By Kenny Kline
The hottest trends in marketing today look very different than they did a decade (or several) ago. From influencer marketing to mobile video, chatbots, and integration with the Internet of Things, today’s marketing strategies tend to be digital, data-driven, and tech-savvy.
These trends are enough for many marketing “gurus” to declare old-school marketing techniques as good as dead. That’s an attitude that makes for great headlines, but it’s also tantamount to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. While some strategies may indeed have gone by the wayside (telemarketing, anyone?), there’s still a place for traditional approaches at the marketing table. Here are four supposedly “outdated” marketing strategies that continue to be worth your time today.
Attending networking events
Sure, professional conferences, seminars, trade shows, and other networking events may not be the most thrilling way to spend your time. But they’re still an effective means of making meaningful connections and getting the word out about your company.
If there are no notable networking events in your locality or industry, then it may be time to start one. Consider sponsoring an event for local professionals or coordinating a seminar or course that will help get your name out and establish you as an authority in your field. Even if it feels tedious at times, there’s no substitute for making in-person connections and having your brand recognized at industry events.
Connecting with local publications
Sure, print media may not hold the clout it once did. But newspapers still get read, and they also have digital presences that help to reach a wider audience. Thus, it’s still important to get to know your friendly neighborhood reporters.
When it comes time to publicize a major business development or announcement, being in the good graces of local publications will make it that much easier to receive coverage. You can maximize the impact of this coverage by sharing it across your digital platforms, from email newsletters to social media posts.
Giving out promotional materials
From free social events to free consultations, to free gifts, promotional events and material giveaways can be a great way to attract people to your business. Because you’re not asking prospects for a commitment up front, it encourages them to interact with your brand with no strings attached. Make a good impression, and they’re likely to stick around to learn more about your offerings. Meanwhile, physical products circulate and continue to advertise on your behalf without you paying anything beyond the upfront cost.
Pairing up with other big-name brands in a complementary space (as in this collaboration between BarBend and USA Weightlifting) can help you maximize the impact of promotional materials. That’s because you can combine your audiences, giving both brands extra exposure to new potential customers.
Offering deals and discounts
From referral programs that give both the referrer and the referee a discount, to deals for brand advocates, to flash sales, to loyalty programs that provide participants with ongoing discounts on your products or services, pretty much everybody is attracted to deals. This may be especially true for millennials—one case study found more than 75 percent of millennial consumers both participate in loyalty rewards programs and are more likely to choose brands that offer these types of programs.
This is another marketing strategy that lends itself well to partnering with other brands. For example, you might offer members of your loyalty program discounts at the other brand, and vice versa.
These marketing strategies may not be as sexy as data-driven sales funnels, but they have been tried, tested, and found to be effective across industries. If your marketing is feeling a little stale, it may be time to get some inspiration from the old school.