Testing the murky water of traditional marketing

8 December, 2011 Marketing

Appliances Online recently sashayed into more traditional marketing methods by conducting a simple two-month branding campaign on Sydney radio station 2GB.

We were involved in a series of 30 second spots over a two-month period – leading up to, and for the duration of, our sixth birthday sale. One of the value ads the radio station put forward which was to create a 90-second advertorial during the station’s Home Improvement show which airs every Sunday morning. We put forward one of our longest-serving salespeople, Colin Jones, who has more than two decades experience working in the appliance industry (for both Winning Appliances and Appliances Online). Each Sunday morning, in between answering calls at our Edgecliff call centre, Colin talked about products like induction cooktops or BBQs.

The 2GB team was great to work with and the campaign was shown to be successful through anecdotal feedback; quite a few people called up and were surprised to be actually speaking with Colin from 2GB’s ‘Talking Appliances’ segment. However, Appliances Online uncovered the troubling vagueness of many traditional marketing methods, which simply cannot be measured  as accurately as their online counterparts. Apart from providing a dedicated phone number and asking people where they heard about us, it is difficult to measure precisely who heard about us, and from which media format outside online channels. Radio advertising relies on anecdotal evidence rather than facts, and I think this can easily enter murky waters.

Until the 2GB example, we have always favoured using an array of online marketing techniques to attract customers (although we do place paramount importance on impressing every customer to help spread happy word of mouth messages and to generate repeat business). These techniques allow us to pinpoint exactly what is drawing people to our sites and what isn’t. Online marketing holds our marketing team accountable. It makes sense, and we can quickly change tack in channels that aren’t working. And most importantly it works – Appliances Online has increased in both profit and revenue by 100% each year since inauguration, we deliver nationally and just celebrated our biggest month on record.

I believe that offline marketing channels such as radio and print advertising need to work harder to educate clients, particularly online retailers, how we can accurately measure effectiveness. Being 27 my approach to marketing is probably back to front to more mature marketing minds – I’m used to ecommerce web tactics but am newer to offline forms of marketing. I’m used to making data led decisions, accurately measuring results and analysing precise information, rather than hearsay.

Therefore it makes me nervous to spend millions on traditional marketing techniques when we can’t pinpoint what’s working and what’s not, and change tactics in an instant. I know there is a place for traditional marketing and it’s useful for an offline business such as Winning Appliances which drives offline traffic into bricks and mortar stores. I like experimenting and therefore I’m likely to continue testing the water; but I’m not entirely sold.


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