How the Symbiosis of Traditional and Digital Marketing Is Changing How We Buy Things

Traditional and Digital Marketing

The marketing industry is deeply connected with human behaviors, routines, and interactions which implies following the digital transformation we’ve undergone over the last twenty-five years.  To keep us involved, organizations have responded to this change by making digital and social media communication strategies an essential component of their business marketing plans, yet it does not seem the traditional channels were abandoned.

Traditional marketing mediums such as billboards, newspapers, magazines, tv, radio, or flyers alongside digital marketing and social media campaigns working hand in hand contribute to better build brand awareness, meaning, loyalty, and ultimately to influence consumers at every stage of their decision process.

How is it changing the way we buy things? Let’s go through it now.

Digital Transformation

Today, a huge part of our lives happens in the digital realm. The numbers are clear:

On the last day of 2020, there were 4.9 billion internet users and 4.2 billion active accounts on social media networks worldwide.

First Site Guide

As the online market developed, so did companies’ marketing strategies. The digital revolution made it possible for brands to engage faster and more directly with customers, as well as for internauts to compare products and prices, look for recommendations, follow opinion-makers, and purchase stuff.

The way we buy accuses the normalization of internet use and the tame of hand-held devices, as interacting with social commerce, making decisions, and shopping is easier than ever before.

New Market, New Marketing?

Yes, but let’s be clear.

Efficient marketing strategies, traditional and digital, suggest identifying the needs of communities, creating special offerings that accommodate those needs, and effectively communicate with their members to increase satisfaction. Although communities’ online presence is impossible to deny, digital is not the be-all and end-all of marketing.

If you don’t believe me, take Pepsi Refresh Project as an example. In 2010, Pepsi-Cola decided to leave conventional advertising (i.e. annual television ads of Super Bowl) to launch a massive digital campaign, attempting to build awareness and cultivate a long-term relationship with consumers. Pepsi announced they were going to give $20 million in grants to organizations and individuals that had ideas to make the world a better place, selecting the best for public voting.

In regards to engagement, their intent was a hit! Over 80 million votes were registered, Pepsi’s Facebook page got almost 3.5 million likes, and Pepsi’s Twitter account welcomed more than 60,000 followers, but can you guess what happened to the sales?

The brand lost around half a billion dollars in revenue, dropped from its traditional position as the number two soft drink in America to number three, behind Diet Coke. 

In this specific case, social media alone enabled Pepsi to connect with customers, improve awareness, influence consumer’s attitudes, receive feedback, yet it didn’t increase sales what forced the company to adopt, once again, a multi-channel strategy that included traditional marketing tactics. Why would that be?

pepsi cola sign

Digital and Traditional Hand in Hand

Traditional media is not broken. What needs to be fixed is the mindset change of what traditional media’s role use to be and what its role is today.

Charlie DeNatale, Above the Fold’s Traditional Media Strategist

I guess this couldn’t be more true, otherwise, why would we still see McDonald’s outdoors?

Even though we call it traditional, conventional marketing evolved exponentially since the golden age of radio and newspapers, assuming now a very distinct role. It helps to target different members of a family, to reach specific niche audiences through specialized magazines, tv programs, and newspapers, contributes to creating a sense of solidity, credibility, and familiarity for the brand, and to building a likable atmosphere around it as well.

As digital proves to be essential for brands to keep pace with the ever-changing market, traditional can be a weapon to fight people’s ever-shortening attention span, enabling a more personal approach, as monthly catalogs are an example of. While some may need an influencer to determine their purchase, others might attribute more credibility to a newspaper article. 

When working in tandem, digital and traditional marketing mediums congregate both sides of the client spectrum, reaching more potential customers which can lead to parallel and independent transactions for increased revenue. Exploring one and the other increases the chance of keeping the audience inside the brand’s “bubble of influence” and effectively impacts the consumer’s decision journey.

Final Thoughts

Digital and social presence alongside mobile tools are drastically shaping the way we buy, pushing humanity towards online shopping, yet the answer to that change is the multi-channel marketing strategies, including traditional mediums that are influencing the whole acquisition process. Communicating through the different channels, companies assure a more-difficult-to-escape bubble of influence that can generate an impact at any stage of the consumer’s journey from the awakening of the desire to the post-purchase.

What do you think?

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