The argument around which marketing platform trumps the others, and whether traditional media is being killed by digital is not new, nor is there a simple answer. Traditional platforms –print, for example – have had to face the reality of digital disruption and adapt accordingly, while consumers have become both more elusive and demanding. Against a backdrop of a dismal economy, perhaps the question to ask is not which platform is better, but which platforms – among the many traditional, digital and experiential opportunities out there, best suit the brand, the objective and the budget.
These days, more often than not, brand decisions are driven by budget. Sometimes an expensive TV commercial may not be the answer for a constrained marketing budget. A smarter solution could be one that targets the right audience through the right channel at the right time. Perhaps the strongest argument in the war of the platforms is a combination of digital media and experiential marketing – eventing in particular – a solution which offers the brand a golden opportunity to create a personal, emotional connection with the audience. It’s a connection that cannot be replicated by looking at a billboard or watching an ad on TV, says Taryn Westoby, head of events at Tiso Blackstar Group. Westoby says events are created with a complete focus on the experiences and emotions of a highly targeted audience, one that has bought into the idea of the event and chosen to engage with the brand. “Personal connections such as these are harder to forge via a more traditional approach.”
Digital marketing works seamlessly with consumer experience, providing a perfect partner via social media channels to engage with audiences, become part of the current conversation and create hype prior to an event and longevity afterwards. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, adds Westoby, provide consumers with personal recommendations from peer groups or online communities which are far more effective in today’s marketing landscape than advertising. A big benefit is that digital marketing and social media are a very cost-effective way to promote a brand or upcoming events.
Then there is the question of measurability – the holy grail of marketing. Digital campaigns and eventing are highly measurable, providing real-time results that can be monitored and modified in line with trends or challenges.