Wherever you look these days within the marketing ecosystem, you see and hear laudations for the most revolutionary, disruptive, paradigm-shifting marketing techniques that “will forever change how we see marketing”.

Then, you start looking a bit closer and, soon enough, cracks begin to appear. It turns out these latest new techniques, while extremely cool and innovative, are as effective as screaming your client’s name down a well somewhere.

They attract attention because they are fun, because a company or two have a nifty campaign based on them and because “anyone can do it”.

In fact, this anyone can do it mantra is most often responsible for overhyping majorly ineffective marketing techniques.

Besides being annoying, these pointless exercises in forced innovativeness often distract companies and even marketers from the stuff that works.

The problem is that the stuff that works is often uncool, requires hard work and (more than just) some expertise to do the right way. Who cares for something like that? How is that going to get social media shares? How are you going to make a cool T-shirt saying I do trade shows or I spent two months A/B testing an email campaign for a B2B accounting firm from Brisbane before I realized I shouldn’t sign off sales emails with Sincerely

In the real world, however, these tried and true, albeit uncool marketing techniques still work. They still bring in new customers. They still put food on people’s tables. And not just on the marketers’ tables.

Trade shows

Trade shows are probably the most uncool things in the whole marketing world, at least at face value. For some reason, they bring to mind stuffy trade show pavilions with a bunch of white-shirt, brownish-trousers professionals trying to flog you HFIL-880Xb, the latest in weed-whacking technology.

And while certain trade shows can definitely be like this, you need to understand that they serve a very precise purpose and that someone from the weed-whacking industry will be insanely excited about HFIL-880Xb.

It’s got a fucking B at the end!

Marketing to People who Buy

The very precise purpose of trade shows that we mentioned earlier is to market a company’s products or services to people who are interested in just the type of product or service.

Trade shows are where decision-makers come to see what is happening and to be treated like intelligent people. This is especially noticeable at B2B industry events where you enter these very specific and insular worlds where everyone understands what they are talking about and where there is a certain mutual respect in every interaction.

You are not pulling at anyone’s sleeve. You are not badgering someone while they are trying to watch TV or read an informative article somewhere.

These are people who buy and who want to buy what you are selling.

Being Sneaky

Another great thing about trade shows is that they let you do some snooping around which is always good for marketing. A brisk walk around the exhibition space will provide you with more insights into what your competition is doing than you could ever hope to get any other way.

You can see how your competitors are marketing their products or services. You can see their approach with the potential customers and you can see what kind of a presence they are relying on.

This can do fantastic things for your own marketing efforts, providing you with ideas and checking to see whether you are missing out on something.

Surprising Tech-Savviness

Another misconception about trade shows is that they are stuck in the past and that nothing of note has happened since the introduction of color displays.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sure, there are still companies that think a business card and a big logo are the pinnacle of trade show marketing, but there are far more that are employing all the latest technological advances to put their story in front of as many people as possible.

This article from the Handshake blog gives trade show exhibitors a few ideas as to which trends they shouldn’t ignore when new tech is in question.

 

SMS Text marketing

SMS texting seems like a thing of the ancient past (just ask someone younger than 18 when they last texted someone).

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There is some truth to this – there are easier and faster ways to communicate these days, but text messaging still comes with a set of unique advantages that can be beneficial to a marketing campaign. Plus, texts have not yet fallen out of grace with older generations.

Higher engagement

Text messages are much harder to ignore than other means of communication. Only 20 percent of all emails are actually opened, 12 percent of Facebook post get read, as well as 29 percent of all the tweets. On the other hand, 98 percent of text messages are opened and read. People tend to check their phone constantly (up to 120 times a day) and new text message notification will never go unnoticed. The delivery is instant and the engagement levels are unprecedented. The rest depends on what’s inside the message.

Easy copy

Creating content for other forms of marketing is no easy task. Finding the right copywriter can take a long time and cost a lot of money. E-mails need to have a strong lead and blog posts need to be (or at least sound) genuine and engaging in order to keep the readers coming back for more. With text messages there are no such issues – the form is short and conversational which means that almost everyone can write a decent message.

Versatility of Applicability (you read that correctly)

This type of marketing campaign could be used by almost any kind of business because messages (depending on the style) could seem both intimate and formal. One of the leaders in the industry, Protexting offers their services to retailers, churches, NGO’s and non-profits, medical professionals, and advertising agencies.

 

Email marketing

There is an ongoing debate, from both the advertising and tech part of the industry about the futility of email marketing campaigns, now when spam filters are becoming more sophisticated than ever. Ask anyone who knows a thing or two about marketing ROI and they will tell you that the debate is way too premature.

When we are talking digital marketing, email marketing is still the king.

Email vs. Social

For the most part, email marketing is pitted against social, mostly because social media marketing was announced as the email killer back in the day. When we are talking effectiveness of email marketing vs. social media marketing, we are talking a fight between prime Mike Tyson and a three-year old.

We could list one statistic after another, but this amazing article from MailMunch covers this in great detail.

Integrating campaigns

The great thing about emails is that they can be easily integrated into any marketing plan. Text-based emails actually get the best reactions and they are the best way to explain the benefits that your business has to offer, but video content is also becoming increasingly important (especially live video focused on consumer experience).

Evolution of Email

The reason why email has become somewhat underrated and underused is that there is this image of it being this spammy practice where half-literate salespeople are trying to flog you the latest thing you don’t need.

Email marketing hasn’t looked like this for years. Companies that do it right (there are still those stuck in the past) have fantastic email marketing campaigns that barely look like marketing.

Blurring of email marketing and content marketing is another reason why email marketing still works great. Companies are putting useful content in their emails and they have really toned down on the salesy stuff.

Email marketing is alive and well and it brings results. Or at least better results than anything else you can do online.

It really is as simple as that.

 

Closing Words

Marketing is not about being cool or joining the latest bandwagon. It is about bringing results for your company or your clients’ companies.

If carving advertisements into cave walls brought results, you would have to do it.

It does not matter what the world thinks of your marketing practices or even how out-of-touch you may seem to certain people.

While they are busy discussing the latest AI-based guerilla Banksy-inspired holographic Instagram insertanotherbuzzwordhere, you will be helping a company grow and hire new people.

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Posted by James D. Burbank

James D. Burbank has worked for years in traditional as well as online marketing. He has worked in Central Asia, Europe and Australasia for years, helping US-based companies exhibit at trade shows in those parts of the world, among other things. He’s been on the ground for years and for the last few years, he has also been working in online marketing. James is currently on well-deserved hiatus and blogs about his experiences, the stuff he’s learned and more. Business and marketing all the way. He is also a father of two and a huge Utah Jazz fan.