Online Demand Generation Tactics vs. Offline Tactics: Which is Best for Your Organization?

Is your 2018 marketing budget better spent in offline or online demand generation tactics?

Both digital and non-digital marketing channels are listed among the top five categories of B2B marketing spend, according to Sagefrog’s 2018 Marketing Mix Report. Tradeshows and events are still the top marketing expenditure for 53% of B2B marketers. However, of the top six sources for sales and marketing leads, four are purely digital.

Choosing whether to invest more in online demand generation tactics vs. offline tactics is not that simple of a choice. While every organization is different, your demand generation strategy needs to incorporate both approaches. Offline tactics offer unique benefits that are hard to match, despite the fact that traditional channels are much harder to track and measure.

If you’re taking a full-funnel perspective on B2B marketing strategies, considering the comprehensive advantages of both digital and offline marketing is important.

Online Demand Generation Tactics vs. Offline Tactics

Online Demand Generation Tactics

Digital tactics and channels play an important role in the entire sales cycle. The most mature B2B marketing organizations use digital tactics for much more than generating contacts through one-off campaigns. Digital marketing can support sophisticated, full-funnel revenue generation strategies, including personalized messaging, automated programs and full-funnel attribution.

Digital marketing tactics for demand generation encompass both inbound and outbound methods, through both owned and paid channels, including:

  • Email
  • Social Media
  • SEO
  • Online Display 
  • Webinars
  • Content Syndication
  • Video Marketing

7 Advantages of Online Demand Generation

1. Full-Funnel Touch Points

Digital channels can be used to support connection with customers throughout the entire sales cycle with personalized content experiences for your prospects, leads and customers.

2. Ongoing Nurturing

Every one of your customers' clicks, searches and shares create a trail of rich intent data. Best-of-class demand generation marketers use this intelligence to power ongoing, personalized nurturing, turning data insights into real-time communications.

3. Remarketing

With targeted display advertising across a extensive partner network, you can build familiarity and brand recognition with website visitors.

4. Automation

Digital tactics and channels can fit seamlessly into program goals of tech-supported automation, including using demand generation tools for orchestrating lead sources and automating lead data processing for better efficiency.

5. Qualification and Dequalification

Sources of data from online behavior, mobile, social media and other digital channels can be aggregated to comprehensively understand whether or not leads or accounts are qualified to buy.

6. Applications Throughout the Buyer's Journey

With the help of content personalization and targeting, the same digital owned and paid channels can be used to deliver the right content to the right prospects, at exactly the right time. Personal touches like personalized website banners that greet prospects by name or emails triggered by their activity give leads a much more pleasant and frictionless buyer journey.

7. Targeted Paid Advertising

Dollar for dollar, digital can be among the most effective ways for B2B marketers to pay for the audience they want. It’s increasingly easy to target very specific audiences through paid ads in search, display, social media and syndication. This targeting can be applied through criteria such as job title, zip code, company/account and much more.

Offline Demand Generation Tactics

Offline marketing channels still matter to B2B marketers, and they are still effective.

A 2017 Global Web Index survey revealed that a variety of traditional media and marketing methods, including news media, print ads, direct mail and trade publications influence purchase decisions. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, 36% of B2B marketers believed in-person events will be “most critical” to the success of their strategy in 2018.

In a world saturated with digital content, offline modes of demand generation stand out to B2B buyers, especially if they’re relevant, timely and trustworthy.

Offline marketing tactics for demand generation include:

  • Trade Shows
  • Conferences
  • Exhibitions and Events
  • Direct Mail
  • Print Media
  • Print Marketing Materials

5 Advantages of Offline Demand Generation Tactics

1. Higher Recall

Print advertisements have a 70% higher recall rate than digital media, according to VistaPrint. Tangible items, such as direct mail or printed decision guides, are easier for the human brain to remember since, engaging more senses than their digital counterparts.

2. More Noticeable and Personal

The sheer volume of digital messaging has lead to a diminished share of attention and phenomenon such as banner blindness the increasing tendency of internet users to ignore irrelevant display ads.

Direct mail and other offline marketing can still stand out in 2018.

3. Brand Awareness

Print marketing materials, such as tradeshow swag, may not have easily measurable ROI benefits, but they can increase customer trust, improve brand awareness and showcase your brand in real-world settings.

4. Easier Processing

It requires 21% less effort for the human brain to process print versus digital information, per VistaPrint. Complex information, such as product specs, may be best presented through offline demand generation methods.

5. Human Relationships

Events offer an unbeatable opportunity for marketers, sales and customer success teams to foster meaningful human connections with their prospects and customers. In a world where B2B consumers are bombarded with one-way messages from advertisements, this connection matters.

Online Demand Generation Tactics vs. Offline Tactics: Which Is Best?

For the vast majority of B2B marketing organizations, both online and offline tactics offer unique benefits to program goals of full-funnel demand generation.

The right mixture of investment in online vs. offline tactics depends on your brand, your industry, your goals and most importantly, your customers.

The following questions can guide your organization to determine how your budget is best divided:

  1. What kinds of online and offline media and advertising do our ideal customers consume?
  2. Which are the highest-return methods of demand generation from online and offline channel options, based on historical performance data?
  3. What are the goals of our demand generation strategy for key metrics such as revenue, sales pipeline, velocity and awareness?
  4. How do online demand generation tactics vs. offline tactics fit into our customer journey?

For the vast majority of B2B brands, online and offline demand generation tactics go hand-in-hand. Online channels such as email and display advertising nurture potential customers through the buying process, while offline methods raise brand awareness and provide value to existing customers.

Did you know: many of today’s most effective B2B marketers are integrating offline and online marketing tactics to generate demand? Discover new strategies for multi-channel demand gen in the free eBook: 155 Tips & Tactics from Demand Marketing's Top 40 Game Changers. 155-demand-marketing-tactics