Digital marketing - a behemoth in today’s marketing world. A trillion-dollar industry. The undisputable king in the marketing world. Above all, the future of marketing. This continuously-growing humongous size industry has successfully surpassed the age-old traditional marketing due to the latter’s inability to evolve.
In next two years, digital marketing industry is only going to get bigger and better. Advancement in technology will help in achieving that. Emergence of digital marketing as a service, use of cognitive marketing, rise of digital post-purchase marketing and other innovative developments are some examples of them. There are predictions that by 2017, a chief marketing officer of an organization would spend more money on technology than on chief information officer.
Meanwhile, some marketers are apprehensive that traditional marketing may fail to cope up with the staggering speed of digitized form of marketing. Few also remarked that traditional marketing may be forgotten and lost. Many believe that traditional marketing has reached its stagnancy point and the downfall is inevitable. When was the last time a new buzzword pertaining to traditional marketing caught your attention?
Well, recently, you have heard one. Convergence. More precisely, the convergence between digital and traditional marketing. A recent survey, conducted over 330 organizations, has authenticated this idea and acknowledged its presence in the marketing world. Around 98% of respondents of that survey said that traditional (offline) and digital (online) are converging. Without a doubt, it is a staggering figure.
However, the argument behind the origin of this form of marketing is diverse. Although more agile and evolved marketing analytics tool is helping to bring new conclusions for businesses but, in reality, very few organizations are able to keep up with the pace of new innovations. This has created some new marketing techniques & business models. And the convergence between digital and traditional marketing is one of the results of that. Also can be termed as hybrid-marketing.
Data Data Data
Before knowing what convergence is, you need to understand what makes digital marketing to get so much attention and funding?
Emergence of Big Data
Well, the answer is data. With the help of digital data collecting techniques and analytics, marketers can easily track consumer behavior and improvise their sales funnel. This barrage of customer data (mostly unaudited and raw) has altogether created a new industry – Big Data. In comparison with the flood of consumer data, the future of traditional marketing such as customer calling & surveying looks bleak and paltry.
Economical and Less Time Consuming
Data not only allows marketers to make better market predictions but also creates new business models for different niches based on customer behavior. For instance, even change in colors on a web page can convert leads into customers. And importantly, it involves minimum money and less time. However, in print media the whole process of changing the colors on printed collateral is both expensive and time-consuming. Marketers can alter or change words on a website whenever they want to without harming the budget amount hugely.
Best Way to Gain Mind Share
Data also allows marketers to prove that a particular campaign or strategy is earning good ROI. Before the advent of data, marketers used to rely on their guesswork and gut feelings when it came to trying out new strategies. Moreover, for smaller companies, digital marketing is the cheapest way to gain mind share of the consumer than traditional marketing.
Traditional Marketing and Big Data
That doesn’t mean the traditional marketing is dead. Although human lives are buried under Smartphones, laptops and palmtops but old techniques – print, T.V. and radio – are still present and working the way as they used to be. Marketers need to understand that complete dumping of traditional marketing would be a fatal mistake and can cause a radical effect. It needs to be reinterpreted for the Big Data world.
Marketers need to understand that Big Data is where convergence between digital and traditional marketing occurs. The medium is irrelevant when it’s come to measure the effectiveness of a message. In other way, convergence also considers traditional marketing as another area of collecting data.
Success of Target Corporation
American discount retailer giant, Target Corporation, is one of the organizations that were able to successfully converge digital and traditional marketing. Target builds customer profiles based on Big Data. Profiles get activated when they receive email address or credit card number. After comparing thousands profiles of their customers, Target predicts the products that will be purchased by the customers in near future.
Example of using Big Data is when Target wanted to grab the data of soon-to-be parents. Target observed that soon-to-be-parents bought a particular type of products as the due date got closer. Based on the statistics, marketers of Target used to send specific coupons based on the stages and criticality of the pregnancy.
But there was uproar among many when the whole story was made public. People disliked the idea of being tracked so closely. Later, with further experimentation, coupons with valuable and educative content were distributed to the customers, somehow helped Target to regain their tarnished reputation.
Finding the Perfect Balance
Striking the right balance between traditional and digital marketing is the challenge for the marketers. But, with the implementation of new shopping technologies, marketers are again able to understand the buying patterns of the consumers.
Decreasing Patience of Consumers
Big Data is helping marketers to understand the psychology of consumers in a more effective way. Based on those understandings, marketers improve the quality of brands & products. A recent survey revealed that nearly 50% of people abandon WebPages that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
The bottom line is that consumers are not willing to wait. Consumers want information & share their experiences quickly and without any trouble. Moreover, Google also penalizes those websites that don’t load fast enough.
In this case, digital marketing can learn from traditional marketing how to deliver a lot of information without much of delay & in an economical way. For instance, time for TV Ads rarely crosses 30 seconds. Traditional marketers know the process of delivering messages fast and importantly economic way. Even a long-form letter (direct marketing) doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to read – closer to the actual attention span of consumers. Time span of the customers is a really important aspect for the marketers.
Showrooming – A Form of Convergence
Showrooming is the practice of visiting a shop to judge a particular product(s) before buying it from online at a lower price. Emergence of showrooming has raised an important question- what is the future of retail shops? But, in actually, showrooming works in both directions – traditional and digital. There are instances where people learnt about the products on online and later purchased it from a retail or mom-and-pop store.
Consumers purchase some products based on their physical characteristics that can’t be explained through pictures, video or text. However, products such as books or computer goods remain same no matter from where you buy them. In nutshell, this is convergence - convergence of traditional & digital marketing.
More importantly, consumers want best products be it purchased from online or offline. According to a data reported by First Data, 1/3rd of the consumers they reached prefer seamless shopping experiences no matter what the medium is. 83% of that customer expressed that they want companies to converge digital and traditional marketing to create better shopping experiences. Precisely, they want a swift, smooth and hassle-free shopping experience.
Undoubtedly, introduction of Big Data has revolutionized the marketing world. Even, small & medium size businesses owners are also able to fetch positive results for their businesses applying Big Data. Companies need to learn & master this new tool to add another edge to their business and also create better shopping experiences for consumers.
Convergence – A Solution for the Marketing in Future
Marketing is at a crossroads. It is really hard to predict the future of marketing. Lack of patience among consumers and continuous changes in technology are making really hard for the marketers and analysts to predict about the future of this line of business.
However, in the meanwhile, convergence is happening. There is no doubt that convergence is going to stay and will become an integral part of marketing in future. The companies that will able to converge traditional & digital marketing and turn the data to offer compelling customer experiences will able to rule the market in future.