These Old School Marketing Techniques Are Making a Comeback

These Old School Marketing Techniques Are Making a Comeback

Old-school marketing tools like store signage and direct mail are enjoying a new popularity. In fact, eighty three percent of  marketers surveyed say using tools like direct mail bumps up ROI. Small Business Trends contacted John Patinella, CEO of Money Mailer, and Kristin Gallucci, Director of Marketing of Signarama, to find out why these are popular again.

Old School Marketing Techniques

Patinella started by supplying a definition of direct mail for younger people who might not be familiar with it.

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“With direct mail marketing, businesses can deliver messages physically to a consumer’s mailbox through the United States Postal Service or other delivery service. Postcards, flyers, and catalogs are common examples.”

He says part of the reason for this new surge is a kind of online overflow at the hands of social media.

Digital to Print

Digital marketing has oversaturated the market, leaving consumers fatigued by the process. It no longer has the ROI it once did. Consumers do not engage with these ads or they block them entirely. Today, businesses are looking for marketing campaigns offering a mix of traditional online complimented by ‘digital-to-print’ options. These boost engagement of first-time customers and retain current customers as well.”

He says businesses are looking to market by using “digital to print” techniques. These can combine things like a print brochure that points to an online app.

Money Mailer has created a smartphone app so consumers can find deals first offered through direct mail.

Patinella says this tool is trending in many different industries for small businesses. However, a few verticals stand out.

“We are particularly seeing it in retailing, the salon and spa industry, health and fitness and the restaurant industry,” he says.

Physical signs are another tool making a comeback. Gallucci describes how their flexibility as a marketing tool makes a difference.  

Signs and Graphics

“When it comes to brand recognition and awareness, signs and graphics are an essential part of any business marketing strategy,” she writes.  “Whether it’s a sign in a window, a vehicle wrapped in a company logo or a graphic displaying a promotion. Signage draws attention to the business and conveys important information quickly.”

She also says they are cost-effective. Exterior signs, for example, are visible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Gallucci backs up her claim with facts.

“Numerous studies have supported the customer reach that signs provide,” she says. “ In 2011, a national survey of more than 160 large and small businesses found signage was a main factor in their marketing plan. Both saw better results due to the communication benefits.”

She says this tool does some things better than digital marketing.

“There’s an opportunity for these more traditional techniques, like signs and graphics, to cut through the noise. Signage goes beyond the name of a company and its logo on the window.”

Statistics on Old School Marketing

One of the other advantages are the places you can use signs.

“Through features like messaging on the walls or murals, these also allow business owners to utilize a highly creative space. They can show the personality of their brand and make a lasting impact on their customers.”

Gallucci also supplied some interesting stats on how effective signs are.

Seventy percent of Americans say they’ve seen a digital display in the last month,” she says. “While 47 percent remember a specific sign or message, and 80 percent of shoppers say they have entered a store because a digital sign caught their interest. “

So, are there industries that will get more from these old school techniques than others? Gallucci says the appeal is across the board with a few notable exceptions.

“Signage is trending with all different types of small businesses that are looking to bring personality to their space at a lower cost,” she says. “Restaurants, schools and even coffee shops are communicating with their consumers through messaging on walls and windows that still showoff who the brand is.

Even doctors’ offices are using window film with attractive designs and privacy films.


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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

2 Reactions
  1. Old marketing techniques that get a redo can be a breath of fresh air sometimes.

  2. This shows that the strategy never changes. The platform is the only one that changes. Humans are great because they can always adjust to the times.

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