Back in January, the news that Adam&Eve/DDB removed and replaced the word Digital from their agency and job titles sparked much discussion about the convergence of Digital Marketing and Traditional Marketing. There was even talk that the ‘Digital’ Label has become anachronistic.
These days there are a whopping 2.31 billion active social media users, a more than impressive 1.75 billion people worldwide own a smartphone, 25% of all UK shoppers use mobile for grocery shopping. Not surprisingly mobile commerce is set to increase by 68% this year and retailers too are claiming that they have seen an average growth of 80% due to online presence and services. Clearly then, it would seem that we are firmly established in a fully integrated digital society.
Digital is in the very fibre of everything we do as professionals and as consumers. Consequently, digital marketing is no longer a subset of marketing communications. Instead, it seeps into every aspect of the industry. Alex Hesz, head of Digital – or now as we should supposedly be saying interaction – at Adam&Eve/DDB, defines digital as ‘all that is connected to the web’. Accordingly, is digital not omnipresent? Like electricity, it is deeply embedded in our lives and as such it seldom needs direct acknowledgement. This said, many in the marketing realm argue that the term “digital” has passed its sell-by date.
Similar examples to this verbal expulsion include the bygone international marketing that was commonplace in the 70’s. Through an amalgamation of globalisation, pressure from international business schools, the internet and progression into the 21st century, international marketing became second nature to marketers who began naturally shaping their strategies for an international stage. International became part and parcel of marketing. Subsequently, this caused international marketing to become, well, just marketing. It is a logical fallacy, therefore, that the dichotomy between digital marketing and traditional marketing, in the same way, is becoming – if it has not already become – blurred and unnecessary.
Is The Digital in Digital Marketing becoming Redundant?
When you look around today, digital is everywhere. If you were to go searching for an archimedean point where digital marketing ends and traditional modes begin, you will be very disappointed; there is no such clear vantage point. As a result, and unsurprisingly, consumers no longer differentiate between digital and traditional marketing channels. And why should they, since the two have become so interlaced and obscured. This being the case, why then should we, being those who put that content out there, differentiate. Surely we want to align our thought processes with consumer engagement processes.
Marketers looking in a removed and completely digital mindset will find themselves falling short. For instance, If you walk around with a hammer you are only going to be looking for nails. But, if you pick up the whole toolbox, the result will be a much more sound and rounded end product. In the same way, as digital marketing seeps into all marketing, to specify digital marketing as a completely separate silo is counterintuitive. An omnichannel approach is very much needed.
Traditional Marketing Still Triumphs
All this being said, video has not yet killed the radio star as the Business Insider (and co.) would have you believe. Overall global TV and radio audiences increased between 2004 and 2015, and still a mammoth 85% of people globally prefer ‘live’ TV viewing to more digitalised catch up services. In addition, only 0.2% of UK adults choose to watch TV on online catch-up services alone. Furthermore, TV and Radio’s reach both exceed those on more directly digital channels, such as Social Media, and by quite a considerable amount.
When analysing consumer trust the same result appears; people have more confidence in messages conveyed on more traditional and familiar platforms. For instance, 46% of people trust what they read on Social Media, 54% what they hear on the Radio, and a triumphant 63% trust what they read, hear and see on TV. You only have to look at advertising around the Super Bowl, arguably the biggest day in the year for marketing, and the enormous emphasis that this places on traditional TV advertising, to witness that traditional marketing still does triumph.
Consequently, It is important to note that digital marketing is not necessarily synonymous with successful marketing.
Traditionally Digital Marketing?
But when digital marketing and traditional marketing medias collide and work alongside each other things can get interesting. With this amalgamation comes the transfer of familiarity and trust people have with traditional methods onto other rapidly growing digital platforms.
This confidence in newer channels is allowing the two to seamlessly work together in delivering clear and engaging messages. An obvious example of digital and traditional convening is digital billboards. As it stands, out-of-home or outdoor advertising (OOH), the oldest trick in the book, remains a noticeably non-digitalised media with only 25% of OOH campaigns being digital. By 2017 this, it has been predicted, will still be under half at only 40%. Nevertheless, those few digital examples have been truly impactful: