Online and Offline marketing—Friends or Foes?

BrandTruth’s topical take on the world of marketing
September 3, 2021

Nobody in their right mind would make an expensive, perhaps even a life-changing purchase decision without touching, feeling, experiencing the product in three dimensions at the actual bricks-and-mortar point of sale, right? Who would buy a large-screen television, a new computer, living-room set, car—or yes, even a new home—without seeing the real McCoy in person?

The numbers show that nobody with a modicum of understanding would. According to Statista, the global number one business data platform, as of 2019 the total retail ecommerce market value was 578 billion, while the total retail trade value was 5.27 trillion. So, after doing the math, the ecommerce slice of the pie is only slightly smaller than ten percent—that's not really a slice, it's more like a sliver—but is it really? Do you go online or offline with your marketing efforts? Which strategy best helps a famous brand company reach consumers?

Transaction, a top ecommerce agency in Cleveland, Ohio, claims 81% of shoppers begin their shopping experience online—researching, cross-referencing, price checking. And as for life's biggest purchase—the home—the National Association of Realtors reports staggering online numbers: 98% of millennials begin their search online; 89% of baby boomers start the process there—even 72% of the silent generation is being heard in the digital space when it comes to deciding on where to put out that new welcome mat.

Yes, in the context of 5.27 trillion, 578 billion doesn't seem like so much, but it's all a matter of context. Next to the nine-foot-nine-inch warrior Goliath, shepherd boy David was nothing more than a stick—yet David defeated Goliath with a single stone from a mere slingshot.

So what's the point? The offline market maybe bigger, but the online market is anything but diminutive, or weaker. Consider the fact that there are over 4.6 billion internet users out there—how many are making purchase decisions on their phones, laptops and iPads every day?

Simply put, the online and offline marketing worlds need to become friends, not foes. It should be an I scratch your back you scratch mine relationship. When it comes to the shopping experience, your brand essence needs to encompass both the digital and the physical worlds.

If the numbers above don't already point to how well the two are joined at the hip, here are some more from eMarketer: 78% of U.S. customers have made in-store purchase decisions after browsing online; 72% of U.S. customers have purchased online after experiencing products in-store.

So consider that Facebook ad to drive traffic to the local retailer for a complimentary rewards membership. Perhaps refer that in-store customer to your website for exclusive upgrades—or use SEO terms to drive traffic to YouTube videos celebrating your grand-opening extravaganza. Maybe offer QR codes customers can scan on their phone to receive additional perks on the day of the big event—could one be a raffle entry for your flagship television, sports coupe, or the six-bedroom dream home with swimming pool? It’s all possible—just make sure your image, voice and expression are authentic and consistent start to finish.

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