Media matters


Senior Account Director Steve Manser grabs a stong coffee and considers a response to a question currently being banded around the industry: “Has the digital revolution totally killed off traditional marketing channels such as DM or print advertising?”

For me, the key words here are integration, evolution and consideration.

Integration

Our world and society as a whole encompasses a variety of integrated messages, integrated people, integrated wants, needs and tastes… and integrated conversations. So it seems logical to follow with a consideration for an integrated tactical approach to become part of those conversations and communicate with people.

It’s about using integrated means for integrated people – and so that dictates that print and DM needs to be utilised alongside the digital aspects of campaigns in order to be the most effective. This is borne out by examples of brands that have neatly used traditional means to support digital executions and enhance their campaign themes, as well as the explosion of augmented reality applications being delivered in the print medium.

Evolution

Darwin would have been a great marketing strategist – as he totally understood the notion of evolution and the importance of changing over time to adapt to the shifting surroundings and situations to remain successful (or in his biological sphere of influence, to stay alive). Digital media (online, mobile or interactive) has undoubtedly revolutionised the industry and offers exciting ways to connect and engage with brands.

But the traditional methods have adapted well in order to keep up, which is a positive effect of the ‘bar-raising’ digital revolution and ensures all mediums work hard to find new efficiencies and methods to engage with markets. DM is now far more targeted and personalised, with innovative and creative approaches that utilise the increased resources and knowledge of various habits, engagement and insights of consumers.

Better preparation and leaner, meaner approaches have made for more effective campaigns that deliver what consumers want and importantly, when they want.

Printed advertising too has evolved to work alongside digital activities (integrated) as well as embracing the positive aspects of the medium – such as trust, offering in depth information, recognised opinions, extensive reach and application – whilst minimising the negatives: relevancy, media value for money, and environmental concerns.

Naysayers and so-called ‘futurologists’ often overlook that every revolution (media or otherwise) brings with it a wide range of new opportunities, challenges and shifting expectations – and invariably those involved tend to adapt successfully and become as important as ever.

Whether it’s DM that incorporates dynamic promotional tools, print advertising that ties in with informed editorial content, cinema airtime packages that offer experiential elements or outdoor media that ‘hits’ people when they are most accessible, traditional media that can adapt within a digital revolution is much better placed to serve a purpose that digital cannot offer alone.

A welcome approach to things comes via the IPA and Future Foundation with a reclassification of media definitions, as it embodies the true spirit of evolving not only how all brands interact and communicate with people more effectively, but also recognises the evolved routes used to target those people in the most productive way. For example, they recommend using ‘Named’ instead of DM, ‘Screen’ for digital, ‘two-way’ for interactive and ‘not-named’ for TV or print and so demonstrates an understanding of the new thinking that traditional media must undertake.

Consideration

Finally, we should never forget to think about the wider market, including those people who (amazing how it seems) are not fully fledged smart phone users and avid consumers of digital content. Indeed, a quick peek at the statistics shows a high level of customers have mobile devices with no SMART capability, as well as the proportionately small (but still valid) number of people with little or no access to decent internet services either at home or work.

When you then throw in the fact that rightly or wrongly, printed materials are much more trusted than their digital or online counterparts because of the growth of unmetered user generated content, it’s clear that digital cannot offer a one-size-fits-all solution for a majority of brands.

Well not just yet anyhow.

So yes, digital methods are great for engagement, measurement and creating cost effective campaigns – but they cannot truly ‘kill off’ more traditional media just yet, as they still need each other to engage, enthuse and instigate conversations between brands and customers, all of whom have their own preferences and paths to purchase that cross over a variety of media.

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So, what do you think?

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