Am I alone in being the unwitting recipient of a daily onslaught of unwanted emails from IT marketing companies offering to fix my clearly obvious SEO issues (not that I knew that I had any), re-design my digital platform (sounds rather technical) or take over my range of viral marketing initiatives (sound perplexing?)?

Well, I have no wish to unreasonably decry such efforts to get new business, but it did rather make me wonder whether we have all become a little too myopic in our thinking when marketing our companies to both the public at large and indeed each other. I am not trying to say that digital marketing is any less important today than it was say five years ago – but I just wonder whether we have all just become a little too fixated with projecting our marketing messages through the world wide web rather than looking more obviously closer to home?

You see successful marketing and advertising is successful because a) It engages its chosen audience, b) It comes across as being authentic, and c) It has relevance to those it connects with. So my basic concern is that we have all become a little lazy, and have forgotten that traditional interaction can still deliver on these three points, if given the opportunity. Whilst you are “holding that thought”, I have prepared a short list of marketing initiatives below that might be food for thought for your company and, where clearly appropriate, may help you to connect with your clients or customers whether past, present or future :-

1) Cause Marketing – Find new and simple ways to connect with your local community, such as sponsorship or passive advertising at local events like markets, fetes or local trade shows.
2) Relationship Marketing – Engage the potential clients or customers without trying to sell them something using for instance an open day or local charitable event.

3) Word of Mouth Marketing – Create authentic word of mouth opportunities by organising for example, a free seminar (if appropriate) where you pass on know-how and your time free of charge in the area in which your business operates.

4) Transactional Marketing – This might involve organising a competition and awarding prizes to the first twenty potential clients with the right answer, or something as simple as giving away branded goods such as umbrellas or balloons in return for your target market’s names and e-mail addresses.

5) Seasonal Marketing – Arrange seasonal events, and use them as a great way to meet new prospective customers, and reinforce relationships with existing clients in a friendly and relaxed environment.

6) PR Marketing – PR is free publicity! So why not look at your business diary at the beginning of the year and look to make the most of obvious PR opportunities around events that your company might be involved with?

7) Newsletter Marketing – Write an informative blog or Newsletter that has relevance to your area of business.

8) Niche Marketing – In a business world where companies more often than not try to appear to be everything to everyone, why not promote the fact that you or your company is different and a specialist in a particular area? For example, if you are an estate agent, why not set up a riverside department or a specialist in retirement homes and make a point of understanding this market and engage with it with more expertise than your competitors?

Clearly, these are only a few ideas that have come to mind, and only scratch the surface of what might be possible for your company. But would we all not agree that small competitive advantage can be gained when we think and plan our marketing activities around a broad range of considered initiatives rather than solely digital media – or is my thinking just simply too yesterday as my teenage daughter would say?

The author of this article is Peter Nicholls, CEO of ideology consulting. For further information go to www.ideologyconsulting.co.uk