Physical Marketing in the Digital Age

physical marketing

There are things you want, and then there are things that you absolutely need.  Most of the things you own tend to fall into that first category… begging the question, what are the factors that drive a purchase? Why do people buy things they don’t actually need, and more specifically, what makes them chose one brand or product over another?

Let’s explore a quick example:

Recently you’ve noticed that your vision has gotten worse and decide to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.  They tell you that your old glasses aren’t strong enough and recommend getting new lenses.  Glasses are essential to completing everyday tasks, making this purchase a no brainer.  But, once you decide you’re going to buy new glasses, all of a sudden the WANT comes into play.

Sure, you could just buy generic glasses, but you WANT to make sure that something you are wearing every day is going to be stylish and go with your wardrobe.  Suddenly, a Warby Parker ad you saw last week comes to mind and you remember how stylish the model looked sporting the frames.  You also remember reading about how Warby Parker donates a pair of glasses to someone in need with every purchase. And as you are weigh your options you find yourself browsing through frames on WP’s website before excitedly selecting a pair and pressing the “check out” button.

warby parker

There are many layers to a purchase decision, in the glasses example the primary need was to improve your vision, but underneath that was a secondary want to purchase from an ethical company, and to be on trend.  As a marketer, tapping into those secondary wants is what is going to differentiate you from your competitors and make your brand memorable when a customer is ready to make a purchase. Tons of companies manufacture glasses, but few are able to market their brand as effectively as Warby Parker, which has won them the business of millions of fans.

In order to break through the noise, physical marketing is coming into play now more than ever.  You have this great product and great content, now you just need to get the word out in a way that people will remember. But, how often can you recall an ad, but not the brand it was promoting? Or remember a clever billboard, but not the product it was advertising?  Meanwhile, branded products boast an 85% recall rate, which is higher than any other advertising medium!

To be memorable, your messaging needs to be clear, concise and clever and your customers need to know what you can do for them and why it’s different from what everyone else is doing.  Advertising is a great way to communicate these things, but unfortunately some companies aren’t seeing the ROI.  I’m not saying that you have to completely ditch the TV spot or billboards, but you definitely should be looking into ways to expand your reach.  With all of the digital noise out there, if you aren’t integrating branded products into your marketing strategy you are seriously missing out.

You can use a physical handout to reinforce messaging being pushed digitally. For example, if your companies’ giveback program is really important to you, you could include a tip-in page in a branded journal that highlights your program. Or you can deliver important content on a pre-loaded flash drive, or call out on a hang-tag in a jacket.

You can even make branded merchandise the centerpiece of a marketing campaign with things like limited edition giveaways, or contest prizes.  Free giveaways and limited inventory put a clock on your customers to take action and can make your brand memorable with customers for a fraction of the cost it would take to advertise on other traditional advertising mediums. On top of that, your customer is left with a physical product that they can use and share with others.

When a customer is ready to make a purchase, you want your brand to be the first thing that comes to mind. By integrating branded products into your marketing mix in a thoughtful and clever way, you are going to increase brand recall and form connections with the people who matter the most. Branded products are cost-efficient, highly targeted and a physical reminder of what your brand and company can do. Let’s put the power of promotions to work in your next campaign!

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