Could Your Brand Profit from Tangible Marketing in the Digital Age | h2o | Creative Communications Ltd.
In an era when our digital footprint is tracked, there is a growing theory that tangible, high-quality physical marketing is overdue to make a comeback.
marketing strategy, marketing, digital marketing, brand, branding, digital, tangible marketing,
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Could Your Brand Profit from Tangible Marketing in the Digital Age

Could Your Brand Profit from Tangible Marketing in the Digital Age

In an era when our digital footprint is tracked, there is a growing theory that tangible, high-quality physical marketing is overdue to make a comeback. We’re not talking cheap, badly designed junk mail, but targeted thoughtful high-quality marketing material.

Not this.

We don’t like the phrase direct mail or marketing, as this implies 2 things that may not be true:

  1. You are sending your material to people. It could be guerilla drop-offs, handouts, delivered by drones. The sky is the limit.
  2. Mail implies that your tangible marketing is a letter or card. This brings up images of your local takeaway dropping a greasy pamphlet through your door.

Tangible marketing is a much more sophisticated phrase for what can be a very elegant and effective marketing method.

In an ever increasingly digital world, analogue is now memorable, quirky and different — a way to stand out.

Sarah Quinton, a Senior marketing Lecturer at Oxford Brookes summarises this perfectly; ‘When did you last send an email — 10 minutes ago?, when did you last send a WhatApp message -2 minutes ago? but when did you last send a handwritten letter?’

Our digital activity almost defines who we are as people. Our online life is almost as precious to us as our physical life and our social media reputation as crucial as our real-life health.

Think how many promotional emails you receive each day. The average person now receives 121 per day (not including those that go straight into your spam folder). This works out at around 20 hours of business email interaction per week. It’s no wonder that many email campaigns don’t achieve their goals. Think about how many letters you received today. Bet you can remember the letters more than the number of emails?

This isn’t a plea for you ditch your phone, tablet and laptop and move into a cave, or pick up a quill and parchment for your next marketing campaign. It’s still essential that brands spend a significant amount of their time and resources marketing where their audience spends the majority of their time — online and on social media. With the right creative, strategy and targeting, you can still enjoy great results from digital marketing. We aren’t arguing that digital marketing is dead, dying or even slightly ill.

It’s the fact that digital marketing so popular that some brands are looking to old-school, tangible marketing to be memorable. Significant organic reach for brands on social media is becoming harder and harder due to changes to algorithms and the sheer amount of competition from almost every other brand. Organic reach is less than 2%, PPC conversion rates are less than 1% on average. Consumers are becoming saturated and immune to online branding messages, which means that smart brands are looking for other areas to exploit.

We’ve all heard the urban legend about the financial advisor in California who sent prospective clients a surfboard with his details on. This is perhaps a bit extreme, but it’s along the lines of what we’re talking about.

According to the US Postal Service 41% of people who received a catalogue read through it. Over 100m US adults made a purchase from a catalogue in 2017. Many digital marketers would kill for open and purchase rates like that.

At h2o we still produce catalogues for a number of brands, including an iconic motorcycle business. Whilst the proofreading can be boring, there is definitely still a demand for it. Some consumers like the reassuring feel and weight of a catalogue in their hands before they make a purchase. A survey by SmallBizTrends found that 70% of Americans believe that receiving physical marketing from a brand is more personalised than digital marketing.

Like all marketing, a tangible campaign is only effective if it’s targeted and creative. Pumping out boring, standard, ‘salesy’ direct mail will not help your marketing efforts. Something original and memorable can definitely help your brand to stick in the mind of your audience. This will in turn support and augment your digital marketing efforts (the QR code renaissance for example).

We recommend using the phrase ‘dovetailing with our digital marketing strategy’ in meetings to sound really p̶r̶e̶t̶e̶n̶t̶i̶o̶u̶s̶ knowledgeable.

So if you’d like to know how tangible marketing could become part of your holistic, top-level marketing plan, we’d love to hear from you and get creative.

Megan Tyce
megan@h2o-creative.com