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Old-School Marketing Methods That Time Forgot But Still Work

Marketing has undergone a sea of change over the past couple of decades. New-age marketing concepts like influencer marketing, multichannel marketing, data-driven marketing, and “martech” (marketing technology) have risen to take center stage. They’re powerful, effective, and in keeping with the times – which is why companies are investing millions in leveraging them.

If you’re a business manager or owner who’s interested in impactful, highly-effective marketing methods, new-age marketing is well-worth exploring. Influencer marketing alone, for example, generates significant results quickly: According to Shopify, businesses are making $5.20 (and more) for every $1 they spend on it.

ClicksTalent connects you to high-quality social media influencers who you can team up with to expand your outreach, raise your profile, and grow your business.

What happened to traditional marketing?

In this new marketing era, have traditional marketing methods – think TV ads, billboards, and direct mail – gone the way of the dodo? Nope, far from it! Not only do these methods still alive and kicking, but they’re also arguably just as impactful as new-age marketing strategies. Old-school marketing is solid and “real” in a way new-age marketing can’t always be. It leaves a lasting impression and gives your audience something tangible to remember you by.

That means when you’re designing your marketing strategy, you shouldn’t let traditional marketing methods fall by the wayside. The savviest companies often use a combination of new-age and old-school marketing to derive results – like pairing up social media ads with real-world signage. It’s something you should look into doing too.

In this mini-guide, we take a look at some traditional marketing methods that can get you results, whether by themselves or in combination with a digital marketing method:

Signage (Billboards, wall signs, and more)

Little is as iconic, visible, or memorable as a giant billboard that you drive under on your way to work every day. Signs are impactful, high-profile, and cost-efficient. With good signage, customers can tell at a glance what your company is all about. Some common signage examples are billboards, sidewalk signs, pylons, window graphics, vehicle graphics, and banners. You can use digital tools like Canva to help you create attractive signage. Take inspiration from existing brands when designing yours. Make the slogan clear, concise, and catchy. Use company-related colors and feature your logo for the best results.

Business Cards

Business cards remain a potent marketing tool as well as an essential networking accessory. A well-designed, classy card makes you come across as credible and professional. For every 2,000 business cards you hand out, your company’s sales increase by 2.5 percent. They’re more visible than email and give customers and clients something physical to hold on to. You can create your own business cards online with digital tools. It’s easy and you get professional-grade results. You use pre-made templates as the base and customize them by adding images, colors, text, and fonts of your choice.

Direct mail

Direct mail is the old-school equivalent of email marketing. You send written correspondence to engage with customers and get them to do business with you. Some popular examples of direct mail are letters, postcards, catalogs, and marketing mail. Marketers often “scope out” the lead beforehand so they can personalize the mail. Postcards are considered the “best” mail method because they are small, attractive, cheap, as well as personalized. Much like business cards, you can design and print out postcards by dozens.

Handouts (Flyers, brochures, and more)

Handouts are printed, typically one-page documents that you give to customers such as pamphlets, flyers, and brochures. Retailers and restaurants, especially, favor handout advertising. They feature snazzy photos of their products and pair them up with catchy slogans, attractive discounts, and memorable graphics. It gives customers a chance to explore the business’ products (or services) in a fun, interactive way.

Community outreach

Community outreach involves making a splash in your local community in various ways. This strategy has long been a mainstay of small businesses that are often local fixtures. It involves attending local events, partnering up with local organizations, giving to charity, volunteering time or services, and generally helping the local community out. It generates networking opportunities, word-of-mouth advertising, and a lot of trust and goodwill locally, which benefits the business in various ways.

Trade shows, presentations, and other events

Joining a trade show or hosting a live presentation are both powerful methods to allow customers to experience your product or services first-hand. People often still attend trade shows to gain knowledge as well as see what’s new in their favorite industry. By participating in a trade show or hosting a live event, you get access to a ready-made audience base that should be easier to convert.

Freebies and discounts

Everyone loves freebies. Offering freebies and discounts can be a significant investment, but it spreads the word about your brand and gives you access to numerous new leads. You must have a goal when you offer freebies, though – simply giving stuff away and hoping for extra business won’t be enough. Sleeknote suggests targeting a specific segment, trying the discount or freebie with an overarching marketing plan, and following up. Possible goals could be generating new networking opportunities, drumming up repeat business, or finding a foothold in a new market.

Traditional media adverts

Advertisements on traditional media channels – like newspapers, magazines, and TVs – are very effective. These mediums are linked to prestige, meaning companies featured here are seen as well-to-do as well as successful. Getting featured on such a channel can do wonders for your prestige. Furthermore, these mediums are seen as extra-effective in the engagement department. For example, television ads are captivating because of their audio-visual nature. You may be able to get featured in a newspaper or magazine for free by approaching a journalist (or blogger for the digital equivalent).

Cold calling (or cold messaging)

Cold calling doesn’t get as much airtime as before because it’s seen as ineffective and has a high annoyance factor – but it’s still very much a valid strategy. The only caveat, though, is that it’s only worthwhile if you “preheat” your target, says Leadfeeder. That means approaching the customer beforehand – through flyers, email marketing, or other ways – and then picking up the phone and giving them a call or sending them a personal message to build a personal relationship.


Old-school marketing isn’t going anywhere and should be a part of every company’s marketing drive. Learning which traditional marketing methods work best for your business will likely take some time and experimenting, though. You can use marketing software (like a CMS) to help you track your campaign progress, analyze results, and keep improving.


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