4 Ways to Blend and Transform That Old School Marketing You Thought Was Dead

old school marketingI’m sure by now you have heard that old school marketing is dead. With the growth of the internet, the popularity of social media and the boom of mobile devices, businesses are finding new ways to win over customers. Goodbye newspaper advertisement, hello Google Adwords campaign. Farewell printed flyer, hail ye social media announcement. Adios business newsletter, welcome company blog post.

For the most part I agree that the changing direction of society requires a shift in marketing technique, but I also think that those who have become so negative about old school marketing aren’t viewing it from the right lens. It’s not that old school marketing activities have died, they have simply been revised and reinterpreted to work in today’s landscape. And it’s not that you must avoid these old school marketing methods completely, but rather incorporate them with newer systems for the best results.

Finding creative ways to blend marketing techniques or to transform old school marketing into new forms is an excellent way to get your small business noticed. To jump start your thinking, here are 4 ways it can be done.


Local Events

In the past, nothing created a buzz about your business better than a community event. The pie eating contest. The donation drive. The live band. For a small local business this tried and true old school marketing strategy simply cannot be abandoned, but it can be blended to meet the online world. The next time your business plans a local event, make sure to promote it online well before the event’s date. Write about it on your company blog. Tell your Facebook fans about it. Create a Twitter hashtag for people to use to stay informed and learn more. The more you promote online, the more successful your event will be.

Word of Mouth Marketing

Yet another old school marketing technique that will not go away. Ever! Who doesn’t want customers talking to each other to drum up business for you, and all for free? While in the past ‘word of mouth’ was taken literally as someone speaking, in today’s age we have to interpret it as communication in general. And if the internet is nothing else it is a platform for communication. As people are talking in person about your business, get the conversation going online too. Creating social media channels will facilitate the process. When a person ‘likes’ your Facebook page, their friends will find out about it. When you claim your business on FourSquare, your customers can ‘check in’ and therefore tell their friends about it. And if you want to spark it up yourself, offer discounts or coupons to people who share your business with others or write a review.


Brochure –> Website Pages

In the past businesses would create brochures, fancy pamphlets of information that would tell the customer who you are and what you do. We’re obviously seeing a lot fewer brochures these days, but that’s because this old school marketing strategy has transformed into the website. No matter how small or localized your business is, you must have a website! Many people search online to learn about businesses before they visit in person, and if you’re not showing up on the web then these customers will never show up at your door. Take time to think about what you want to say about your business and what customers will want to know. Then take that organization and use it to create the pages on your website. When you get a handle on the site, consider adding a company blog to stand out as a trusted authority in your field.

Direct Mail/Print Newsletters –> Email Marketing

Direct mail is an old school marketing technique that didn’t die, it simply evolved. You still want to get information about your company out to potential customers, so those old school direct mailings have transformed into email marketing. Take the time to build your email list organically so you get people who are truly interested in your business. Have a sign up box listed prominently on your website, and consider trying out a promotional offer (for example, sign up and get 10% off your first order). Consider what you want to share and how you want your business portrayed in the emails, and keep them coming regularly but not overwhelmingly. One per week is a good tip.

small business summit

These are only a few ways that old school marketing strategies have been blended or transformed into the marketing techniques we see today. For more ideas you’ll want to attend the Small Business Summit where Carmen Sognonvi will be sharing information about how old school marketing best practices are still a must for small business owners today. You can buy tickets online now.

What about you – do you have any other tips or examples about blending or transforming old school marketing? Let us know in the comments below.

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Jennifer Peaslee

Jennifer has a Masters in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame. She is currently working as a freelance writer, editor, blogger and researcher.

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