I’m always amused when I come across a meme crackin’ fun at the products, old school marketing, and forms of communication and entertainment I grew up with back in the 70’s and 80’s. The images on these memes always include pay phones, console TV’s, vinyl records, tape recorders, flash cube cameras and Intellivision. My favorite is the photo of a student looking through a card catalog. The caption is, “Prehistoric Googling.”
The internet and technology has most certainly changed the way we do just about everything. This includes marketing. For us 40-something folks, and older, it’s not difficult to start a sentence with, “Back in the day…” Intertwined in those conversations might be familiar terms including bulk mailing, print ads, radio, face time, door to door and jingles. The young entrepreneurs and budding marketing gurus of today, who are a decade or two younger, may roll their eyes and wonder how any of us managed to run a successful business and market products before Smartphones, Twitter, Snapchat and email.
We managed fine back then, and today we’re adapting and keeping up with the shiny new. That doesn’t mean the core essentials of old school marketing is a thing of the past. Despite the eye rolls and skepticism, sprinkling a little old school marketing into new school marketing can pack an effective punch. It’s all about balance.
1. Paper ads. I can’t think of a company out there who doesn’t have an online presence. In today’s digital world, it’s a must. However, utilizing paper ads can also work in your favor especially if you’re offering products and services catering to all age groups. Not everyone is computer savvy, shops online or visits company sites. Yes, there are people who still rely on newspapers, paper coupons and company fliers.
2. Be present. With all of the technology at our fingertips, it’s easy to take a seat in the virtual world and observe conversations and buzz surrounding your product. We feast our eyes on what people are saying. However, it’s important to be a part of the conversation. Join in. Whether it’s face to face or personally replying to tweets, comments and feedback, you should always be amid the buzzing crowd. Think about those restaurant owners who mingle in the dining area to talk and shake hands with their customers. It makes a huge impression.
3. Word of Mouth Marketing. This form of marketing can either be your best friend or worst enemy. It doesn’t matter if you just spent thousands on a marketing campaign or ads, word of mouth marketing can make or break you. Why? It’s based on the trust factor. People rely and trust the word of family and friends before any ingenious advertising.
4. Personal connections. Remember when you could walk into your local grocery store or drugstore and the person behind the counter knew your name? They’d ask how the kids were doing or if you enjoyed your recent birthday celebration. Customers appreciate that personal connection. They don’t want to be referred to by an order number or listen to generic automated recordings. By eliminating the human factor, you’re taking away the vital elements in making and maintaining those personal connections with your customers.
5. Saying thank you. As H. Jackson Brown once said, “Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.” This includes your customers. Without customers, you don’t have a successful business. Regardless of how busy you are, it’s imperative to take the time to personally reach out and say, “Thank you.” Those two words can make customers feel appreciated. That goes a long way.
I’ll admit, I sometimes cringe when faced with new this, new that, and the advancements made in the marketing and digital world. On occasion, I’ve rolled my eyes too. However, I do believe the younger and older generations can learn a lot from each other. Like manners, some things never go out of style.