You will often hear it said that digital marketing is the future, and up to a point this is true. Certainly online is where the most exciting developments in interactive marketing and precision consumer targeting are taking place. But it’s also vitally important not to overlook the ongoing relevance of traditional media to any successful campaign.
Mediums like television, print, billboards, sponsorship and so on are most effective when used alongside a digital campaign and vice versa. This isn’t about traditional vs. digital marketing, but about using both forms to their best advantage in a unified, consistent promotional drive. In the 21st century, there’s no doubt that digital marketing is the most flexible and has the greatest capacity to engage the consumer in new and exciting ways. But you still have to get the consumer to your digital platform in the first place. This is where traditional media comes in, which despite its limitations, still has a far broader reach than digital.
Use print, TV, posters and the like to amplify your online message and drive customers towards your website, where you can grab them with interactive content or harness information about them that will allow you to further personalize your marketing strategy. This goes beyond adding up ‘likes’ and tweets in favor of a holistic approach to building up a brand that customers will recognize and engage with both online and in the physical ‘real world’ too.
As Seen on TV is a pioneer of multichannel marketing. Initially combining television ‘infomercials’ with telephone sales, they soon became a recognized household name, selling a wide range of goods to a nationwide market. In the late nineties, they expanded online and are now a global multi-vendor marketplace, incorporating television, telesales, and online and brick-and-mortar retail outlets. Using TV advertising to drive traffic to an online site has proven a highly effective way of stimulating customer awareness and buying activity in the modern age. Once directed to the site, customers often make multiple purchases and return frequently.
Call to action
Traditional media marketing like a print/billboard advertisement or a TV commercial tends to be a passive experience. This can be transformed by including a call to action that drives viewers to your online campaign, where they become active participants. For instance, the offline ad may begin a compelling narrative that is only resolved online. Even better, consumers may be invited to decide the outcome of the narrative themselves, thus further engaging them with your brand. Other calls to action could include a giveaway, competition, online discount code or inclusive experience that requires the customer to share details or opt in for further communications.
URLs or QR codes on a billboard poster are one way to take advantage of consumers’ mobile technology and drive them to your site, but the take-up rate is often less than it could be because of the amount of effort required on the part of the consumer. More effective is to ask them to enter a memorable catchphrase into a search engine for more information. This should immediately take them to your campaign landing page. The initial offline ad must be intriguing enough to make them want to know more, and search engine optimization is of course vital. A pay-per-click campaign can and should support this, but is no substitute for organic positioning.
The landing page should include a prominent link to share via social media such as Facebook. This will help build an organic, interactive demographic and will also boost your search ranking. The moment when consumers start marketing your brand themselves through social media is the hoped-for next step for any multichannel campaign. Social media is great for making consumers feel like ‘part of the family’ and allows regular informal updates that can be specifically targeted according to their shared personal information.
Although we all spend an increasing amount of time online, traditional offline marketing is still important in terms of building trust and connectivity in relation to a brand. Sponsorship of music and sporting events, for instance, connects consumers to a wider range of experiences via your brand, increasing their sense of identification and loyalty.
Physical banners, posters and even TV ads convey a reassuring solidity that digital marketing often lacks. But this sense of trust can only be maintained by pushing a consistent message and aesthetic across all channels. Your traditional and digital campaigns should complement rather than contradict each other. In fact, they should be different strands of the same campaign, supporting each other effectively at all times.