We live in a world where consumers are bombarded with all sorts of advertising and marketing tactics— they see a billboard on the road, hear ads on the car stereo, and receive online promos on their mobile phones all at the same time. This is the reason why there is a need to close the gap between online and offline marketing initiatives. They have to be seamless, meeting at one common point. While it is a common practice among companies to have a separate team for online and offline efforts, the audience could not care less. Customers don’t just demand efficiency on both fronts, they expect it and guess what, they also deserve it.

nonlinear marketing

Photo from Flickr, Creative Commons

This is the era of convergence, much like a big connect-the-dots world. For example, television is an old medium but is made cooler and fresher with hashtags and Twitter follow invites flashed on the screen sometimes for the entire duration of a program. Newspaper and radio ads can’t live without social media invitations either. Converging online and offline marketing strategies is crucial because marketers have to deal with a very distracted audience. A research commissioned by Responsys showed that a typical consumer would spend an average of no more than 30 seconds in absorbing a digital marketing content at any given time. You could just imagine the time a mobile consumer spends looking at a highway billboard.

This is why 40% of consumers say that it is “very important” for companies to give the convenience of online and offline channels in their marketing campaigns, according to the Multichannel Retail survey by Econsultancy. It is a good thing that 83% of marketers “strongly agree” that marketing efforts must be connected, joined-up, and integrated to reach a wider audience and make a brand stronger.

Seamless marketing for a seamless brand

Your customers are everywhere and they are masters of multi-tasking —they listen to the radio while they connect online. You have to be where they are. If, let’s say, you decide to have a flash mob to promote a brand, you need to converge it with digital marketing efforts. Posting it on YouTube or sharing it on Facebook, for example, will make such a traditional publicity stunt reach a global audience.

See? They are interconnected, so it is best to create a non-stop marketing loop.

Best of both worlds: online and offline sales

Offering a first-rate user experience online or in-store will leave a lasting impression on customers. Customers have this habit of turning a company’s website into a “showroom” before they purchase its product offline. It could also be that they test a product in the store before they decide to buy it at a promo rate online. This is supported by a VisionCritical study of Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. All three social networks increased online and in-store purchases. Promoted and organic tweets, for example, boost in-store and offline sales by 20%.

Online traffic drives in-store traffic

If you are a local store depending on people who walk in to your store, you ask: why do I need to get online? According to an article in Propelrr, increasing in-store traffic now has a lot to do with social media metrics and how to convert them. This brand of nonlinear marketing means turning those “shares” and “likes” into actual in-store visits and revenue.

Do you still join trade shows? How do you get people to stop at your booth? Where your booth is located and your generosity with giveaways help, but how about boosting traffic all the more through online promotion? Going back to conversion, make an on-the-spot survey and ask customers where they learned about the trade show and consider giving special discounts to your social media followers.

Better for market tracking

Integrating online and offline marketing strategies will also make it easier for you to track where you are as a brand. Traditional marketing initiatives can be measured by using URL tags that will serve as redirects for your web analytics. On the other hand, social media metrics can be measured using several online tools. As a Gary Viray, in his article, 6 Lessons About Non-linear Content That SEOs Need To Know points out, a data tracking implementation is necessary so you can measure your multi-channel marketing campaigns against your business objectives and goals. If not, every data that comes your way is garbage.

When there is data tracking of your offline and online efforts, the better it is for market segmentation — you know where your market is and who they are. The next time you print a brochure, make sure to indicate your URLs and other web information to encourage those who found you offline to also follow you online. Targeting the audience you have in mind and potentially widening the demographics now become easier.

Volt in: make your audiences come together

Speaking of demographics, never assume that only the younger customers appreciate online content while the older ones are only lured by print and TV ads. Many marketers and advertisers operate in this manner. However, bear in mind that the gap is closer than it has ever been. A Pew Research reveals that 57% of adults aged 65 and up use the internet. With the convergence of marketing campaigns, the gap is closed even more and online and offline customers mix to form one single market.

Boost interest with in-synch marketing

Have you ever come across a billboard that teases with a mystery — a mystery that you can only solve online? Teaser campaigns are increasingly becoming more popular because they encourage consumers to engage further, usually in a different platform. This boosts interest in a brand. Back this up with an online content that answers questions, helps, and informs. In short, do not lure customers into disappointment. This is also a great opportunity to publish more related content to deliver your business goals.

Build better relationships

At the end of the day, companies aim at building a network of relationships, whether offline or online. By marrying the two, relationships are made stronger. Missing one or the other means missing the opportunity to build a bigger community of followers, tap new networks, and diversify your market. Remember that your network of followers is your biggest net worth.

Just as a brick and mortar business benefits from social media and online marketing campaigns, so does online businesses benefit from physical advertising and promotional events. Treat them as a nonlinear form of marketing — one common strategy rather than separate entities. By doing this, companies are able to offer a remarkable experience to customers regardless of who they are or their preferences. Convergence brings a big world closer.