In the new age of digital marketing and social media; it can be hard to find a place for the nostalgic advertising methods that have faded over time. While social media has impacted the marketing industry, there are still ways to advertise your company without online platforms. Whether it be a quick advertisement found in a newspaper or simply humming a jingle over and over again, there is something special about classic marketing. Continue reading to learn about the ‘old-school’ marketing tactics that still work!
If you are old enough to remember the Fuller Brush salesperson knocking on your door, you may have noticed that certain marketing maneuvers that were once ubiquitous seem to have disappeared. Given the buzz and energy around digital and social media advertising in recent years, some old-school tactics have fallen out of favor with marketers, but as with everything in life, what once was old is new again.
Reaching consumers with your brand message without resorting to the tried-and-true modern standards of using display, programmatic and social media ads may sound impossible. However, adopting and updating strategies that once reigned supreme can breathe fresh life into your marketing efforts. Moreover, if you can integrate some of these old-fashioned marketing tactics into a comprehensive digital strategy, your brand could reach even more potential customers.
To inspire new ways of leveraging old tricks, the members of Forbes Agency Council shared “old-school” marketing tactics they recall from their youth that they continue to employ today because they are still effective.
1. Product Placements
Product placement in photographs, videos or through influencers is a successful component in building brand visibility and trust. This includes everything from staging a background to include specific products to hiring an influencer to use one. – Korena Keys, KeyMedia Solutions
2. Benefit-Driven Copy
I remember the tiny ads at the end of comic books, so many of which had benefit-driven headlines that pulled me into reading more. There was one about a kid who had sand kicked on him at the beach by a bully. The product helped him build muscle so he could beat the bully and get the girl. I still remember how well that ad spoke to the desired end state, and that my ad copy should do the same. – Ralph Burns, Tier 11
3. Radio-Based Advertising
The resurgence of radio-based advertising has become increasingly apparent. Podcasts and Web-based streaming audio ads can reach national and global platforms. Radio ads can be used to target very specific local regions and varied audience segments. Local radio targeting can be especially effective for industries such as cannabis and psychedelics, which are often restricted by advertising bans. – Evan Nison, NisonCo
I’ve always remembered seeing all of the different billboards when driving to the shore as a kid, as they’re a nice change of scenery during long drives. With commuting, shore visits and civilization starting to pick back up, billboards are a great way to get in front of a wide variety of audiences, especially with newer, digital billboard technology. – Larry Gurreri, Sosemo LLC
5. Neighborhood Canvassing
Canvassing targeted neighborhoods with eye-catching marketing material is still a great way to catch your target market’s attention. You can almost guarantee someone will look at the American flag you plant in their lawn with your business card on it or that flashlight you hung on their door with your logo. – Marilyn Cowley, PREM – PR & Social
6. Direct Mail
Direct mail marketing has remained popular because, in many industries, it still works. Some studies even indicate that as more transactions (such as paying bills) move online, consumers are beginning to view mail as a more novel and positive communication channel, leading to higher response rates. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions
7. Cold Calling
When I started my PR business 19 years ago, I had no clients—just the Yellow Pages and a lot of self-belief. So I would cold call companies to get clients. Fast forward to today—while many may think cold calling is dead, I still often reach out to potential clients this way. In a world where advertising on Facebook is becoming expensive and saturated, a good old phone call is often what does the trick. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR
8. The ‘Let’s Do Lunch’ Approach
The better we get to know someone, the better we can assess the right story solution to solve their business problem. And nothing beats breaking bread with a potential client for fast-tracking that “get to know you” stage. We have shared lots of virtual glasses of wine with clients over these past 18 months, but we’re looking forward to doing lunch again, old-school style, as soon as it’s safe. – Samantha Reynolds, ECHO Storytelling Agency
9. More Written Content
There has been so much focus on video and multimedia in recent years, it’s no wonder that many brands work to keep written content to a minimum. But website visitors still prefer longer pages with more copy in many cases, which is why Google ranks those pages higher in search results. Based on Google’s algorithms, substantive written marketing content may be more important than ever. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove
Giveaways, exclusive bundles, limited edition merchandise—all of these are historic ways of getting attention and engagement. In the speedy digital world, what better way is there to grab and retain the lightning-fast attention span of the target audience than doing a good old-fashioned giveaway? Make sure that you encourage engagement and sharing, then watch the results. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency
While they may seem cheesy or antiquated, jingles work. They are particularly helpful for service brands in crowded local markets. Instead of writing the concept off, harness its power with a sound and feel that is easy to remember and that resonates with your target audience. Do your research up front to craft a sound that connects with them and cements your brand in their minds. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative
12. A Humorous Or Heartfelt Message
Think about how many Super Bowl commercials you have stored in your memory bank: Budweiser, Apple, Doritos and more. The strategy of incorporating humor or a heartfelt message to connect with the viewer still holds true in the digital world. Today, this all has to happen in a much shorter time frame. We’ve traded 30-second commercials for 10-second ads. – Bernard May, National Positions