Trust and loyalty are fundamental to the success and longevity of B2B brands and businesses. In fact, more than 80% of consumers say trust is the deciding factor in their purchasing decision, and B2B buyers rank trust as the most important consideration for a potential partnership.
When customers trust a brand, they’re more likely to repeat purchases, become longtime customers, and even turn into brand advocates. This is why marketers spend so much time, effort, and marketing dollars on gaining and retaining consumer trust, particularly in the sales and marketing content they create and the channels they use to distribute this content.
Even with the proliferation of digital or online marketing channels, many of today’s marketers are realizing the power of more classic communication channels in connecting with customers and building brand loyalty and trust. Here, we’ll look at three ‘old-school’ marketing channels, why we still love them, and how these approaches can engage and delight your target audience in ways that are unexpected and effective.
The power of print marketing persists
Traditional print marketing may seem like a relic of a bygone era, but more marketers are returning to print marketing as a way to cut through the clutter and noise of the digital marketing space. For example, direct mail is experiencing quite the resurgence in recent years, in large part due to the ability of print materials to help consumers recall information and associate more complex ideas or concepts.
Here are a couple of reasons why the power of print marketing still persists, and why savvy marketers are incorporating print marketing campaigns into their strategic frameworks.
- Print is tangible and tactile. Print materials have a physical, tactile presence that are more likely to make a lasting impression on your target audience. Plus, high-quality print materials with unique design elements like specialty inks, paper finishes, and other sensory components are more likely to be kept, displayed, and shared.
- Consumers have faith in print. More than 50% of consumers say they trust print marketing over any other channel, including channels like social media or email. Print marketing can help contribute to a sense of legitimacy and trustworthiness.
- Print can help create a more multichannel experience. Bridging the print and digital world through a multichannel marketing strategy is a more effective way to more connect and engage with your ideal customer. Infusing your print marketing materials with digital components like quick response (QR) codes, augmented reality (AR), or voice-activated calls-to-action (VACTA) can drive consumers to online experiences, creating campaigns with multiple touchpoints.
- The print channel is less cluttered. More than 306 billion emails are sent and received each day. While it may seem easier to reach your target audience via digital channels like email, actually making a connection with your customer is becoming more difficult due to how saturated the digital space has become. Print has become a powerful tool in cutting through the digital noise and connecting with consumers in a way that resonates.
Word of mouth still matters
Consumers have high expectations for the brands they do business with, and these expectations are in part formed by a brand’s reputation, be it good or bad. Traditionally, a brand’s reputation was spread via word of mouth, and, thanks to social media, word of mouth still plays an important part in how a brand is perceived.
A 2023 study found that 93% of respondents said online reviews impacted their purchase habits. Social media and online review platforms like Google and a host of others have transformed and amplified traditional word-of-mouth marketing into a more immediate and wide-reaching endeavor. An effective social listening and online reputation management strategy can help marketers leverage digital word-of-mouth marketing, and help further a brand’s authenticity, identity, and voice.
The key aspects of an effective online reputation management strategy include:
- Monitoring. This means keeping track of online and offline mentions, reviews, and discussions related to your brand. It also includes monitoring social media, news outlets, review sites, and other platforms for any information that could impact your reputation.
- Analyzing. This means evaluating the sentiment or validity of the information found during monitoring, and identifying trends or patterns that could affect the reputation positively or negatively.
- Responding. Addressing negative comments, reviews, or misinformation promptly and effectively is critical with online reputation management. In addition, engaging with your audience in this way helps address concerns, answer questions, and build a positive relationship with customers via authentic online conversations.
Don’t sleep on event marketing
Trade shows or conferences, which have long been a mainstay in the event marketing space, were tested during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the in-person nature of these events. Virtual or hybrid models helped keep trade shows and conferences alive, but as in-person trade events return in full force, they are taking on a different look and feel.
The landscape of events like trade shows and conferences is changing. For example, some industry experts predict floor space will be more confined, thus creating a more intimate environment for brands to create authentic, dynamic interactions with consumers.
As such, marketers will need to think more creatively and leverage new innovation to deliver a more personal touch in service of building trust with new customers and nurturing the loyalty of existing customers. Some ways in which event marketing is likely to change includes incorporating:
- Brand experiences. Companies are increasingly recognizing the value of creating memorable experiences for their audiences. Gamification and traffic driving events offer a platform to showcase products, share brand stories, and connect with consumers in meaningful ways.
- Experiential marketing. Event marketing is often closely tied to experiential marketing, where brands create immersive experiences to engage and connect with their target audience. This trend is on the rise and is likely to continue, particularly as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology evolve and become easier to use in a tradeshow environment.
- Performance data and analytics. Advances in real-time performance metrics will allow marketers to better understand the impact of their event marketing efforts, particularly when it comes to engagement metrics like video views, website clicks, and landing page sessions.
While these classic marketing channels have experienced some shifts in scope in recent years, the core principles of what drives the success of these marketing strategies remains more or less the same. As with any effective marketing and communication effort, the secret lies in creating a comprehensive and engaging brand story that will connect with your customers and build lasting relationships.
Talk to us to learn more about how our approach to these classic marketing channels can help your brand stand out from the pack.