Online vs Offline Marketing
I know its a little too late for this discussion but still the I think both these mediums have their place in most markets especially developing countries, even in developed markets both these mediums are used but their role in marketing changes. For e.g. offline marketing is no longer the lead awareness medium but a support medium or a reminder medium in developed countries whereas in developing markets offline is still the lead awareness medium (in terms of reach).
In developing markets like even the BRIC countries offline spends are still much higher and it continues to be the lead awareness medium although spends on online have increased tremendously over the last few yrs. Online in these markets is more of a engagement and lead capturing source rather than awareness medium.
Today only 2 nations North America and West Europe have internet penetration of 80+% and South Asia has only 19% penetration which makes it extremely difficult to have one global marketing plan since mediums in both these nations vary significantly. But since the population in Asian region is much higher in absolute numbers it makes sense to explore the online side despite the penetration being low. The global average for internet penetration is 42% so countries with lower penetration the marketing strategy to use this medium will have a different role.
Source : InternetLiveStats Q1 2015, InternetWorldStats Q1 2015. Wikipedia for population data
That being said one can not ignore the potential of the new medium (online) as its the future and I guess the marketing gurus have given their stamp of it being the star in the future. But its taken decades for the developed markets to master it and take the best out of this medium and the developing counterparts see this as a replicate model and try everything that their developed allies have done. Not knowing that its taken them years to master and juice out of the maximum of this medium as there is a lot of learning’s that come only out of experience.
There are so many options available to explore on the online platform and one is really spoilt for choice here especially if one is from the developing nations its a 7 course meal after being hungry for ages so one wouldn’t know where to start so one hogs on everything and ends up not eating whats best for him. For e.g. first step is to ensure that the landing pages and all the material which is in the organizations control have to be made the best before doing any other online marketing but here typically organizations would start everything together a brand new HTML 5 website, SEO, SEM, Search, Display Networks, Banners, Mailers, Whatsapp, etc and then websites don’t function or tracking is faulty and they end up messing up the entire medium. This is because the their core TG may not be ready for such kind of online marketing explosion. Recently in India there is again a online retailer dotcom bubble being formed but its not that they are spending million of dollars online they are spending major part of their budget offline to generate awareness of an online medium.. In developed nations this would seem like a silly and illogical idea where a manager will be asked the question of why should I spend dollars offline when the medium is online and high internet presence.
Just by taking an agency who is willing to give the best the world has to offer does not mean its the most intelligent piece of marketing one has ever done. Its really important to understand the dynamics of the country and its population and then dish out marketing strategies that will help deliver the desired results. For e.g. mobile as a medium has almost 75% + penetration in Indian markets but only 10% + mobile connections have a high speed 3G connection in India. So here if we had apps or content that is heavy on bandwidth then your definitely losing out on our TG unless your TG is premium kinds.
Hence its imperative for brands and organization to have accurate understanding of their markets and their TG before crafting out global best practices that may not be relevant for their markets. In most developing nations offline still is seen and will continue to be the lead awareness medium as of now I feel and probably in the next decade when these countries have better infra this medium will or may become the lead medium for awareness as well as engagement.
That being said a good marketing strategy will always have both these mediums as their must haves its just that the roles of both mediums will change depending on the geography and TG of the brand.