What does the word “marketing” even mean, anymore? Somewhere back in history, the art of advertising began as a sign on the front of a building. It probably said “Ale.” Print advertising came along in 1840. The art of “creative advertising” dates back to 1898. In the 1920s – the radio; 1950s – broadcast television; 1980s – cable TV; and of course, the game-changing invention of the Internet in the 1990s. Marketing, advertising, digital media … how do they fit together, and do the old techniques even work anymore?

Simply put, yes, every type of marketing can work in the right context, old- or new-school. For example, online advertising can’t target specific neighborhoods as well as a zip-code-based print mailer. If you’re a roofing contractor following up on a hail storm, the Internet can only do so much for you. Yes, you need a website at the top of your local search results for the term “hail damage” because that will capture some market share, but a good-old-fashioned mailer can be sent to the exact neighborhood where the damage occurred.

Shotgun versus laser beam marketing

This is not a slam at Internet marketing, by any means. It works like a laser beam when someone is actively searching for your specific product or service. You definitely want that tool in place.

But a brand is built through ubiquity (seeming to appear everywhere). Web searchers may find you at the top of the search results, but they won’t buy from you without trust, and that trust is built with marketing media other than search engine placement. People should already know about you before they’re ready to buy; this is called top-of-mind awareness. It’s been a key tool used by top advertising agencies for so long that the pros just call it “toma,” from its abbreviation.

Branding is done on your social media, yes. You absolutely need to make this an ongoing process, so there are definitely Internet components to top-of-mind brand awareness. But it’s also done when a NASCAR fan sees your body shop ad on TV in the middle of the race. Oh, they like NASCAR, too, the fan subconsciously thinks. It doesn’t have to go further than that. This back-of-the-mind association makes a brand impression that needs to already be in place when the day comes that they need your services.

Online marketing can’t wave at children

Seeing your logo, alone, in the right context can make a huge brand impression. I’m reminded of our recent community law enforcement parade, here in Wichita. Our brand specialist, Lori Wright, drove the US Logo car in the parade, wearing branded apparel, smiling and waving at real people just a few feet away. This use of vehicle wraps and branded apparel builds US Logo into the community at an emotional level that cannot be duplicated online. Sometimes the simplest marketing ideas are the best.

But Internet marketing is a given

As mentioned earlier, web development is a must. More often than not, people will check out your site before calling or visiting you. This is very big brand-impression opportunity. First of all, the fact that you come up at the top of the local search results in your industry speaks volumes. People assume a certain amount of credibility for your company based on this, alone.

If your website is visually consistent with their other brand impressions, you gain more points because, if you’re not giving meticulous attention to your brand presentation, people may lose confidence that you can be meticulous about the product or service they’re considering buying from you.

Your website is a selling tool

Finally, your website should give them the answers they’re looking for and make it easy for them to take the next step in the purchase process. The next step may be a button that captures their email, an online purchase incentive, a phone call or a visit to your front door. Be clear and deliberate about the purpose of every page on your site.

And remember, it works because they have top-of-mind awareness, which still comes in many forms of media, and that’s not likely to change soon.