There’s been an awakening in how effectively social media can be used to engage with consumers and stay connected with them after they’ve gone through the “awareness” phase through offline marketing that many businesses still spend massive parts of their budgets on. It seems almost everywhere I look, brands are connecting their online and offline efforts well really implementing the concept of “Social CRM”.
It’s understandable that you can’t reach everyone online and traditional advertising and marketing channels like television, newspapers, magazines, events and more are still going to be a part of the marketing mix especially in the Indian context where the web market is still growing but not all-inclusive. However, brands are realizing that the offline channels mentioned above are strong in creating awareness, but then a lot of the research, comparison, deliberation and final decisions are made after moving online and the two need to work seamlessly together to get results.
Moreover, offline marketing is still considerably more expensive and buys less attention time with consumers so how do you keep them in the loop after they’ve heard about you?
The 2012 Delhi Auto Expo is a classic example of an offline marketing channel that brings over a 1000 automobile manufacturers and brands together. They showcase their cars, unveil new launches, measure customer reactions and interact. Needless to say, it doesn’t come cheap and not every consumer that brands connected with that day are going to make an instant decision and become customers at the location itself. However this year, you will notice many manufacturers and brands have prominently displayed their social media locations asking consumers that have visited their stalls to go ahead and connect with them on their Facebook page, join their online communities or follow them on Twitter.
This enables them to stay engaged with those consumers much after the event is over and the tents are packed away, remaining connected with them and potentially see more of them turn customers at a much later date.
I passed by a large billboard for a new shopping mall that’s opened not too far away. Unlike some hoardings which try to cram as much of a message into space one gets a few seconds to look at most while driving by, this one had the mall and invited passers by to come find out more about what they had in store directing them to join their Facebook page. Almost literally what you could remember in those moments when you glance at something and drive by.
Awareness through the billboard and engagement via social media. A perfect combination.