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Would marketers be able to fill the void if email marketing were to suddenly disappear? Last week we looked at how capable certain digital channels would be. This week, it’s time to evaluate some traditional marketing channels.

Snail Mail

You’re a new, small, business. You have no mailing list but a fresh new website. How do you advertise, at a personal level, to your intended audience?

Snail mail remains the only way to deliver information directly to people, in some cases without needing their prior permission (unless they’ve chosen to opt-out) and so it’s a great way to get your name out into a community.

However, remember that marketing and brand image don’t stop at selling.

Customer care is important and direct mail is an opportunity to address consumers by name, as you would with email. The opportunity to personalise is something which sets email apart from other forms of marketing, but traditional mailing lists have been able to do this for longer than email has been around; whether this is addressing a grievance, posting loyalty coupons or letting people know about a change to their subscription.

The Flaw(s):  Direct mail is not great at selling, partly because it can’t link you to a product with a simple click.

There is also no way to know how many people opened your letter or how many simply threw it in the bin. Reporting this is easily done with email and is vital to marketing strategies.

Billboard Advertising

Billboards are all about brand image, imprinting a slogan or visual in the consumer’s mind so they can associate that with your brand. Placed in the right area, it could give you exposure to millions of people.

If you think of Picadilly Circus you are likely to think of Coca Cola, maybe McDonalds too. 2 million people walk past it every week. Times Square? 300,000 pedestrians alone, per day.

It may not be direct or personal but they can be eye-catching and that makes consumers remember them. They can even lead to marketing and media exposure that revolves around them, such as the viral Audi and BMW war or the McDonalds and Burger King adverts.

The Flaw(s): Billboard advertising is expensive – Times Square can set businesses back by up to $2.5 million, per month!

It’s not interactive therefore engagement is based on building brand image rather than selling products.

It’s not personal (although clever marketing can make an advert speak to one person whilst speaking to everyone), it can’t use your name and give you specific content that you want to see – you are just forced to see the same message as everyone else.

So how does a post-email world look?

Some things would not change: potential reach is still large through the channels I’ve reviewed, personalisation is still possible and there are still marketing methods that address the different facets a marketing strategy needs.

However, there would be grey areas in brand trust; unknowns over reporting, which can help a business create strategy and KPIs; poorer deliverability and engagement; and the inability to directly target customers due to their interests.

So next time you see an “Email is not dead” blog, don’t just look at how it hasn’t died but think of the reasons why too.