Many retail and business experts believe we are witnessing a sea change. According to Forrester Research, online retail sales are predicted to reach $370 billion by 2017. As businesses gain the ability to target their key demographics through social media, many research firms such as McKinsey & Company believe that physical brick-and-mortar marketing is going the way of the dinosaur.
With the rapid growth of online shopping, the general consensus is that consumers are less likely to go to physical retail stores and would rather scroll through a website, order products with the click of a mouse or the swipe of a finger, and have their purchases delivered to their doorstep in five business days or less.
Though this trend is exploding in popularity, it would be a mistake to believe that print and interactive marketing methods are no longer beneficial for brick-and-mortar stores. In reality, it’s just becoming harder for businesses to harmonize their social media efforts with classic brick-and-mortar marketing techniques.
Start by Evaluating Social Strategies
Striking the right balance between these two channels is not impossible. Several companies currently stand out as leaders in this “blended” marketing approach. For instance, Red Bull Media House specializes in creating social media content that can be tied directly to physical venues.
So, how do you achieve the right balance between your social and brick-and-mortar marketing techniques? First, reverse engineer the situation, and ensure that you have airtight social media practices that fulfill these criteria:
How to Blend Social and Brick-and Mortar Marketing
If you already have sound social media strategies in place, it will be easier to bridge the gap between social and brick-and-mortar marketing. Let’s look at “blending” options for a fictitious restaurant that has a strong preexisting social media presence.
Brick-and-mortar establishments such as McDonald’s and Arby’s encouraged this type of customer engagement long before social networks even existed. McDonald’s “billions served” campaign is similar to a company that boasts how many Facebook “likes” it has. Arby’s prompted patrons to ring the bell if they were satisfied customers. These marketing tactics were quick and efficient customer testimonials.
Social media has actively built on successful engagement ideas of the past, and it’s time for brick-and-mortar businesses to build on their social media efforts to create harmonized marketing strategies that bolster engagement, offer entertainment, and encourage repeat visits. By combining these efforts, brick-and-mortar businesses truly can have the best of both worlds.
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