Grande-Bretagne

Online or Offline? That oughtn’t be the question

While digital technology is growing, brand managers should not exclude offline marketing. Integration is vital, says Nick Suckley

While digital technology is growing, brand managers should not exclude offline marketing. Integration is vital, says Nick Suckley

The influence of digital technology is growing.Consumers lead multichannel lives after all (theywatch TV, see billboards, surf the web and read thepress) and it’s up to brands to reflect this behaviour inthe way they communicate with people.

Accountability
New technology has had a profound effect on the waymarketers behave. It’s brought a degree of accountabilityundreamt of even 10 years ago. It’s opened newchannels that didn’t even exist and it’s enabled peopleto talk (and sometimes bite) back to brands in a waythat brands are still struggling to deal with. So, the last10 years have seen a seismic shift in the relationshipbetween people and the products they buy.

However, it’s also introduced a few myths alongthe way. It is true that digital marketing is accountablein a way that other media are not. That does come ata price as many companies generate so much data, itis impossible to isolate what is important from whatis not. Most data is irrelevant and gets inthe way of finding real meaning. Worsestill, digital marketing has benefitedfrom a lack of comparable informationfrom traditional marketing to the extentthat money is spent in channels that“work” at the expense of other channelslike TV and press. Now, we all know thatTV and other offline media drive search,for example, but the lack of data makesit difficult to prove.

Digital marketing isn’t especially cheap either. If you compare a standardmeasure of CPT (the cost of reaching1000 people) you’ll see that traditionalmedia are often cheaper. Search, which isbought per click, often has a CPT of tensor even hundreds of Euros, compared to traditional media where CPTs barely reach double figures. It makes one wonder just howmuch more two lines of text on a search page areworth, compared to a full page ad or a TV spot.

The fact we can track sales in one area distortsthe overall picture, even though both contribute. So,accountability and cost are problems; what else isgoing on?

People are still the same
What has changed is that the process of buyingproducts (which we used to treat as predictable andlinear) is now visibly more complex and far moredifficult to predict. People consume so many moretypes of media that the biggest challenge facingmarketers is understanding where to communicate(and in which mix) to achieve their goals.

So, understanding your consumer lies at the heartof how to get the right balance of old and new. Arecent IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising)study showed how multimedia communicationis effective and we believe that taking a portfolioinvestment-type approach is sensible to spread risk.Don’t rely on one channel (consumers don’t); ratherreflect your consumers’ lifestyles in the way you talkto them. So, if they are heavily into social media thenperhaps so should you. If they love magazines, thenthat too. Better still, use a mixture.

Appetite For Risk
For me, getting it wrong could mean doing too littleas well as blindly jumping on the latest new trend.Up until now this new technology has been limitedto web type media but the influence is growing; intime all media will be enhanced by digital technology.Successful companies will orient themselves aroundanswering the following questions:-Which channels will best help me achieve my goals?-Where are my consumers and what are they doing?-Are my competitors active here already?-Do I have the capacity in my business to deal withit all?-Does my company’s risk profile mean it’s likely to dotoo much (or too little)?

The adoption by marketers of channels like search,YouTube, social media and mobile were all precededby mass consumer adoption. It’s clear that consumerswill lead the way for brands and it is up to companiesto understand this and apply it to their business. It isequally risky to do nothing in the face of overwhelmingchange as it is to do too much. Understand yourconsumer and they will show the way. -

Nick Suckley Managing Partner agenda21 digital limited

 

<img1022|left>Un article issu de INFO Magazine,
Février / Mars 2011
une publication de la Chambre de commerce et d’industrie française en Grande Bretagne

Hannah Meloul, Editorial Assistant, INFO Magazine
Tel : +44 207 092 66 48
Site : www.ccfgb.co.uk - @ : [hmeloul@ccfgb.co.uk->hmeloul@ccfgb.co.uk]

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