Monday, August 13, 2012

Traditional Media vs. New Media: Coming to Terms With Integration


Understand Your Buyers’ Path to Purchase

Here’s a universal truth for B2B and B2C marketers: You need to know how your target audience makes a purchase decision, so you can to be effective in reaching them. Consumers and business decision-makers alike research products and services through a wide variety of channels. Nearly 60% of this exploration will be completed by your audience before they ever establish contact with your brand.

It’s critical to understand where your target audience consumes media and to grasp what experiences with the brand they expect to have within each vehicle. However, marketers also need to realize that no one’s media consumption is purely traditional or strictly digital. Though buyers used to turn to a select few sources, they now turn to various information outlets. To discredit one type of media in favor of another is shortsighted.

Plan Your Media Based on Marketing Objectives

Once you understand your target audience and have a handle on where, why, and how they consume and engage with media, you should assess and prioritize objectives. By keeping your knowledge of the buyer in mind and by focusing on what you need marketing to accomplish, you’ll find the process of planning for integrated, effective media relatively simple. With a buyer-focused, objectives-based approach, marketers will be able to deliver messages how, when, and where they will be heard.

Successful media planning is about selecting the right medium to fulfill the right objective—not just relying on one to do it all. 

Why Integration Matters

Traditional media isn’t dead. Its scope, reach, and purpose has simply been more acutely defined. Though TV used to be advertisers’ silver bullet, its purpose today has been narrowed down to generating awareness, and in some cases, response. But definition doesn’t equal defunct, and new media isn’t the new silver bullet. When considering your buyers’ path to purchase and focusing on your campaign objectives, you can think about traditional and non-traditional media as stepping stones to get a target audience from point A (fact-finding) to Z (purchase). Where one medium lacks, another is there to make up the difference and enhance a buyer’s pre-purchase experience.

Integration is about the seamless use of many media types to maximize the impact of a campaign on a target audience. It’s about unifying—not isolating—your tactics. Consumer and B2B marketers need to rise above the traditional vs. non-traditional debate and understand that success happens when you can make your product or service part of your target audience’s everyday world. An integrated approach to media is a means to that end. The reality is that it’s our responsibility to be in the same place as the buyer.

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