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  • The days of demarcation between brick and mortar and ecommerce are passé. Even though some stores might still identify themselves as offline and online, their marketing campaigns certainly do not as more and more businesses are going for integrated marketing campaigns. The gap between online and offline marketing is slowly and steadily blurring and a major reason for that is the advent of social media. Nowadays more and more offline stores are advertising themselves on social media platforms to create a buzz about the products.

    However, it would not be wise to write off the offline advertising since it directly affects online marketing initiatives. In order to be successful online, marketers must understand how customers are engaging with their brand offline. According to a 2013 study by Vibes consumers use their smart phones in-store to shop more than ever and are not afraid to do product research while shopping. 36% consumers use their mobile devices to shop more in-store than they did two years ago.

    Promotional events at offline stores need not be planned in advance. Incase of a slow week or less footfalls, an event or a sale can be planned and the same can be notified through various mediums like social media, mobile or through emails. In the same way, an online store can create a buzz about its product after all 40% of online searches make a purchase after being influenced by an offline channel.

    Offline advertising has a direct effect on the online marketing initiatives. For a sucessful online campaign, it is imperative for the marketeers to understand how users are engaging with the brand offline.

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    According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) with more and more people accessing the internet through mobile phones, the Internet user base in India is projected to touch 243 million by June 2014.Thats a growth of 28% YOY.

    A market research firm Mediacells has found that the smartphone population of India is expected to double this year, going from 156 million to 364 million and that it will surpass the US in smartphone usage by the end of 2014.

    These figures are a landmine of opportunity for online marketing. With the customers relying increasingly on their smartphones to research and review products, find deals, shop etc it’s time for marketers-offline and online alike, to fine tune their internet strategies to make sure they are providing valuable customer experience which would help them in garnering a loyal customer base along with revenue. Miss the boat and be ready to risk losing customers to the guy who embraced online marketing.

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    Many marketers think that they need to make a choice between offline and online marketing methods, but the fact is blending one into the other and creating a market strategy is the way to progress in this digital era.

    So, how do you bridge the gap between offline and online marketing? Share with us your thoughts, ideas and strategies.