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What We’ve Learned in Thirty Years as Marketing Professionals.

January 17, 2017

By Larry Burke, CGD

PART ONE OF THREE – The Way it Was:

It was 1985 – “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” thumped on the FM radio, computers were something used by scientists (not creatives), and fax machines were mostly seen in banks and doctors offices. In 1985, the idea of a pocket-sized personal mobile telephone and the wonders promised by a world-wide web of portable computers were the stuff of science fiction novels.

At that time, most of our clients used a traditional outbound mass-media approach to get the word out to potential customers about their products and services. They would stake out a space in the Yellow Pages, announce a grand opening in the local newspaper, or even develop a broadcast campaign, which included TV and radio advertising.

Marketing-Schools.org, provides a clear definition of Outbound Marketing:

“Outbound marketing attempts to initiate a conversation about a product or service by rapidly spreading word of its existence through a variety of traditional marketing methods. Outbound marketing tries to reach consumers through general media advertising as well as through in-person contact. Depending on the venue, the approach can be extremely broad (TV advertising), thoroughly personal (face-to-face meetings), or “impersonally personal” (cold-calling or blanket emails).”

I like to use the analogy of a megaphone – using a low-tech device to amplify and broadcast the client’s message to the crowd. While it can be somewhat targeted, the message is nevertheless cast far and wide to everyone in earshot.

Outbound marketing, by nature, requires solid research data to provide reliable customer intelligence in order to be targeted effectively. It took a lot of expense, creative energy, and persistence to get a campaign off the ground and keep it in the air.

In 1985, a successful creative approach had to interrupt (in a good way) the intended viewer in order to stand out from the crowd and be noticed above the noise of everyone fighting for the customer’s attention.

While this outbound approach is still used successfully by large corporations to reach a national or international audience (think McDonalds, Toyota, Walmart), today’s case for an outbound-heavy marketing approach to promote a small to medium-sized business would pose a challenge to achieve returns on such an investment in research, creative development, and mass media placement.

Stay tuned for:
PART TWO OF THREE – What’s Different Now

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