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James Parnwell

James Parnwell

Old School Marketing, the Latest Way  

The world of online marketing may seem like a minefield, but it really isn’t.  

Have a think about how you used to market your business. Before the internet took over the world and changed everything, what did you do to make sure potential customers could find you? Where did you advertise? And how did you keep in touch with current customers?  

Pretend it’s 1988, you’re wearing a Fluro hyper-colour t-shirt, Nike hi-tops and you’re listening to Kylie Minogue (or Guns n Roses). Your favourite TV show is Different Strokes and you spend an abnormal amount of time practicing ALF’s mating call. Your phone has a big long curly cord connected to a dial looking thingy on the wall and you were convinced that hoverboards would be a real thing by 2015. 

You don’t need me to tell you that a lot has changed! Here’s how old school marketing looks today:  

Online Marketing

Google AdWords: Customers used to find you in the Yellow Pages, right? These days, potential clients will search the internet when they’re looking for a particular product or service. You can make sure your listing is close to the top of search results, kind of like taking out an ad in the Yellow Pages. Remember Jan? (Not HAPPY Jan!) Not placing Google Ads is just as bad as missing the old school Yellow Pages deadline (Poor Jan!).  

SEO: ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ which basically means that we do all sorts of fancy things behind the scenes to make sure potential clients see your company before they see your competitors, when they search online for your product or service. Again, this is much like taking out a nice big, full colour ad in the Yellow Pages.  

Social Media

LinkedIn: You used to have a Rolodex of all your business contacts, right? Just think of LinkedIn as your Rolodex. All your business contacts and connections in one place, with the added bonus of being able to keep up to date with any career changes they may have, opportunities which may interest you or interesting articles they may post. Pretty handy!  

Facebook: Many of your clients would have previously found you via word of mouth – now they find you on Facebook. By creating a Facebook Page for your business, you place your business in front of potential customers who are searching for a particular product or service. Current customers post reviews on your Page and can easily recommend your business to friends. It’s old school word-of-mouth marketing, the latest way.  

Twitter: Say what you need to in only 280 characters. It’s like writing a post-it note and leaving it somewhere for everyone to see. You might post an inspiring quote for the day, a quick DIY tip or even a thought-provoking statement. You’d be surprised how many conversations can be started by these short Twitter posts (tweets)! 

YouTube: Remember when you had to sit by the TV and wait to press record on the VCR as soon as your favourite show started? Well, YouTube has changed it all. At the click of a button, we can access music videos, lectures, even some programs and documentaries, for free.  This is fantastic for business owners who have product they can film or talk about to camera. Almost like an old fashioned TV ad – but free to post! 

Instagram: When you’re watching TV, the ads roll by and you’re tuned out for most of them, waiting for your TV show to start – until an ad catches your eye and you find yourself watching the ad, considering their product. Well, Instagram is a bit like that. It’s a photo-based social media platform, so users simply scroll through photos people have posted, until something catches their eye and they click through to learn more. Instagram is a very aesthetically based platform and works well for companies with products that are nice to look at eg. Restaurants, fashion brands, florists.    


Email automation: Remember the days of sending newsletters to clients in the mail? Meet Email Automation (ie. Mailchimp), a program which helps you send regular newsletter-style emails to your customers. This is where you show potential clients what you do and make offers they just can’t refuse! You can also keep current clients updated with what’s happening in the business and any specials they might be interested in. These ‘newsletters’ can be sent directly to your customers’ email addresses and they can also go on your social media profiles. Clever, right?   


Sometimes it feels like everything has changed, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is people. We all still have the same needs and wants, desires and fears, hopes and aspirations. I read the following quote recently… 

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households.  

I have heard many people describe millennials this way. The problem is that this quote was written by Socrates in in 400 BC. We would like to think that now we all have smart phones in our hands, we have somehow evolved to a higher life form, but I think we are kidding ourselves. If kids haven’t changed in over 2 Millenia, I doubt a decade of smart phone usage has made much of dent. 

When it comes to marketing, we need to consider the person that we are talking to and try to understand them. We then need to create a message that resonates with this person. This is Old School marketing. Next, we need to use all the latest technology to communicate to them. The fundamentals haven’t change much at all, it’s just that we need to use different vehicles to carry the message these days. 

I would suggest that we don’t get too carried away with the bright and shiny new tech that we hear about. Just keep talking to your customers and trying to understand them whilst adjusting your message consistently to speak to them more clearly. This is the heart of doing Old School Marketing, The Latest Way. 

James Parnwell
James Parnwell

James is the Managing Director and resident strategist at TheOnlineCo. He is clever and creative with a flair for making complex things sound simple. He has been in the marketing game for over 2 decades and has watched the landscape slowly shift. James has his finger on the pulse of every aspect within TheOnlineCo, meeting with all clients as well as every core team member and strategising a specific plan tailored to each client.

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