Where’s Your Marketing Communication? [Chart]

Online Versus Offline Media

When developing their plans, many marketers often focus on the media where they’re placing advertising without considering the totality of their marketing communications or the implications for related elements. The reality is that using online and offline promotional media differ in a number of ways affecting a variety of purchase-related tactics.

Online versus offline media divide

Because your advertising in a particular medium is only one aspect of your overall marketing strategy, you must consider it in relation to your business goals, marketing tactics and metrics for assessing your progress. To help you frame your thinking, here’s a chart that lays out the options and related communications.

5 Online versus offline factors to assess

Here are five factors to consider.

  1. Online versus offline media decision blurs. Online advertising tends to be customer need initiated and focused on gathering effective content at the point at which consumers are ready for it. Offline advertising is company driven, where the marketer’s in the driver’s seat, focused on the product, planning campaigns based on past experience and related offerings.
  2. Shopping decisions begin online regardless of where purchase is made. No matter where they ultimately buy the product, customers start their shopping online by doing research. Depending on the platform used, a discussion related to the purchase process can happen before the marketer is aware that there’s a potential sale or what may influence the purchase decision.
  3. Leveraging social media can be difficult to monitor. Prospects can ask about products in a context that doesn’t signal “I’m in buying mode” to marketers. Additionally, they may use different words and phrases than they use at later points in the purchase process. As a result, even if a retailer is monitoring the social media landscape, they’re not able to capture this information in a way that enables them to leverage the process.
  4. Mobile disrupts the online versus offline model. As smartphone usage continues to expand, the landscape becomes more confusing because, for many marketers, mobile is seen as an outgrowth of their digital marketing, a catchall category that includes anything that’s not traditionally offline. But with mobile websites, apps, mobile coupons, texting and scan-able QR codes, mobile is inside your store bringing with it your online and offline competitors. What should you be doing? [To help you, here's a mobile marketing research roundup.]
  5. Integrated marketing rules by putting the customer at the center of your interactions. While an integrated view of your customer and all of her/his transactions and interactions with your firm, across a wide range of platforms is ideal, many marketers have limited database and systems support to make this a reality. Therefore, to get your marketing on track, start with small steps towards your ultimate goal.

When you’re putting your marketing communications plans together, remember that you need to think holistically about the required related marketing. Further, consider how much crossover in terms of related marketing and interaction is needed for your customer base.

What are your opinions? Is there anything else that you’d add to this chart? If so, what is it and why would you include it?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


If you’d like to read further, here are some marketing communication related posts.

Photo credit: br1dotcom via Flickr

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