“Hi, I’m Al Harrington, President and CEO of Al Harrington’s Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man Emporium and Warehouse! Thanks to a shipping error, I am now currently overstocked on wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men, and I am passing the savings onto YOU!” Family Guy’s local television commercial personality Al Harrington, of Al Harrington’s Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man Emporium and Warehouse, was such a hit with viewers that he appeared on the cutaway comedy show two more times, selling his wares.
What made Al Harrington, just another crazy cutaway character among hundreds of others, so memorable for Family Guy audiences? It’s simple; every single one of us can relate to watching a similar commercial prepared by local businessmen on regional television stations. The best comedy is relatable, and we all definitely know that old school business that’s still leaning in, counting on traditional marketing tactics just like these.
The truth, though, is that old school advertising is alive and well, and perhaps even better than ever. Although we get a chuckle at old Al’s expense, the results these methods generate are really no laughing matter.
According to the National Association of Advertisers, on-premises signs like air dancers (the technical term for wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men) cost less per impression than just about any other form of advertising. Attention-grabbing signage can increase foot traffic by up to 20 percent, which is pretty impressive when compared to around 5 percent for television advertising.
When you think about it, a lot of the traditional marketing strategies are making just as much of an impact as they ever did even if they’ve been a little digitalized here and there. Advertising through mailers, coupons, and lead buying is still hugely beneficial to any business, whether you’re using good old-fashioned snail mail or online sales funnels.
Nevertheless, it’s interesting to note that old school stamp-and-send mailers still tend to perform better than web campaigns. According to Forbes, “while PPC and local SEO helps users find us easily online, using mailers to increase brand awareness is vital in helping us build trust with consumers. Consumer trust increases sales calls.”
Building trust with the customer is what it’s all about, and despite what you may believe about old school advertising, it’s not all about push marketing. While there are plenty of traditional methods that focus on interruption — like commercials during TV shows or idling past a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man on your morning commute — the internet didn’t invent permission marketing.
According to Jake Braun, the co-founder of Kapok Marketing, “technology may have made it faster and more efficient, but businesses have been asking customers to register for newsletters and coupon mailers, gathering information from promotions and giveaways, and implementing loyalty programs for decades.”
It’s no surprise that permission marketing is more successful than interruption marketing, because you’ve been invited into your customers’ lives. They’ve already indicated their interest, so you’re not wasting precious energy on all the people who do not have any interest whatsoever in what you’re selling.
Another important way to establish trust with consumers is through brand recognition. It’s true that the ever-growing field of graphic design has taken comprehensive, consistent branding to a whole new level, but advertisers have always known that a successful logo, catchy jingle, or memorable mascot could take an ordinary business and turn it into a household name.
You only need to look as far as an organization like Coca-Cola to see how classic branding strategies can pay off in American icon-hood.
Last but not at all least, don’t forget about the power of radio advertising. A Nielsen data analysis concluded that broadcast radio reached more than 77 percent of adults each day, making it a powerful resource for companies looking to expand their reach.
Entrepreneur advises using radio campaigns targeted toward establishing yourself as the industry expert your audience can trust, since they will be hearing your reassuring words on the airwaves on a highly regular basis. Radio advertising campaigns are most effective when they run in long cycles (ideally 52 weeks a year), but they are sure to build trust in your expanding customer network.
If you’re looking to grow your business but feel frustrated by trying to keep up with the latest-and-greatest digital techniques that always seem to overpromise and underdeliver when it comes to your ROI, get back to the basics and start kicking it old school.
Advertising strategies that include phone calls, traditional mailers, promotions and giveaways, loyalty programs, consistent branding, and even a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man (because why not?) can deliver some serious bang for your buck. More importantly, though, they’ll develop the kind of trust necessary to establish lasting relationships with your customers.
What old school marketing strategy ha worked wonders for your business? Share your success in the comments below!