Marketing December 8, 2015 Last updated September 19th, 2018 3,253 Reads share

Digital Marketing May Be Returning to Physical Advertising

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Everything has become digital over the last 20 years. From the way we associate with others to the way retailers market their products and services. The shift to digital is an incredible advancement for businesses and the economy, but it often leaves out an important part of marketing – namely that which takes place in the physical advertising world.

Despite its overarching power in the marketing world, more and more people are beginning to understand and

Physical Marketing Is Still Alive and Well

There are several ways in which physical marketing supersedes digital. According to a study (PDF) that examined the role of neuroscience in traditional marketing tactics, physical marketing can have a more profound impact on the brain than digital marketing. The study points out that because physical material requires more brain processing, it’s more effective at imprinting in the memory.

It also shows that consumers can internalize the ads better because they have a stronger association with personal feelings. In short, physical ads stimulate the section of the brain that deals with memories, and logs them away as vivid memories. Human beings like to make a connection with businesses, and physical marketing can help with that.

Some of the most traditional types of physical marketing include billboards and freestanding inserts (FSI) in magazines and newspapers. These are lucrative forms of traditional advertising, but they aren’t the only ones. Highly useful, but often forgotten elements of physical advertising are magnets and bumper stickers.

These little marketing gems were used commonly in the 90s to bring attention to brands, and were very effective. Businesses would send bumper stickers and magnets in the mail or give them away free with purchases. This kind of advertisement creates a more permanent imprint than junk mail or other types of ads that simply get thrown away after the first look.

The downside of physical marketing is that it can be expensive and labor intensive. The good news is that some of this can be outsourced to other companies in order to cut costs and reduce the company manpower spent on menial tasks.

Digital Advertising Is Essential

Companies can’t succeed today without digital marketing, as consumers have come to expect it. Aside from the fact that the world operates in a digital sense, one of the biggest benefits of digital advertising is the low cost.

Companies can run a marketing campaign using free tools like social media and Google Webmaster in order to reduce overall marketing expenses. Just to make things clear, digital marketing is not free. It can still be costly to run advertisements, study analytics, and pay your hard-working marketing team, but it can be much more affordable than print.

Digital marketing is also highly effective for catching consumer attention and yielding conversions. Through blogs, social advertisements, social engagement, and SEO efforts, companies that rely on digital marketing can raise consumer trust and brand association.

The Bottom Line

The most important takeaway from this comparison is that companies need to use both digital and physical marketing in order to stay competitive and leverage their marketing efforts for the best ROI. Consumers don’t identify the same with both forms of advertising, and if you want to harness both of their reactions to leverage your company, you’ll focus on including both in your strategy.

Most businesses have a mix of both digital and physical in their marketing campaigns, but it’s often very challenging to find the right blend of the two. If you’re seeking to find the right blend, there are a few techniques you can try.

  • Send email promotions that can be redeemed in a physical store. Today, many ads are designed for redemption online with a certain promo code at checkout. If you have a physical location, or you provide products to multiple stores, you can provide a coupon that translates perfectly to the physical world. It’s a great way to encourage loyal customers.
  • Include your website information in print advertisements. Just because consumers see your ad in print doesn’t mean you’re limited to a phone number and address as the only contact info. Sure, it’s easier to click on a link than it is to type a website into a browser page, but that doesn’t mean people won’t do it. In reality, it’s a great way to generate leads.
  • Promote social media pages in print. Whether you have a sign in your store or run a few advertisements in a paper or magazine, don’t forget to let people know you’re on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more. You can connect your physical advertisements easily with your social media ads by encouraging your customers to connect with you on social media.
  • Print QR codes on print advertisements. This was very popular when it first came out, but lost momentum shortly thereafter. They didn’t work nearly as effectively at the beginning, simply because many websites weren’t optimized for mobile or the codes were placed in an inopportune place, like an underground subway tunnel or an email. However, in the right settings, such as FSIs and mail advertisements, they can be used quite effectively, as long as the website is optimized for mobile use.

All in all, the way you blend your marketing efforts primarily depends on the particular products and services your company offers. Hopefully, you have a firm grasp on your target audience, and can use that knowledge to expand your strategy in this area.

It will take a little trial and error, thorough data analysis and a lot of hard work, but you can develop the perfect blend of physical and digital advertising for your business.

Images “Advertising word cloud concept.  /


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Margarita Hakobyan

Margarita Hakobyan

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