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Use Physical Marketing to Stand Out in the Digital Age

We’re living in an age where everything is online. You can do just about anything virtually, from doctor’s appointments to concerts to work.

This has made our lives more convenient, but there’s too much noise online. Competitor content, ads, emails, memes, texts: your smartphone is one big hub of distractions.

As a brand, you’re competing against everything that your customers see online. And who can compete with the endless feed of cute cats on TikTok?

With burnout at an all-time high and consumer engagement at dangerously low levels, some companies see results by going the old-fashioned route: physical marketing.

Our reliance on digital-first marketing has killed the magic that happens with real-world connections. And after years of online events and communication, your customers are remembering just how much in-person connections matter.

Learn why physical marketing is still important in 2022 and how your brand can make physical marketing work in the digital age.

Why Physical Marketing Is Important

Physical marketing is one way for your business to stand out in a world where your competition is just one click away. But it has other tremendous benefits for brands, thanks to:

  • Tactile connections: Did you know that 58% of consumers keep promotional products for up to four years? That’s because physical marketing has a lot of staying power. It’s the reason why people still buy books and vinyl records in an age in which content is readily available online. It doesn’t hurt to give your customers a break from the blue glow of their screens, either.

  • Shareability: A physical product accessorizes their space and serves a useful purpose, unlike a Facebook post that disappears into the abyss. Physical marketing gives brands greater reach and mindshare. In fact, even if your consumer doesn’t want your promotional products, they can share them with a roommate or spouse who might appreciate it. Two-thirds of consumers share promotional items with people in their social circle.

  • Omnichannel capabilities: Marketing isn’t digital by default. If anything, successful brand marketing is about marrying the best of digital and physical marketing. Physical marketing makes it possible to do more complex, effective omnichannel campaigns (and no, you don’t have to give up your digital channels, either). For example, you can add a QR code to free yoga mats, encouraging recipients to enter your online wellness challenge. Since there was a 23% increase in demand for promotional products from 2009 to 2019, your customers clearly want to engage via physical channels, too.

  • Skipping the line: We like to joke that promotional products help brands skip the line. You don’t have to wait for your customers to open Instagram or hope that they check their email today. You immediately connect with customers, who often give physical marketing their undivided attention. Since reading on paper has a higher memory recall than reading on a screen, physical marketing is a great way to win mindshare. And it’s unlikely that your consumers have other products from your competitors around their homes, so physical marketing also makes your message way more accessible to customers!

How to Create a Physical Marketing Campaign That Works

How do you stay relevant in a world of quick and easy connections to your competition? Physical marketing is your golden key to engagement.

But it isn’t enough to send flyers in the mail. It’s 2022, and brands have a lot of tools at their disposal. Use these three tips to master your next physical marketing campaign.

1. Get creative

Physical marketing has a much longer track record than digital. There’s nothing wrong with options like:

  • Flyers

  • Pamphlets

  • Direct mail

  • Billboards

  • In-store displays

But if you want to knock your customers’ socks off, you can do a lot more than a print mailer!

For example, try giving your customers a custom scented candle. Smell is the sense most strongly associated with memory—and who doesn’t want a free candle?

2. Create an experience

Physical products have a kind of durability that’s rare with digital marketing. When you give customers a product that lasts, they must have an experience with that product.

That might mean:

  • Creating a boxed experience: If you can’t meet your customers in person, you can still give them the thrill of a fun experience. Create a boxed experience for them to recreate a vibe with the right promotional products. That might mean whisking your customers away to a tropical island, taking them through a gastronomical experience, or giving them a dose of childhood nostalgia.

  • Offering collectibles: Have you ever known a Coca-Cola collector? Their collections are impressive and often span decades. You can make yourself a beloved household brand by rolling out collector’s items for your top fans, too.

  • Making it interactive: Allow your customers to meet the folks behind your brand. Holding events like a cooking class or book club, where you can interact with customers, will help them feel more connected to your company.

3. Personalize it

Did you know that adding a name to your promotional products can increase response rates by 135%?

Try adding your customers’ names to your products whenever possible. If you know their names ahead of time–and you would for an event or a conference–order products made just for them.

If you don’t know their names, take a page out of #ShareACoke’s book: print common names on your products and let customers find the one with their name on it.

You can also bring stickers and ask your team to personalize products while you’re chatting with customers in person. However you do it, make sure you personalize at every turn!

Cultivate Brand Love™ with Physical Marketing

Yes, digital marketing can be affordable and easy to measure. But, as it turns out, it isn’t the be-all, end-all that we thought it would be. Physical marketing gives you a competitive edge in a world where consumers need a compelling reason to engage with your brand.

Originally posted by our partner Boundless on Apr 6, 2022

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