Leverage digital and social media for their strengths, not everything

In a recent article by Andrew McMains and Brian Morrissey, Online Brands Turn to Traditional Ads, they discuss how even pure plays like Kayak, Zappos and Amazon look to TV to build their businesses. In the article, Hulu.com’s success is credited at least in part due to their “old-school” 60-second Super Bowl TV spot which resulted in brand awareness and Web traffic spikes, including a 104 percent increase in monthly unique visitors to over 9 million. The lesson for marketers is to consider all channels as part of the media mix and acknowledge that certain channels have inherent strengths and weakness.

Additionally, attribution studies by Microsoft Atlas and Coremetric have proven what marketers intuitively knew, customers are influenced by a variety of messages and channels throughout their purchase process and these integrated messages have a cumulative effect. Where these studies and solutions fall short is by focusing solely on online channels, ignoring the majority of consumer’s media consumption. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh said the cross-channel effects are clear, “What we’ve found is that if we layer in a little bit of offline brand advertising, it improves the ROI of our online direct response campaigns.”

Marketers should start with a clear understanding of their target market’s media consumption and how they use different channels throughout their decision and purchase processes. While each marketing tactic can be used for a variety of objectives, for example using search to increase brand awareness or social media to drive direct response sales, marketers will be better served leveraging channels for their specific strengths inherent to the medium and as defined by their target market’s consumption of that medium.

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