Integrated Marketing Campaigns: Traditional and Digital Communication Channel Success
This year (2020), we have seen an unprecedented shift in consumer behavior due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Gone are the days where marketing campaigns are based primarily on traditional marketing such as TV, print and radio ads, and direct mailers. We now welcome the digital equivalents of the once known traditional media communications, digital media channels.
Of course, this shift in consumer behavior does not suggest that traditional communication channels are dead. Traditional communication still plays a vital role in the lives of consumers. Likewise, digital communication channels are just as essential if not more essential than traditional media. This brings us to our main point, the key to a successful marketing campaign is to integrate the right balance of traditional and digital communication channels.
Digital Media Channels
Digital Media Channels are online communication techniques marketers use to achieve brand awareness, familiarity, and favorability. Digital media is utilized to influence purchase intent by encouraging consumers to visit and engage with a company’s website, products, or brand with an end goal of persuading them to make a purchase either on or offline. Popular digital media channel techniques include the use of digital content and ads on social media platforms, display ads, pay-per-click ads, Google Ads, Search Engine Optimization, email marketing, online PR, online partnerships, offline communications, social media marketing, and more.
Digital media channels support communications with consumers across the purchase cycle in many ways, including generating awareness, lead generation, sales, immediate customer service, and the ability to build meaningful relationships. Digital media channels introduced a new form of communication that utilizes a customer-centric approach and encourages interaction, customer engagement, two-way communication, and personalization.
Traditional Media Channels
Traditional Media Channels are offline communication techniques that have been used by marketers for many years to reach a broad audience of consumers to motivate them to make a purchase through the use of print advertising, television and radio commercials, billboards, and more. These marketing methods use to dominate the marketing industry until recently, when digital media channels were introduced, forcing marketers to evolve as consumers’ expectations evolved and adapted to the new norms.
An example of an industry that still commonly utilizes traditional marketing is the Real Estate industry. Real estate brokerages often publish print advertisements, newspaper and magazine ads, and participate in direct mailers. But over time, as older generations phase-out, the industry has felt the need to shift their marketing methods to meet consumers’ needs.
While traditional media channels use to dominate the marketing industry, in recent years, traditional media channels’ popularity has declined due to new digital practices, causing consumers to be less receptive to traditional marketing by allowing them to ignore traditional methods. New technology such as Netflix and Hulu enable consumers to skip television commercials, and radio stations are becoming more unnecessary due to Spotify and Apple Music, which results in fewer opportunities for traditional marketing to be seen/heard.
Traditional Media Channels Vs. Digital Media Channels
This poses the question: What is the main difference between digital and traditional media?
Ultimately, the main difference between digital and traditional media channels is the medium in which an audience of consumers is made aware of a marketing message. Traditional marketing communication channels utilize traditional media outlets such as newspapers, magazines, and TV. In contrast, digital marketing communication channels use digital media outlets such as websites and social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Further, digital media is typically more cost-efficient than traditional media.
Digital media has become an essential part of our everyday lives, allowing marketers several opportunities to reach us through touchpoints. If you conduct a Google search for a new set of sheets, it’s highly likely you will soon be seeing advertisements for several different brands of sheets. Because we have come to use the internet throughout most of our days, digital media marketing has increasingly become more popular simply because it’s easier for marketers to reach consumers. Thus they take advantage by integrating their traditional marketing communications and digital channels.
Which Channel Should You Use?
Given the many differences between the two types of media channels, marketers need to utilize an integrated marketing approach. While it is well-known that the marketing industry and consumers are shifting more towards digital media channels, consumers still crave variety and the ability to disconnect from their digital world. Many consumers still watch regular television on cable, still read the newspaper with their morning coffee cup, and read billboards as they drive down the highway to work.
So, the answer to which channel you should use is ultimately both! If traditional marketing is still successfully working for your company or industry, why discontinue your campaigns? And while there may not be a need to quit your traditional methods, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t incorporate digital media marketing into your campaigns, because you absolutely should!
Incorporating traditional and digital media channels into your marketing campaign is becoming the new powerhouse for reaching consumers throughout their customer journey. So choose a healthy balance between the two mediums and create an integrated marketing campaign that results in the outcome you desire but start to prioritize digital media over your traditional media efforts because it’s only a matter of time before it’s phased on entirely.
Integrated Real Estate Marketing
Circling back to the Real Estate example used earlier, the real estate industry must utilize both traditional and digital media methods in its marketing strategy for many reasons.
First, purchasing a property is a big deal. It is not a decision consumers take lightly. Having the ability to hold a paper copy of a listing flyer or brochure provides comfort to a consumer and allows them to review physical documentation of the product before they make a purchase. For listing agents, having a pen or magnetic refrigerator calendar with their face and contact information on it are methods that still work today because these items are still being looked at or used almost every day, which shows off contact information which leads to consumers calling you when it comes time to see a home. However, consumers also log on to Facebook an average of 15 times per day, a number that I’m sure is much greater than the number of times they are looking at their refrigerator magnets. One thing social media marketing and digital marketing efforts offer us in comparison to traditional marketing is that it is far easier to hold marketing efforts accountable. While you cannot count how many times a consumer looked at your refrigerator magnet or how many times they used your pen or even how many of the postcard mailers consumers actually spent time reading before they land in their trash can, this isn’t the case with digital marketing.
In real estate, traditional and digital marketing efforts work cohesively to move consumers through the sales funnel. This is because consumers typically start their search process online. When consumers are in the awareness phase, they typically conduct a Google search, whether it be by utilizing keywords such as “realtor’s near me” or the specific name of a company they saw an ad for earlier that day in the newspaper. This is why realtors need to utilize search engine optimization tactics as part of their digital marketing strategy. The better their SEO strategy on their website, the better their chances are for appearing as a top result for a consumer’s search when searching either of the above-noted keywords.
It’s not ideal for real estate to totally quit traditional marketing efforts because of the generational differences in consumers. But, there are many ways to integrate your traditional and digital strategies, such as incorporating QR codes that lead postcard recipients to “learn more” on your website. Utilizing a website as your home base can be extremely rewarding to a real estate agent, especially if their website is integrated with a Contact Relationship Management Program (CRM). Websites are powerful tools and great content, email marketing, or even social media marketing become far less powerful if you don’t have a website to drive prospects back to. Creating landing pages with a single property listing can be very powerful in helping agents advertise individual listings they have.
Diving further into the integration, an agent can promote their single property listing landing page on their website by sending a “Just Listed” postcard with a link or QR code to the landing page. This can help drive traffic to assist agents in finding a buyer for a home they have listed. After a prospective buyer has visited your landing page, thanks to your postcard mailer, they will either opt to fill out a property inquiry form on that property landing page or conduct a search utilizing your website’s search feature and inquire about another property. This is where your CRM program kicks in. Your CRM program will capture that prospective client’s information and send them an automated email with additional information on the property they inquired about, moving them down the sales funnel through the interest phase and into the consideration phase. Your automated CRM email templates will then work their magic to provide relevant information to the prospect to move them into the intent phase. Then it’s the agent’s responsibility to continue nurturing the prospect utilizing their various tools until they are at the bottom of the funnel in the purchase phase. Here, traditional marketing methods such as a prospect or past client seeing newspaper ads, receiving just listed or just sold postcards, in addition to seeing digital marketing efforts such as Facebook ads, organic social media content, receiving email newsletters, or seeing google ads help deliver relevant content to consumers on the platforms they utilize most to build brand awareness and build and nurture valuable relationships.
With that being said, don’t give up on traditional marketing methods just yet. Rather integrate them with your digital marketing methods to strengthen your overall marketing strategies to nurture your clients through the sales process.