Is Paper Obsolete in a Digital Age?

Is paper old-fashioned?  Are we stuck using analog thinking in a digital world?  I usually agree with Seth, but I’m not so sure today.

This antique "letter-box" style U.S....

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He said,

“The simple thank you note, for example, is a long tradition based on the technology of couriers and then the postal service. Of course it arrives three days later, because that’s how long it takes. At first, the email thank you note seems too impersonal, too easy, too digital. Then, we begin to appreciate the speed and it become[s] ubiquitous and then expected.”

I’ve received two notes in the mail recently – from people I’ve never met.  Both thanked me for helping them. They were thanking me for my “virtual” gifts (this blog and being a friiiend on triiibes), but I felt that I was the one who had received the presents.

I think in a digital age, paper is, dare I say, remarkable.  I have both notes on my desk where I can see them. I’d never print out an email note and keep it – and if I did, it would look and feel like every other piece of paper on my desk.

What if you sent your clients a thank you note (in the mail) occasionally?  Or a postcard for no particular reason?  Would that stand out from an email?

What do you think?

Are Offline Marketers Lazy?

image of lazy dogThis  post was inspired by a post on morecaffeineplease.  Greg was wondering whether offline only marketers were “leaving money on the table” and also why online and offline marketers are often so divided against each other.

Jeremy commented that he thought offline marketers were well, lazy, entranced by big numbers and splashy ad campaigns, rather than conversations.

I do agree that there are many brand advertisers who are captivated by big campaigns, and big awards.  Neither of those  result in conversations and don’t necessarily even make any money.

Conversation, Not Shouting

Whether your marketing is online or offline, it still has to follow the same rules.  Both will fail when they don’t build trust, offer value, or treat customers fairly.

A few days ago, BMW hijacked the front page of the New York Times online with an ad that couldn’t be shut off or bypassed. Clearly, they had no respect for the newspaper’s readers.

On the other hand, Jack Daniels bourbon has been having an ongoing conversation with a friend for years.  He’s the proud squire of 1 square inch of Kentucky land near the distillery.  They sent him a deed, and regularly send letters asking if he’s seen a lost mule, or enclosing pennies and odds and ends they “found” on his property. It’s all offline, and impossible to do online (until someone invents the Star Trek transporter).

Online is Faster

The primary difference is that online companies can respond to problems or opportunities much more quickly.  I posted a Freebie Friday SEO Fast Start report on my blog two months ago.  A few hours later, the author left a comment saying a new edition was coming out in a few days.

This is one important lesson many offline marketers have failed to learn.  Word spreads, and it spreads fast.

I complained online about a  bad experience at Victoria’s Secret (in short, they require a driver’s license or a passport (?!?) in order to return something, even with the receipt).  Nobody has contacted me, apologized, or responded in any way.  They clearly are not interested in having a conversation, only in glitzy marketing campaigns.  I will never, ever buy anything there again.

Photo: meaganjean