Montserrat Petit, founder & managing director of the marketing agency MOND
In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with all kinds of information in all possible formats, shapes, colours and sounds. Our brains receive thousands of messages every day and are constantly switching from one topic to another. At work, we are handling video conferencing, instant messaging, emails, phone calls and face-to-face meetings while also keeping an eye on our phone in case something urgent comes up and needs an immediate response. In a matter of years, generations have shifted from watching movies to YouTube videos to TikTok clips to Instagram adverts in their leisure time.
In this hectic environment of endless choices, brands aiming to last and be profitable must find ways to stand out from the crowd. Revolutionized by the internet, marketing has become a crucial element of any business plan, with companies dedicating significant resources to it.
However, not all types of marketing can fulfil a company’s objectives. Today, customers are more market-aware, more demanding and less brand-loyal, meaning that companies must be very smart with their marketing approach and design an effective marketing strategy that will truly reflect their values and products, differentiate from competitors and ultimately, and most importantly, drive sales.
By “effective marketing” we don’t mean that we must favour digital (or modern) marketing – quick to implement – and forget about offline (or traditional) marketing. Instead, effective marketing means defining a powerful strategy with original, creative and thoughtful ideas that will make an impact on our target audience, supported by consistent, coherent and clever messages and followed by a well-defined and timely action plan.
Now we know what’s needed to achieve effective marketing, let’s talk about implementing it. Great marketing ideas often die because companies fail to implement them properly. On the other hand, good marketing ideas can become an incredible success when they are flawlessly implemented.
For reasons that vary depending on the company’s type or products, nowadays many brands solely focus on digital marketing. They invest from modest budgets to millions of dollars in Google and YouTube ads, Instagram videos, TikTok clips, web banners, SEO and SEM, hiring influencers to promote their products, etc. To survive, these brands need a constant market presence online, continuously delivering new content and being ever more creative and compelling. If they don’t, it’s just a matter of time before these brands fade and die.
At first, digital marketing may seem fun, modern and less costly than printed marketing. However, there’s a high risk involved in advertising your brand exclusively through digital marketing: due to the huge volume of content available on the Internet and the usually short attention span of online customers, your brand will be competing with millions of other brands and can be quickly forgotten and replaced by one more active, more pervasive, or trendier than yours.
We always tell our customers that online marketing is like a fireplace: the moment you start burning fewer logs than your competitors, your fire will eventually go out. Branding your product online is a constant battle to burn more and more logs!
So, even though online marketing is a must and can bring significant benefits, we must not ignore the enormous influence of offline marketing in helping shape consumer behaviour and the amplified benefits of mixing both types of marketing.
Sensory marketing as a means of influencing consumer behaviour
five senses: smell, vision, taste, hearing and touch
While digital marketing reaches the sight and hearing of customers, brands must use a combination of printed, physical and offline marketing to reach all five senses: smell, vision, taste, hearing and touch.
Because of the vast amounts of information we receive every day, our brains can only retain what makes a strong impression on us by creating a memorable experience. Of course, emotions play a very important role in making an experience memorable. The more senses are involved in that experience or event, the more impactful it will be.
Sensory marketing is a form of marketing that targets customers’ senses to create an emotional connection with a product or brand. It utilises a variety of sensory stimuli to influence consumer behaviour. By engaging multiple senses, sensory marketing can help brands create a lasting impression on consumers. Sensory marketing can also be used to influence consumer behaviour. For example, research has shown that certain scents can increase sales, while certain colours can influence consumer perceptions of a product's quality.
Printed marketing materials help achieve sensory marketing
Overall, sensory marketing has become an increasingly important tool for brands looking to create memorable customer experiences and drive sales. On many occasions, sensory marketing can only be achieved with the help of printed materials, such as a magazine advert that includes a sample of a hand lotion or a perfume, or a high-level financial services company that sends its prospect customers a copy of their new corporate brochure printed on a special substrate that reflects wealth and prestige.
Printed materials such as brochures, catalogues and flyers are physical items that remain in potential customers’ hands, making them easier to revisit and recall, read at their leisure and even share with others. For instance, when a company is exhibiting at a tradeshow, distributing printed product brochures or postcards (instead of a PDF or an email) inviting customers to join a company event can make the difference between a potential customer forgetting about the brand or remembering it long after the tradeshow has ended.
Printed marketing materials can be very cost-effective, as they can be produced digitally at an affordable cost and strategically placed in locations where the target audience is most likely to be. A typical example: a real estate company placing flyers about a new housing development in local cafes or grocery stores to reach their target audience.
Printed marketing can also help build brand recognition by using distinctive substrates, designs, fonts, and colour schemes that people associate with the company. This strategy can be highly effective in creating a loyal customer base more likely to remember the company, its products and services in the future.
Finally, printed marketing can help a company establish credibility and trust in the eyes of potential customers. Companies that invest in quality printed marketing give the impression that they are serious about their business and are generally seen as more trustworthy than those relying solely on digital marketing. This, in turn, can lead to increased confidence from potential customers and greater brand recognition as well.
In conclusion, despite the rise of digital marketing, offline marketing remains an essential part of any effective marketing strategy as very often it involves “touching” the customers’ five senses. Brands that decide to include printed marketing in their marketing mix to provide a tangible means of accessing information are a step ahead in establishing credibility and trust among their target audience.
Drupa is the perfect example of a five-sense marketing activity heavily supported by offline marketing. This is the place where new technologies are presented in a way that is impacting the consumer’s five senses creating a memorable and meaningful experience. Only online is not enough!