Hybrid marketing, which refers to the hybrid between the styles of digital and traditional marketing campaigns, continues to become popular. Some of the best examples of hybrid marketing that can be found show the refreshing potential that this combo can offer to businesses.
In the current business landscape, it is almost without doubt that digital marketing is reaping in customers and profits for any adept enterprise.
However, traditional marketing is still far away from its demise, and in fact, still has a sturdy advantage on some marketing fronts—and this is something professionals have yet to let go of.
Why Consider Hybrid Marketing
Digital marketing is a subset of marketing focusing on online activities.
Shops that are mixing both traditional with digital marketing are commonly called brick-and-click stores, meaning that the company operates both an online store and an offline one.
Many small businesses struggle to effectively deploy an omnichannel approach to selling their goods and services, or they are simply not aware of the benefits that maintaining a few social media accounts and keeping their Google My Business page can bring to their organization.
According to kinsta.co, total worldwide commerce sales are estimated to be 3x higher than they were in 2015. It seems like a good reason to start as soon as possible.
For example, a new restaurant or a coffee shop in a small neighborhood with younger people actively browsing daily can leverage content marketing, social media interactions over Facebook and Twitter, engaging videos of cooking food or preparing cappuccinos on Instagram and Snapchat, offering discounts when participating in online polls or campaigns, creating a meme generator for the most viral campaign related to the venue.
The focus is on interacting with consumers online – both through inbound channels and outbound activities such as ads, webinars, podcasts.
The digital marketing strategy could be combined with other forms of marketing such as radio or TV appearances. Moreover, the new business can market their products with brochures or outdoor banners, fancy branded cups and uniforms for employees, swag for the most active visitors, paying students to interact with visitors in the area and more.
A brand investing in digital marketing is eager to interact with its audience through different channels. Collecting emails and running email campaigns is one popular and effective approach for various companies. Investing in SEO and outstanding content marketing can increase organic exposure for a business when searching online. Promoting niche landing pages can attract different groups of people – customers, partners, vendors, investors.
Businesses offering digital services and products rely heavily on online marketing since this resonates with their audience. However, they can also invest in traditional (or offline) marketing. Local shops or businesses that do not depend on online presence can also benefit from digital marketing services whenever their target audience is active online and can interact with their content, interact with their brand representatives, and purchase their products and services.
Even if a business transaction within your company always ends up with a face to face meeting, the initial contact could be an online search or a mention on social media. Some good examples are cafes or restaurants found in catalogs or while browsing Yelp, plumbers available on social media, car alarm experts recording security and technology videos on YouTube.
Traditional marketing, especially its early forms in advertising, used to be quite deep and ominous for some time. It strangely resembled political debates and conversations concerning the broad humanity, with a language that assumes a different audience.
And sure, some of those campaigns work.
They also work for certain brands, and in given situations — such as keynote talks and product presentations aiming to impress and excite in a way.
But then think about all the parody around startups over the past couple of decades.
- We reinvent the connectivity!
- Reimagining the user experience!
- A passion for democratic writing!
- Bleeding edge customer journey!
- Our product is crushing it in B2B!
- Disruptive networking model for digital nomads!
- A groundbreaking stealth mode startup pre-revenue!
We’ve heard them time and time again, none of them describing a factual detail or a particular advantage.
You can also relate to click-bait and the way ad-driven media is generating views.
Selling features directly is not the way to go in 2018 and 2019, but focusing on vague, fluffy, sugar-coated definitions doesn’t work for the modern consumer, either.
Also, the digital world is moving extremely fast. The attention span of an online consumer visiting a website is under 8 seconds. Social media is barely trying for a couple of seconds at a time.
Getting to the point fast matters.
Once you establish a vast audience, it doesn’t matter what and how you preach, as long as it’s within the norms of normativity. But especially during the early years, unless you’re gambling on your own projection of yourself, delivering value first in bitesize chunks is far more impactful.
Let alone the fact that not everyone is a native speaker and may struggle with your SAT-derived trivia questions.
How to Combine Digital and Traditional Marketing
Marketing a small business is dependent on context – I’ll go over some of the considerations for different fields when it comes to hybrid marketing.
The type of solutions provided by small businesses could be:
Those could be sold:
The selling proposition may be targeting:
- Other businesses
The main sales venue could be:
- A local shop
- Digital (everything online)
The sellable solutions could be:
- Limited to a region (again local in the city)
Now, depending on all of those considerations, marketing could be targeting different aspects based on the target audience, type of solution, and the available reach.
After careful research of the market based on the business specifics, there are various marketing approaches that could be implemented. Let’s check out some examples.
1. Local Shops Selling to Local Consumers
A flower shop, a massage studio, a small supermarket or a coffee shop would be targeting mainly consumers who live in the same area. Marketing could be utilized online and offline.
Online: social media, a website listing the product offers, the ability for clients to subscribe for new offers, deals, and solutions provided from the shop. Online advertising focusing on the interests of the local consumers (often Facebook or Instagram), building a fanbase. You can look up successful businesses in each field and reverse engineer their efforts in order to see what works for the given vertical. A Google Business page that’s easy to find and provide contact details, reservation system and whatnot.
Offline: brochures, partnerships with other local stores or places with relevant businesses. For example, a massage studio can partner up with hairdressers or cosmetic saloons that target the same type of customers. Creating educational sessions for the business (along with follow-up recurring content online or even over SMS and Facebook Messenger).
2. B2B Stores for Large Businesses
Online: LinkedIn, or other networks if applicable to the market. Case studies, industry papers, research studies that build proof. More corporate-looking website and overall digital presence. Different sales channels and calculators that allow for creating upfront offers if applicable.
Offline: Attending relevant industry conferences and meetups, building partnerships with other businesses. PR and exposure in local papers and other venues where prospects go to regularly.
3. Small Consumer Digital Products
Online: social media, a digital shop that supports plenty of payment gateways and currencies. Creative campaigns are suitable to the type of customer (a mascot, overall brand identity that’s recognizable, simple online games, raffles, word of mouth referrals, ways to enter a specific market or a vertical with potential advocates of the business).
Offline: sponsoring events for consumers, working on great packaging, branding the team (t-shirts, mascots at the office, etc).
4. Large Enterprise Deals Worldwide
Those usually require sales staff handling incoming leads. Enterprise-oriented businesses usually close 1–5 deals a year (again, depends on pricing) and marketing is a slow and steady process. Different approaches are suitable for different clients – from advertisement through partner outreach, direct cold emailing/calling, connecting with influencers, sponsorships, presence at international events or trade shows, etc.
As a rule of thumb, analyzing the target market and building the right buyer personas is a must. Researching the marketing and sales efforts of competitors is the next step, which may reveal plenty of uncovered sources.
You can use tools such as Moz and SEMrush for online research (domain authority, ranked keywords, advertising efforts) or BuzzSumo in order to identify top-ranked content and websites linking to it (opportunities for you as well), and influencers that you may connect with and ask for product reviews, referral programs and other genuine ideas for growing your exposure, traffic, and customer base.
Important Hybrid Marketing Tips to Mull Over
When you finally decide to harness the power that is hybrid marketing, the combination of digital and traditional marketing, here are some valuable tips to keep in mind:
Build Rapport First
Before reaching out to a business owner, consider investing the time for building rapport.
Research them thoroughly. Follow them on social media. Like their tweets and send them a personalized LinkedIn InMail related to something you both have in common.
Interact with them in a non-intrusive manner. Comment on their blog or LinkedIn articles.
Once you reach out for business, they will already know you given your previous points of contact.
Establish a Personal Brand
Work on building a personal brand.
Maintain an educational blog, write on Quora, publish articles on Medium, and LinkedIn. Consider guest posts for industry sources. Apply for some industry events where you can share your knowledge without being too salesy.
The thing with a personal brand is that your prospects may start following you and connecting with you instead of the other way around. As long as you are a viable source of information and techniques for your community, people will be interested in learning more—which would make a sale much easier.
Participate in Groups, Forums, Communities
Figure out where your target audience hangs out. Offline events such as industry conferences or meetup groups is a common denominator. Facebook groups, Quora, LinkedIn groups may be another good medium to interact at large with business owners.
Your target market probably includes other forums or communities which you can join. This could also reveal other common interests and hobbies you have with your prospects.
Consider Discount Pricing
Some businesses simply prefer to build a revenue model that completely depends on discounted goods and services. Your example may very well be one of those cases.
If you’ve been regularly following certain stores who run regular discounts, you may notice that many of them raise the prices notably a couple of months before the discount in order to bridge the gap. That’s also common.
Usually, there are three popular models where discount pricing may come handy:
- Selling expensive products or services that are always discounted (it’s a zero-sum game).
- Providing a discount for a solution that requires maintenance or additional work – increasing the lifetime value of a customer over time with the ongoing fees.
- Getting rid of outdated products before a new season (popular in the clothing or footwear industry).
In some cases, discounted products may indeed be cheaper – even when excluding the third example above. Groupon-alike solutions are a good primer here.
A hotel chain may issue a bulk of rooms or packages during slow seasons. The ongoing costs for rental, cleaning, staff, food are more or less the same. Slow seasons result in a lower revenue per customer – fewer customers booking rooms and high availability.
Offering an under-market fee would bridge the gap and bring some revenue for the chain without resulting in excessive higher fees (like staff overhead which is a flat cost).
It also depends on the margin. Sometimes, a business may get a deal from a factory or another vendor and thus be able to sell at a discounted price. It’s a good offer that doesn’t affect the profit.
Just Keep in Mind…
Plenty of marketing channels work for specific audiences:
- A certain target market
- Specific buyer personas
- As a combination of other marketing channels
- Being an upsell or a warm-up as a part of the campaign
- Complimentary to the positioning of a brand
A waste of time in hybrid marketing is utilizing a channel that’s underused (or not used at all) by your target audience, especially when it has no direct correlation to the corporate/brand identity.
For a better understanding of marketing and its components as well as different approaches, check out my digital marketing guide.