Interactive marketing (e-mail, social media, online and search) is contributing to a major shift in the marketing landscape. With social media sites and mobile marketing emerging as the next big thing, some marketers are moving away from traditional tactics (print, television, display advertising), but is this wise? A recent report from Forrester predicts that interactive marketing will “cannibalize” other channels. In fact, 60% of those surveyed will increase their interactive marketing budgets by shifting funds from traditional media.
Here’s our take:
Yes, interactive marketing and social media are becoming increasingly popular, but it’s risky to place all advertising dollars in one basket or move away traditional channels altogether. It’s clear that social media’s not just for kids; the largest group of Facebook users are aged 35-54. There are still people out there that don’t engage with social media and prefer old-school communication channels-direct mail, newspapers, magazines and television. Furthermore, a recent report from Razorfish suggests that people don’t trust their online friends as much as their offline friends.
For most companies, a combination of traditional and interactive marketing still makes sense. An integrated strategy will give you a better opportunity to reach your target market through various channels. A blend of online and offline messages support each other –print ads can drive people to a Facebook fan page and a Twitter stream can direct prospects to get a coupon to test out your service. For example, Starbucks is currently giving away coupons for free pints of their ice cream via Facebook. Are they still running print ads for their ice cream? It’s likely. An online channel (Facebook) supports an offline channel (in-store advertising).
One last thing to drive the point home, marketing and technology are ever changing, so be sure to know who your target market is and what marketing channels they prefer before making any drastic changes in your marketing plan.