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Traditional marketing textbooks from the 1960s through the present have always taught the four P's of marketing: product, place, price, and promotion. We were taught to really dig into each P to really understand our product offering and plan an effective marketing strategy. That model remains timeless yet is more focused on a mass marketing perspective.

In the 1990s, we were given the four C's: consumer, cost, communication, and convenience. The four C's are a consumer-focused concept that moves us from a mass marketing perspective to a niche marketing one, which is more relevant in today's increasingly digital and personalized marketing landscape.

Now, newer models are incorporating social media and its impact on traditional customer interaction, and there's a debate whether the old models are still relevant. The marketing mix is different for every industry, but traditional marketing still works in our continuously digital world.

Smart marketers will adapt to the new landscape and use the correct marketing mix of new and old technologies to tell their story to their audiences.

1. Experiences

Desk jockeys at their corporate jobs are flocking to extreme obstacle course races at stunning rates year after year. They're looking for that all inclusive experience that takes them away from their daily routine. Similarly, when you walk into a Starbucks, its marketing advantage is the experience of that slice of time when you're in the shop. The sights, smells, baristas, and coffee are all part of a well-constructed marketing plan designed to give you an experience that you'll crave repeatedly.

Digital and traditional marketing can both give customers unique experiences in their own way. Marketing should not operate in a fractured vacuum; in-person experiences should be part of story that involves multiple touchpoints with digital and traditional media. Use the physical advantages of traditional marketing methods to draw in consumers and give them a special experience when they come in contact with your brand.

2. Engagement of the senses

Traditional marketing can offer something that digital marketing cannot: engagement of more than two senses. Except for the vibration of your phone or Xbox controller, on digital screens only our visual and auditory senses are being engaged. Stare at the screen for too long during the day, and when you enter back into the physical world, you are amazed at the depth and beauty of it all. Marketers can use that to their advantage.

The Chinese restaurant in the food court at the mall that hands you a sample of their chicken platter is engaging your five senses, and you bet that sampling is an effective marketing tactic. While common in the food and scented consumer products industries, you can adapt this idea to your business. When meeting with clients be aware of the sights, sounds, smells, tone, and body language present in the interaction.

3. Customer service

Amazon recently introduced the Kindle Fire HDX with an innovative customer service tool called the "Mayday" button. Any time you need help, you press the button to connect with an Amazon Tech Advisor, who can help you via live video with your problems and even draw on your screen. That bold move could be an expensive gamble or an innovative advantage over other tablet companies. In the cutthroat tablet wars, Amazon is betting on full-service customer support as its differentiator.

Your customer service is your marketing. Strong customer support with human interaction done right can build strong loyalty, retain customers longer, and make them happier. Some areas of the customer interaction with your brand can be solved with your FAQ page. Some can be solved with email tickets. Sometimes, however, the quickest and best way is to speak with a human. Whether you should do that in person or through live video depends on your industry, but take a look at your competitive landscape to gauge how you can differentiate your brand with good customer service.

4. A physical presence

On the screen, everyone is fighting for your customers' attention. Banner ads compete with text blocks on a two-dimensional screen. The competitors and social media distractions are a click away. In offline advertising, you have the opportunity to have a strong physical presence that can take up a majority of your customers' field of vision. You can use the physical nature of the medium to do some creative marketing.

When planning banner advertising, billboards, or trade show marketing, seek to use three-dimensional space to dominate the space and make a strong impact. Instead of opting for traditional billboard space, can you purchase larger space on the side of a well-positioned building? At a trade show, design your booth to draw customers in from afar and then construct the exhibit in a way that keeps customers interacting with your products and representatives. Give the customers an experience. Engage all senses. Listen to their problems.

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With the marketing landscape evolving faster every year, this is an exciting yet confusing time for marketers and small-business owners in a rush to keep up with the latest marketing opportunities. We need to remember to consider both old and new marketing tools and to create the perfect marketing mix for our companies. The four strategies outlined above are just a few of the many, but in marketing, if you remember the past as well as embrace the future you're setting yourself up for success.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Mark Krenn

Mark Krenn is the founder of Coastal Creative Reprographics, a printing company based in San Diego, CA.

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