Last Updated: November 24, 2020

While the Internet’s impact on marketing is undeniable, it may be exaggerated. According to Internet World Stats, 78 percent of the population in the U.S is online and 73 percent access Facebook at least once a month. That still leaves nearly 70 million Americans who can’t be reached through online marketing efforts.

And while 92 percent of Americans are aware of Twitter, only 8 percent actually use it. This creates a world of opportunities for advertisers to reach out through offline media channels.

Even though the arrival of the Internet appeared to be the end for print-based and other “dated” mediums, marketing campaigns using offline channels are still a fundamental aspect of many company’s marketing mixes. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by Google in partnership with Ipsos MediCT, traditional offline media such as TV, radio, and print still plays a leading role in online searches for products and services

What is offline marketing?

Given the Internet’s tremendous rise in popularity, today’s marketers refer to other media channels that aren’t connected to the World Wide Web as “offline.” Offline marketing strategies utilize offline media channels to create awareness of a company’s products and services. These campaigns can include radio and print advertising – including billboards, signs and pamphlets – telemarketing, and television ads. (See also Outdoor Marketing)

'Occasionally Perfect' Offline Marketing

The most perfunctory medium in an offline marketing campaign is normally the billboard. Even with the most creative marketing strategy behind it, a billboard is almost always just a much larger version of a print advertisement. But in one of the more creative offline initiatives, Heineken transformed one into a surprise concert performance tied to social media.

The beer company’s “Occasionally Perfect” campaign began with a simple billboard in Manhattan that, for one night, became the stage for the band TV on the Radio. The billboard will be appearing in other cities across the U.S. where it will host similar performances. To find out the details on where the billboard is going to be and its next performance, users have to follow the #occasionallyperfect hashtag on Twitter.

Since it’s almost a prerequisite for any business today to have its own website, offline marketing strategies are now frequently tied to company’s online efforts. For example, companies such as Ford have created print ads that include sparse information about new vehicles with predominant urls and references to Facebook or iPhones.

Who implements offline marketing?

Companies large and small use offline media channels to build buzz about products or services. The strategies can be applied by companies of any size, from mom-and-pop storefronts in small communities to some of the largest and most renowned brands in the world. The companies developing offline marketing strategies fit a number of profiles, including:

  • “Mom and Pop” Businesses – Smaller operations that want to establish a name or foothold in a local community. Businesses such as family restaurants, local salons and boutiques, or independent photography studios can use ads in community newspapers or small, targeted direct mail pieces to establish themselves in the limited area they serve.
  • Regional and Mid-Sized Businesses – Companies with large customer bases that need to reach customers in a metropolitan area or geographic region. Construction companies, automotive dealers, and grocery store chains are among those businesses that can build familiarity with customers through traditional advertising means. Billboards, regional television commercials and radio spots can spread the word about a company and build its credibility.
  • Major National/International Companies – Large corporations with recognizable names and brand characteristics. Target, Applebee’s, Kohl’s, GoDaddy, Budweiser, Dick’s Sporting Goods – these are just a few of the major corporations that keep a regular presence in national marketing campaigns involving offline media channels. Each of these company’s campaigns features high frequency placement and a focus on brand awareness.

How is an offline marketing plan developed?

Offline marketing strategies tend to be more expensive than online ones, requiring businesses to develop all-encompassing plans before implementing campaigns. Typically, a company must first decide exactly who they are trying to reach – the target demographic for either new or existing services – and then determine what media channels can be used to reach them.

Market research data can be purchased to bring companies up to speed on the media consumption habits of their target audience. If potential customers tend to read certain magazines, then marketers can strategically place ads in those publications. These ads typically feature consistent messaging about the company as well as brand imagery – the same slogans and logos are used to build familiarity with potential customers.

Recently, offline marketing and online marketing strategies are more frequently used in collaboration with one another. Many companies treat their websites as the central portals of their marketing efforts. Most consumers who want to know more about a company’s products or services will at some point visit the website for information, and contact details. The principle theme between the offline and online marketing partnership is to make the company’s website better known. (See also Integrated Marketing)

For example, if a national electronics store is hosting a sale in honor of an important anniversary, the company’s intent is to attract the attention of customers to come into the store and take advantage of celebration sales. If the store limits itself to only showcasing this information on their website and no other methods to publicize the event, the company is limiting the number of potential sales.

Instead, the store might advertise the anniversary sale in newspapers and other offline mediums that also include information about the store’s website. These offline ads can feature tracking URL’s, landing pages or QR codes. By using these options, the store can analyze where its audience is coming from, who they are, and how many have responded to the call to action for the anniversary event.

Offline Marketing Strategies

Behind the ad campaigns and creative promotional materials, the basic intention of any offline marketing strategy is to increase online traffic, overall sales, and profits. There are various strategies companies can employ to achieve these results, including:

  • Direct Mail – “Snail mail,” as it’s commonly referred to, is one of the most commonly used mediums in offline marketing campaigns. Marketers can purchase mailing lists based on demographic data that include people most likely to purchase their products. For example, an online pet food store may order lists of people who purchase pet supplies or medicines online.
  • Discount Pricing – Another way to drive customers directly to a company’s website is to offer coupons online. Department stores, grocery stores and countless other companies frequently advertise sales of their products and services in local newspapers and advertising inserts. Rather than including coupons in the newspaper, these ads can instruct customers to print their coupons from the company’s website. If they want a discount, they have to make a stop online.
  • Loyalty Programs – To build repeat customers, companies of all sizes often rely on offline loyalty programs. These programs encourage customers to patronize businesses more frequently. For example, a sandwich shop may reward customers with a free sandwich on their tenth visit. Or a professional baseball team might offer a free stadium tour to fans that purchase ticket to 10 or more home games.

What types of careers work with offline marketing strategies?

Despite the explosive growth of the Internet, careers involving offline marketing will be available for the foreseeable future. Marketing companies – or other businesses with internal marketing and communications teams – will need employees at all levels who understand how to leverage the beneficial aspects of offline marketing mediums.

Marketing Manager

What do they do?

Salaries in Offline Marketing

  • Marketing Manager:
    Entry Level Salary: $62,836
    Median Salary: $86,5921
    Top Salary: $115,621
  • Marketing Communications Director:
    Entry Level Salary: $77,749
    Median Salary: $105,477
    Top Salary: $133,343
  • Marketing Research Director:
    Entry Level Salary: $92, 548
    Median Salary: $130,304
    Top Salary: $166,880


Similar to managers in other industries, a marketing manager must be well versed in general management skills. Their responsibilities will include managing staff, coordinating work schedules, and controlling the workflow of projects facing their team. This individual will be expected to be familiar with offline marketing strategies and suggest helpful ideas in brainstorming sessions with colleagues.

Education and Skills

This position requires a bachelor’s degree and most employers will mandate 2-3 years of professional experience in an advertising or marketing agency. Most marketing managers have proven the ability to successfully manage the day-to-day operations of a marketing team.

Marketing Communications Director

What do they do?

Marketing communications directors provide executive leadership for all marketing and communications in any offline marketing strategy. Key responsibilities of this position include assembling team members, setting a project vision, and guiding the marketing team toward final decisions on which marketing tactics to employ.

Education and Skills

This position requires a bachelor’s degree and typically 3-5 years of professional experience in an advertising or marketing agency. Positions at larger agencies may require 5-10 years of experience.

Marketing Research Director

What do they do?

Tasked with managing the market research department, a marketing research director oversees an organization’s marketing policies, objectives, and initiatives. The marketing research director leads a team that reviews changes to the marketplace and the industry, adjusting the marketing plan as necessary. They rely on considerable experience and judgment to set and achieve offline marketing goals.

Education and Skills

A bachelor’s degree is required for this position. Most employers will mandate at least 10 years of experience with market research, branding, advertising, and managing staff.

How can a marketing school help you succeed?

Our Recommended Schools

  1. Grand Canyon University (GCU)

    GCU's Colangelo College of Business offers leading edge degrees that address the demands of contemporary business environments.

  2. Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)

    Explore the bond between business and consumer behavior with a degree in marketing.

The importance of offline media channels hasn’t waned in the age of the Internet, but have rather become more important. Companies can use them as stand-alone tactics to reach customers who prefer offline channels to the Internet, or in conjunction with online marketing efforts to maximize traffic to a company’s website or social media pages. A degree in marketing from an accredited institution provides the education necessary for creating and managing any successful offline marketing campaign. (See also Traditional Marketing)

Marketing progrms teach the basic marketing principles of market research, brand management, and using multichannel marketing strategies. With the proper education, graduates can develop important leadership and organizational skills, and the ability to think critically and creatively. Breaking into this field will require a bachelor’s degree, at minimum, from an accredited college or university, and typically one or more internships at an advertising or marketing agency.

Driven to Purchase

What prompts people to shop online? According to a study commissioned by iProspect and performed by Jupiter Research, offline mediums play a significant role. The “iProspect Offline Channel Influence on Online Search Behavior Study” showed 37 percent of online users perform searches as a result of something they saw on television, 36 percent as a result of word of mouth or friend’s recommendations, and 30 percent from magazine and newspaper ads. More than 2,300 online users participated in the study proving companies that employ offline marketing strategies in their campaigns can increase the effectiveness of each and every marketing medium used.