The marketing landscape evolves on a daily basis. As such, the tools we use to track and monitor digital and traditional marketing channels are perpetually changing to adapt with technology trends.
Despite the changes in medium and form, the underlying principles have largely remained the same.
Traditional marketing efforts like radio, print, television, movie theater, or highway billboards have always been measurable. And still are. Only, we measure them on impressions and reach, rather than the other, more nuanced factors we’re able to track digitally. Relatively recently, digital marketing avenues have opened up the ability to monitor—and thus learn from—user behaviors by observing search results, button clicks, form submissions, quantifying hashtag mentions, and still much more.
But if traditional and digital represent two aspects of one complete marketing strategy, why is it that they’re almost constantly regarded and held separately?
Why is it often difficult for companies to tie their digital strategy to traditional efforts, when in fact the fundamentals of marketing and advertising are consistent through both?
What we need is a more cohesive view on how marketing platforms are utilized and measured, instead of treating each channel as isolated mediums. It’s not just traditional or digital—it’s marketing. It’s both of these and more. As Entrepreneur.com puts it, “Marketing is a form of communication between you and your customers with the goal of selling your product or service to them.”
It’s not about digital, it’s not about traditional—it’s about opening a line of dialogue with consumers in ways that produce meaningful results.
So how should marketing channels be viewed?
Whether radio, TV, Facebook, LinkedIn, phone directories, Google, or even hand-printed fliers, everything loops back to “Cause and Effect”—or “Costs and Engagement” in the marketing world. Measuring the impact of the communication between you and your audience—ultimately hoping to maximize conversions.
Costs: These can be based on either time or money.
- Time – your hours, your staff’s hours, the time it takes to meet with a customer or client, etc.
- Money – from acquisition (ads), retention (nurturing or remarketing), customer cost, support cost, etc.
Engagement: Measuring your audiences’ reaction to your spent costs
- Research – actions to learn more about your campaigns’ messaging
- Participation – interaction, discussion
Conversion: An expected result from research and participation
Looking at the Holistic Impact
Most companies often compartmentalize how they approach marketing. Some tend to gravitate toward looking at the minutiae of campaigns, whether impressions from print or publisher sites, the reach of fliers, open rate of emails, or button clicks. However, a better approach is to really understand a global view with the cumulative sum of how the marketing channels affect the bottom line. For example:
- Did I lower support costs?
- Did I increase brand reach?
- Did I increase leads and sales volume?
- Do I constantly present my brand in a positive light?
The reality of marketing today is that there’s a complex ecosystem of on- and offline touchpoints that work together to drive a single vision. How well an email or billboard does matters far less than how well multiple initiatives drove a greater goal.
Once the overall marketing health has been identified and the broader views considered, then (and only then) does it make sense to explore how each channel is contributing—learning and gauging the successes of those smaller systems that support the overarching, integrated ecosystem you have developed.