Old School: The forgotten tech making a comeback with marketers

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In the results-driven world of performance marketing, it can be tempting to jump from tool to tool, scrabbling at the latest must-have tech. 

Despite massive advances in the way that marketers work, at the core of many strategies lies some pretty reliable tech, which shows no sign of being dropped from the marketing mix. 

There is a reason why old tech works, there’s a layer of trust and acceptance that marketers can benefit from – big time.

Old tech, one common goal

Today, we’re going to look at three pieces of ‘old’ marketing tech that are making a significant comeback with modern marketers (although, arguably, they’ve never really left the fray).

Although they operate on different platforms and have considerably different use cases, email marketing, QR codes and SMS messaging share three common goals.

  • Audience building: any marketer worth their salt knows that in order to stand the best chance of increasing leads and interest in a product or service, you need to build an audience. But that audience needs to be engaged and there must be a layer of trust established.
  • Personalised marketing: once you’ve built an audience, you need to send them the right messaging if they’re to pull the trigger. The best way to do this is to personalise your content, and you can only do that if you grab the right data from the start of the relationship.
  • Automation: no marketer should have to manually undertake repetitive tasks. It’s why the best tools automate essential marketing tasks, leaving the humans to invest their time in the creative, exciting stuff.

So, let’s get into the three forms of old school marketing which are arguably more relevant than they’ve ever been.

QR codes: an unexpected winner in 2021

Without wishing to use the ‘c’ word in this blog post, the pandemic has at least revealed the convenience offered by QR codes.

The presence of a touch-free solution for exchanging information and providing customer services isn’t going anywhere. It’s thought that most Fortune 500 companies in America are now using QR codes within their product marketing.

Despite a relatively muted launch and limited uptake following their initial launch in 1994, QR codes have become second nature for consumers. This has been aided significantly by smartphone manufacturers who have built the ability to scan and read QR codes directly into their camera systems and software.

Some examples of how to use QR codes in marketing include:

  1. Directing customers to a specific landing page.
  2. A shortcut to downloading your brand’s app.
  3. Quick check-in for your venue.
  4. Access to an augmented reality experience.
  5. Shortcut to send a message or email to your team.

SMS messaging: the super attention-grabber

A 2020 report revealed that over 60% of businesses are increasing their text marketing budgets this year.

This is for one very good reason: it remains one of the most effective ways to grab the attention of your audience. If you get it right (because, let’s be honest, SMS marketing is frighteningly easy to get wrong).

Research suggests that more than 90% of text messages are read within the first three minutes. By comparison, only 22% of emails are read as quickly.

Millennials generally have the highest preference for text messaging from brands, but with that being the largest generation on the planet, it’s not a bad pool to dip your toes into.

It’s also very cost-effective. Individual texts cost just pennies or cents to send, and with such a high level of engagement up for grabs, the return in attention and potential revenue can be game-changing.

Some SMS marketing strategies to whet your appetite:

  1. Welcome messages for new customers.
  2. Sales, events and promotion notifications.
  3. Booking confirmations (and up-sells prior to arrival).
  4. Personalised offers.
  5. Review requests.

Email: old but still relevant

A 2020 benchmarking report revealed that content marketers rate email newsletters as their highest performing type of content for securing new leads.

Yes, our inboxes still have to deal with copious amounts of spam and unsolicited email, but the web’s oldest form of communication is more relevant than ever because of one overriding factor.

It remains the fasted, most secure route to a defined endpoint: the recipient’s inbox.

This means it’ll drop into something only they can see. This is why email marketing is arguably more cost-effective and capable of driving higher ROI than social media marketing. Get the subject line and content right, and you’ve got an incredibly captive audience.

Just like SMS marketing, it’s also very affordable. There are a wealth of email marketing platforms out there that are available for a negligibly monthly fee.

However, it all starts with the list. And the good news is that you can combine your email marketing efforts with the most modern audience building tech to ethically create email lists full of potential customers.

Take WiFi marketing, for instance; by implementing a simple sign-up form for people who want to use your WiFi service, you can obtain their email address and any other key personal information with their consent. This leaves you with a list that is far more likely to deliver, in terms of engagement.

Modern uses of email marketing include:

  1. Lead nurturing campaigns.
  2. Existing customer newsletters.
  3. Upsells.
  4. Review requests.
  5. Referral programs.

The real marketing mix

There isn’t a single tool or strategy we’ve mentioned in this blog post that isn’t available to all businesses. That’s the best thing about old marketing tech that has been modernised; it has been commoditised to the point of being accessible no matter the size of your budget.

You don’t necessarily need to use SMS, email marketing and QR codes altogether, but by combining them, you may just create a marketing campaign that is better than the sum of its parts. 

Experiment, learn from those who have been there and done it already and, most importantly, have fun with these brilliant marketing techniques – they’re showing no signs of going out of fashion.

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