Push Big Ideas Out. Draw Audiences In.

Where does Digital & Traditional Marketing intersect?

Probably one of the biggest areas of confusion for marketers working to understand digital marketing is “how does digital marketing fit in with traditional marketing?“  Actually the questions don’t come that way they sound more like:

  1. Do we need a Facebook page?
  2. Does social media mean we should spend less on our website?
  3. What if someone says something we don’t like, can we delete it?
  4. Shouldn’t we build a iPhone app?

[important]Digital Marketing and Traditional Marketing are mutually beneficial not mutually exclusive[/important]

Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing

The figures below show the difference between the old world (traditional marketing techniques) and the new world (traditional marketing enhanced by digital marketing).

The noticeable difference is the addition of a “Social Outreach” circle.  But before we go into that, let’s go over how the traditional elements are recast in their digital world.

“New” Core

The core are your owned media properties – your company and product websites.  To address the early concern of “do we still need a website”, yes.  Never abandon your owned media. The various social media networks have varying policies regarding who owns what when you post on their networks.  For that reason alone you want to maintain your main web presence.

As hinted, the content of your website must change.  Posting 20 page whitepapers is becoming rather staid. Your main content needs to be updated to be more interactive and interesting.  You’re not just competing with your typical product and service competitors, you’re competing with everything that may steal the attention of your audience.  Make sure website visitors have their questions answered and the interest piqued. Further, your new core needs to allow your customers/prospects interact with the content.  This may be accomplished by allowing thought leaders to maintain blogs and allow readers comments. [A word of caution, the more anonymity commenters are able to have the more likely the comments will be ugly]

“New” Amplifiers

Traditional amplifiers include TV, radio, print and display.  To that equation we add technical amplifiers like Search Engine Marketing, mobile, RSS feeds and email registration.  These Digital Marketing techniques improve your ability to get the word out.  The name of the game is “Lead Generation.”

Social Outreach

So what’s new? Social Outreach.

[important]Social Outreach is using social media to nurture and strengthen the bonds with customers and prospects[/important]

Let’s review some examples of social outreach:

  • Using LinkedIn groups for feedback, idea generation and updates
  • Organizing formal or informal Meetups (or tweetups)
  • Active social listening and responding to customer complaints
  • Engaging with passionate customer segments seeking product advice

Admittedly, social outreach is a fuzzy idea, but the difference with social outreach is the purposefully human connection.  This is hand-to-hand marketing, getting out there and interacting with your customers on a personal, individual level.

In terms of customer segments, I see social outreach as focusing on your existing customers.  Social outreach allows you to:

  • Maintain relevance and top of mind
  • Deal with customer problems while they are still relatively small problems
  • Obtain referrals because your customers know you and like you
  • Build “earned media” by leveraging your customers to drive “Word of Mouth”

Let’s revisit the questions mentioned

Now that we’ve covered of Digital Marketing supports Traditional Marketing, let’s revisit the common questions mention earlier:

  1. Do we need a Facebook page? Maybe you need a presence on Facebook (is that where your audience is?)
  2. Does social media mean we should spend less on our website? Your website is as important as ever but it can’t be the only place for your content (use content bread crumbs the sites your customers visit)
  3. What if someone says something we don’t like, can we delete it? You can’t delete what someone says about you (you don’t have control over your customers)
  4. Shouldn’t we build a iPhone app? Mobile is an important part of your strategy (but consider the content and the customers interaction with it on a mobile phone)

Drive Ideas Out. Draw Audiences In.

To recap, how does Digital Marketing interact Traditional Marketing?  It helps drive ideas out and draw audiences in. Digital Marketing doesn’t supplant traditional methods, although it may change them a bit. Marketers have new tools in their toolbox to get their message out.  Rather than just relying on broadcast messaging there are new mediums available to find and connect with customers and prospects.

A recent tweet from Laura Fitton said it best:

[notice]Stop pushing. Start attracting. Stop interrupting. Start engaging.[/notice]

I happily credit Nate Elliot and Forrester research for planting the seed in my head with Nate’s research The Interactive Brand Ecosystem.