into a little bit more detail. Billboards became popular as vehicle started to hit the roadways in mass and people started to travel further than ever before. Today, they are still used for a variety of reasons and are still very common on the roadways. I want to make sure I am clear here, I am actually pro billboard, but only for a very specific group of businesses – The ones that are consumer companies right off the freeway. Bars, restaurants and attractions are prime for billboards. I personally have found many great restaurants while traveling thanks to billboards, but let’s be honest with ourselves, our eyes aren’t paying as much attention to signs and billboards as we might like to admit while driving.
While we are on the topic, let’s talk about another common marketing tactic that most of us hear every single day while in our cars, radio ads. Now, Wisconsin is interesting because we actually still have some of the highest listenership of typical radio out of almost anywhere in the country, Why? Not sure, but we do. However, as the radio listeners get older and podcasts and streaming services continue to grow in popularity, radio advertising will soon become obsolete – Very similar to how the TV commercial is in trouble.
Out of anything I talk about in this blog post, newspapers are by far and away my least favorite form of “old school” advertising. You want to throw up a billboard, fine. You want to run a radio commercial, sure. But please, whatever you do, do not waste you precious time and money on a newspaper ad. Subscriptions to print newspapers are dropping every single day and it is only a matter of time before they are nonexistent. While subscriptions have plummeted, advertising costs have somehow grown and it can now cost you hundreds of dollars to put in ad into a local newspaper. Instead, you could be using that same money and time to create an amazing web experience and run some highly targeted Facebook ads that will be incredibly more effective and take a lot less time.
I bet you think you know what I am about to say about this, well think again! While the days of sending mailers and coupons to thousands of people might be over, you can still definitely use targeted direct mail to your advantage. Instead of sending a piece of paper, sending a cool item or gift can make a real impact of someone. As long as you are very strategic and thoughtful about what you are sending and who you are sending it to, you can stand out from the rest of your competitors. The fact is, people still like to get mail, especially when it isn’t another bill or piece of paper.
Just because something is old school doesn’t necessarily mean that it doesn’t work. Think about the world of music. Classic songs by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Michael Jackson still fill the airways, but the music that was popular then is certainly not the mainstream anymore. Marketing is no different . What used to be popular and mainstream has to change because of the new technology we have at our disposal, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t throw it back to some classic marketing strategies from time to time.