At Verb, we’re in the business of developing innovative tools to help our clients achieve rapid and meaningful success. And part of what makes us so positionally unique is our ability to create powerful storytelling tools in a variety of mediums, both digital and print. This can be surprising to some people who believe that physical tools are a relic of the past, people who would rather invest their entire budget in digital tech. But having spent years at the forefront of marketing tool development, we’re here to tell you that isn’t the best idea—in fact, it’s far from it.
Over the next three weeks, this blog post series is going to attempt to explain the benefits that can come from using a mix of both physical and digital tools in your business and give you the advice you need to start implementing a blended tools culture. In part one, we’ll delve into why physical tools are still a necessary part of the modern marketing strategy.
The Power of Physical Touch
I’ve always been an avid reader, so it didn’t come as a shock to anyone around me when I was one of the first people to jump on the ebook train. My first ebook reader was a thin (well, thin-ish) silver Sony that I got for Christmas as a teenager well before smart phones were commonplace, and I loved it. I carried it with me everywhere and felt a thrill every time I powered it on and had instant access to a dozen of my favorite books, all within the amount of space that would be taken up by a small notebook. For the first few months, I used that reader almost every day, pulling it out every time I had a free moment. But, over time, I noticed myself picking up physical books more and more, neglecting my new toy slowly, and, over time, I stopped using the Sony at all.
Today, I have no idea what happened to that reader, but I do know that in the seven times I’ve moved over the past eight years, I’ve carted around 3 big plastic totes of books, while the Kindle app on my phone is rarely touched. It turns out, I’m not alone. Over the past few years, ebook sales have begun to plunge, while printed book sales have been steadily on the rise. And it’s not just the older generation who appear to have a fondness for the traditional, as around 60% percent of physical book sales are to people under the age of 44.
As today’s marketing industry is increasingly digital, these trends can seem somewhat surprising. It’s rare to see people taking a step back from technological advancements to return to something that appears to be much less convenient. Interestingly enough, however, it’s a trend that seems to be mirrored by other consumer data: according to Deloitte, the vast majority of shoppers prefer to interact with an object in person before purchasing it. That means even in the age of Amazon, most big purchases are made at a brick-and-mortar store. It’s clear that even though our heads spend a lot of time in the metaphorical cloud, today’s generation is still relatively dependent on physical products.
The same is true when it comes to marketing tools. While ever-evolving technology has allowed developers to create suites of tools that have changed the marketing industry forever, physical tool sales have remained somewhat constant. Here’s why:
- Are professionally written and designed
- Utilize consistent message and on-brand storytelling
- Feel like an investment in your prospects
- Make a lasting impression
- Have a greater perceived value
Conversely, digital tools:
- Can lack a personal touch
- Make it easier to “hide” behind a screen and eliminate personal connection
- Can become lost in a sea of digital clutter
- Are prone to technical difficulties that can interfere with use
Driving Digital Sales with Physical Products
It’s long been evident that while digital products aren’t much benefit to consumers looking to purchase a physical tool, companies like Apple have shown that the sale of physical goods can drive digital purchases. So while it may seem counterintuitive, if your digital tools sales are dropping, it may be helpful to introduce a line of complementary physical tools.
Person-to-Person Tools for a Person-to-Person Business
Above all, here’s what you should take away from this information: marketing, and network marketing specifically, has always been about the simple act of connecting one-on-one with the people around us. And physical tools allow us the unique ability to foster a personal connection that can lead to customer awareness, increased sales and, eventually, brand loyalty.
Of course, physical tools aren’t the only useful way to spread your message. Check back next week for part two of this series, where we’ll discuss the benefits of integrating digital tools. Stay tuned for part 2!