Dynamic Business asked experts for their thoughts on the right balance between digital and traditional marketing efforts.
Cat Prestipino, CMO, Employment Hero:
I would question what is traditional marketing anymore? More and more channels are now incorporating the fundamentals of digital, such as granular targeting and reporting. Even linear television – the stalwart of traditional marketing – is moving in a more digital direction with Foxtel now selling audiences rather than slots.
You need to consider your business and your audience. If your sell is a highly personalised, strategic sell then I would suggest leaning on more offline tactics (like direct mail, which I have always seen incredibly effective in opening the doors of large organisations). Traditional media like television and radio are typically mass reach, which can equate to expensive with high potential for wastage. If your business goes for mass reach or has larger deal sizes, then it makes sense to invest more in acquiring and servicing the client.
However, when it comes to small businesses that are more sensitive to wasted media or have a niche market, it might make sense to rely on more digital tactics that can be highly targeted and where they have more control over budgets.
Kirsty Jackson, CMO, Cohort Go:
Combining traditional and digital marketing activities into your overall strategy can offer many benefits for any brand. The truth is, not everyone is online at all times, and traditional marketing activities can be extremely effective in supporting a digital campaign to reach a wider audience.
The trick to striking a balance between both forms of communication is to know your audience: how do they prefer to consume content? Where, and at what time of the day? For our international student market, we know they prefer online content consumption, but still make decisions with the input of parents and education agents. This is why we use traditional marketing activities, such as print ads in study guides, to bolster our digital campaigns. This dual approach allows us to craft campaigns that offer a seamless customer experience across both traditional and digital outlets; closing the loop and widening the reach of our message.
Tracy Hall, Marketing Director, GoDaddy ANZ:
For consumers in 2018 there is no longer a traditional path to purchase. Marketing has endless possibilities, so try not to limit yourself by separating traditional and digital – customers don’t think like this and neither should we. It all lies in the execution of the two that will help a business see results.
Having clear business objectives and knowing your audience can help you find the right balance of marketing platforms. If your objective is to get people to view, click-through and make a purchase on the spot, then a digital marketing strategy could be the way to go. But if marketing for brand recall is more important to your business as customers only make one purchase every so often, traditional marketing for brand awareness and recall over time is likely a better option.
Karin Ingram, Marketing Manager, Kwik Kopy:
It requires on average seven touchpoints to inform and inspire a customer to make a purchase. This is why any sound marketing strategy will typically involve multiple mediums, across both traditional and digital marketing channels.
To ensure you’re getting the balance right, knowing who your target audience are and what mediums they consume – whether that be Snapchat, your website, or newspapers – is absolutely critical.
Traditional marketing strategies are still highly effective. TV and radio advertising reach a high volume of people, and print media like banners, signage, flyers and business cards give tangibility to your campaigns.
Digital marketing strategies allow you to drill into the data about your target audience and target accordingly through websites, email marketing and social media.
Both channels certainly have their place. The most important thing is to ensure that these channels are integrated, that your message and branding is consistent, and that you are guided first and foremost by your customer.
Christ Morfis, General Manager, Hypetap:
When we’re talking about traditional media, what we’re actually referring to is a “broadcast mentality”. I.e. using advertising and messages that have mass appeal via mass distribution channels. This has and continues to be a great way for marketers to build reach quickly and efficiently. However, the rise of digital platforms has resulted in the mass fragmentation of audiences. People are seeking out content that is specific to their interest and more importantly, consumed at will. The expectation from consumers is ‘I want my content this way and I will consume it when it suits me’.
This new world has given rise to aggregation, data and targeting tools, which are replacing mass media and helping brands talk to their audiences in highly personalised ways.
But ultimately, you need both strategies to have a successful marketing campaign. In the influencer space, we find campaigns deliver the best results when there is pre-existing awareness. This allows us to target specific communities with bespoke narratives that are more likely to provide cut through.
Striking a balance is really about planning for both. Scream from the rooftops but sit down with your consumer and talk to them as their customer journey only begins after awareness.
Lexi Airey, Chief Customer Officer, Gateway Bank:
Knowing the right balance depends on knowing your customer journeys, knowing how they feel and where they most rely on information at each point. Gateway use a diversity of digital and traditional techniques, and as a small, customer-owned bank with a fraction of the budget of the big banks, every penny counts. We can’t afford not to understand our customer. We use digital for niche marketing and recently (successfully – phew) counted on “going viral” with our first foray into video. However, ultimately, the most effective marketing is the most traditional method – word of mouth. We know that younger people may do a lot of digital surfing on financial services, but on a large life event, like buying a house, they are most likely to watch and listen to what their friends and family do. (Even if they won’t admit it!)
Ben Goodman, Co-founder, Pod & Parcel:
As a product business with the bulk of our sales happening online, we’ve invested heavily in digital marketing strategies. We focus heavily on Instagram, leveraging social media influencers to promote our biodegradable coffee pods, which has been hugely successful. That said our efforts haven’t been solely online. We had a stand at the Finders Keepers market this month which aligned well with our audience and gave people the opportunity to try our coffee. Whether you’re a product or service business, you need to find what works for you and where your marketing dollars are best spent. Keep learning and exploring new approaches.
Alex Alexandrou, General Manager, Reckon:
Traditional marketing channels such as print and broadcast advertising have a proven track record and are likely to give you return on investment, providing you partner with the right organisation. That said, these avenues are often expensive and quite narrow in scope, meaning those with limited funds should only invest if they are sure it is right for their business.
Digital channels are arguably less predictable, but they are considerably more flexible. Advertisers via the likes of Facebook and Google can constantly tweak their level of investment, while using analytics to understand how a campaign has worked. The malleability of these channels mean start-ups can get strong results if assessed and managed properly.
Of course, the audience is also a major consideration. If you are an over 60s travel agent, Snapchat or Instagram may not be the best route to go down. Metrics should also be set up to define your business goals. This could include a specific focus on improving brand awareness or increasing sales.
Regardless of your chosen mix, SEO should be a key consideration. The importance of search means any marketing campaign will be jeopardised if people can’t find you online.
James Gilbert, Marketing Director APAC, HubSpot:
As new marketing trends and techniques pop up and transform the way we attract, connect with, and market to our audiences, simply keeping up with the changes isn’t quite enough. To succeed in this fast-paced marketing world, you have to get ahead of the game. The notion of striking a balance between traditional and digital marketing strategies is an outdated school of thought. Marketing strategies should be focused on the customer and not the channel.
Marketing success can be achieved by adopting an inbound approach which means doing business in a human and helpful way, by creating meaningful, one-to-one relationships with strangers, prospects, or customers. Today, attracting isn’t just the role of marketing. Engaging isn’t just the role of sales. Delight isn’t just the role of services. To create relationships that last and customers who stay, every customer-facing team needs to focus on how they can contextually attract, engage, and delight people to continue to provide value and build trust in your brand.
Ultimately, marketing efforts should be all about adding value at every stage in your customer’s journey with you. As long as you’re doing this and seeing meaningful growth, don’t fret about ‘striking the balance’.
David Low, Head of Marketing, Employsure.
It’s not always necessary to have a balance between traditional and digital marketing strategies. However, it all depends on your customers and their typical path to purchase (or goal you want to achieve).
When you understand the customer’s path to making a purchase, then you can assess the touchpoints and appropriate marketing channels – traditional or digital.
If you are taking a blended approach with traditional and digital, the goal is to engage your audience at the right moment in that customer journey. Then measure, assess, and recalibrate the mix to ensure the balance is meeting your intended goals.
Socialbakers VP for JAPAC, Charles Tidswell:
Traditional marketing, such as print media, TV ads and billboards, is still very powerful when it comes to building brand awareness. Having said that, a huge opportunity lies on the side of social media in the digital space, because it’s very effective, very measurable and can be incredibly cost effective. Social media gives marketers a better opportunity to look at the numbers and the data and understand what’s working versus traditional marketing which has always been a bit of black magic to try to understand in terms of calculating the ROI.
Kim Verbrugghe, Head of Strategy, Orchard:
One methodology that easily combines both traditional and digital marketing strategies is customer journey mapping. Its aim is to build channel-neutral solutions that are focused on solving customer pain points, and it does not discriminate between online and offline channels. Arguably, customer journey mapping is the most comprehensive tool in terms of bringing together the path to purchase, the user experience, front stage channels, back stage channels, and innovation ideas all in the one format.
The right balance between online and offline channels is then defined in a case-by-case ideation round, with the best channel being the one that solves the user problem in the most user-friendly manner (i.e. it meets my needs, it is easy, and it is enjoyable).
There’s no silver bullet target in terms of which marketing solutions should be offline or online; each solution should be judged based on its unique advantages and disadvantages. In certain cases, digital might NOT be the solution.