Even though it is impossible to have a conversation today with a CMO or other marketing leader that doesn’t address digital strategies and tactics, it is easy to forget that the term “digital marketing” did not even exist 10-15 years ago.
In the rush to drive likes and tweets, pins and favorites, ratings and reviews, marketers often overlook traditional tactics, which are still an effective way to motivate desired behaviors among consumers.
And as the land grab to gain digital mindshare continues to pick up steam, it is becoming ever more important to differentiate your brand by offering compelling solutions to consumers across all channels — both digital and traditional.
In fact, the most effective marketing strategies are those that incorporate both traditional and digital elements into a cohesive package that elicits a desired behavior from the consumer. Here are some tips to ensure that your marketing strategy does not overlook one channel at the expense of the other.
Reframe the Debate
There shouldn’t be a debate between ‘traditional marketing’ and ‘digital marketing’ — this is a false choice. Instead, the conversation needs to shift to focus on how the two channels work together, as well as how marketers can leverage the best both channels have to offer.
A good way to think about traditional marketing is that it presents a highly effective way to reach a broad consumer audience. On the other hand, digital marketing can be used to create a relationship with the consumer that has depth and relevancy. Marketers should use the wider reach traditional marketing channels present to generate broad awareness and drive consumers to the digital experience.
Active vs. Passive Engagement
A good example of the contrasts between traditional and digital can be found when comparing the passive nature of a traditional marketing message to the activity generated by an effective digital marketing campaign. A 30-second television ad always lasts for 30 seconds, and the consumer is most likely passively participating. On the other hand, an effective digital campaign will lead to consumers actively participating in a digital experience for anywhere from two to five minutes.
Marketers can take advantage of the passive experience of viewing a television commercial or flipping past a magazine ad by delivering a specific call to action to the consumer that leads to more active engagement on the brand’s digital channels.
For example, each year companies spend millions of dollars for a 30-second Super Bowl ad to reach a wide and captive audience. By adding a digital call to action–like an invitation to like the brand’s Facebook page to be entered in a giveaway–brands can extend the value of that advertisement and get a broader return on their (very significant) investment. Once that consumer engages online, marketers can provide additional details about the product in the ad, invite them to opt-in for future communication, or offer a digital coupon or promotion in order to encourage the type of active engagement that digital channels have to offer.
Traditional and digital marketing are also coming together in exciting ways in the live events space. While brands have always paid for sponsorship of billboards and signage at a rock concert or sporting event, the emergence of mobile enables marketers to engage consumers while they are experiencing the event. For example, you can take your traditional buys to the next level by including a call to action for a mobile campaign that makes the crowd a part of the event. You can achieve this by asking audience members to submit user-generated content, opt-in for mobile or email communications in the future, or driving them to buy something online.
Boost Relevance by Delivering a Personalized Experience
Traditional marketing is also a very effective way to target customer audiences based on demographic information like location or age, as well as psychographics like interests and lifestyle. However, marketers can take this one step further with digital — as it is the only mass marketing vehicle that enables you to instantly customize the experience and communication in real time.
When a consumer is driven to a landing page for a digital promotion, marketers can use registration information to dynamically make each piece of the experience even more relevant for the consumer on the fly. For example, if you understand that the most important attribute a consumer with children takes into account when buying a car is safety, you have the ability to deliver a personalized message that is more likely to resonate than with a single person who is mostly concerned about price.
Marketers can deliver even more personalized messages on social channels like Facebook, as you have the ability to target consumers based on the information they share. For example, you can supplement your traditional media buys in media properties where consumers are likely to have children by targeting parents on Facebook that have already shared that information.
Digital and Traditional Working Together
While digital has emerged in recent years as a cost-effective way to drive marketing results, it is important for brands to not overlook traditional methods that can help amplify and take their campaigns to the next level. Depending on your specific goals, it is important not look at traditional vs. digital as an “either/or” proposition, and instead look at it as an opportunity to engage consumers holistically.