Is Physical Marketing really making a comeback?

Physical Marketing

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They say what goes around comes around, and it appears that the old way of marketing goods and services are also making a comeback, although some of them have never really gone away.

An article in Marketing Week has reported that many marketing people are returning to “Physical marketing,” and by that, they mean marketing that people can touch.

This is good news for all the people involved in “physical marketing”

The head of marketing at Warner Leisure Hotels, Marc Caulfield, says the importance of physical marketing in their business is because most of their customers are over 55. He goes on to say:

“Their behaviour is firmly rooted in the physical world with 85% of all holidays booked on the phone or at one of our 13 hotels, and just 15% on the Warner website,” he says. “Digital performance goes from strength to strength with ongoing optimisation, but door drops have seen a year-on-year improvement in performance of 39% and direct mail by 35%.”

Perhaps, as Marc says, it may be a generational thing and maybe the next generation or the one after that will embrace digital marketing, and we will see the end of physical marketing.

But before we get too morose about a future without physical marketing, perhaps we should look at what many prophesiers of doom seem to ignore.

Physical marketing is not the only thing making a comeback.

Sales of vinyl records are increasing despite the fact that the MP3 player was supposed to have killed them off.

vinyl records growth

Book sales are also increasing even though there are many ways to read them electronically now.

Who remembers Ceefax?


Ceefax was supposed to be the death knell of newspapers. We were told that people would get all the news they wanted from looking at a miserable grey screen with dodgy text.

Well, Ceefax has bitten the dust, while a new newspaper, New Day, has recently hit the streets.

I am willing to bet it is not just the over 50’s who are buying vinyl discs, books and newspapers.

Why are these things making a comeback, and what is it the doom-mongers have missed?

The answer is tangibility. People like to touch and feel things.

You cannot touch and feel or read the sleeve notes of downloaded music. A book with an intriguing cover holding numerous pages feel much warmer and interesting than the cold feel of a Kindle.

touch and feel thingsCeefax could not be folded and tucked under people’s arms, ready to be read at their time and place of choosing.

When people pick up and read a leaflet or a letter, they believe the message to be true and can be trusted more than a detached e-mail or text message.

People in the direct mail business will tell you that online sales soar once a catalogue or brochure has hit the customer’s doormat.

Door drop leaflets do the same for small, medium, and large enterprises.

A well-designed leaflet with a compulsive call to action will have the prospective customers hitting their phones and firing up their computers ready to order.

This is why Domino’s Pizza sends out millions of leaflets every year. They work!

So is “physical Marketing” making a comeback, or has it never really gone away?

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