Digital: The Hope, the Promise, the Risk

Last, week I came across an article in Ad Age about Mike’s Hard Lemonade shifting their marketing tactics from traditional to digital. As more and more brands proudly make the switch, it makes me wonder whether digital can live up to the promise.

The Promise

Digital is an inherently fast, targeted, nimble and sometimes cheap medium.  It’s been promoted as the savior for marketers who are faced with the challenges of changing markets and consumers as well as reduced budgets. If your brand happens to sell on-line then digital can also provide direct measurement of sales. With millennials increasingly hard to reach in their mobile, social, always connected and cord/cable cutting lifestyles, digital promises to help brands connect and engage.

The Hope

Given all of digital’s promise, it has to be true right? Brands that I know and look up to as a marketer are beginning to shift, transition, and even go all-in with the hope that digital will be their savior. With all of this at stake, it’s hard to imagine a situation where digital doesn’t deliver. It’s a bit like going to church though—we all have questions but our faith leads the way.

The Risk

Yes, digital is measurable. But what are really in those “impressions”? Are they bots, scrappers, and hidden pop-ups? Or are they real consumer eyeballs and hopefully brains engaged in my content and message? How, as marketers, are we engaging by interrupting someone’s two minute YouTube fix of watching John Stewart take a pie to the face? Are we adding to or preventing the instant gratification that consumers seek? How do I continue reaching my loyal customers that I’ve traditionally reached on prime time network spots? You know, the ones who have yet to cut the cable cord or fail to understand what a hashtag is other than something they put in their Facebook updates (looking at you Mom!). How can the promise of digital come true with so many questions? Are we just supposed to accept digital as our savior or is it really the devil tempting us with his sweet candy of clicks and likes. Oh, how I like to be “Liked”.

If this is at least a partial view into the Psyche of a marketer today, then how can we solve this or at least remove some of the risk? One of the hardest things to do historically is to compare strategies and investment across offline and online media. My paid search is track-able—my paid TV—not so much. Well, now it’s possible to integrate the measurement and predictive forecasting of both online and offline media in an apples to apples manner.  It takes new approaches and methods that attribution or marketing mix modeling cannot achieve. My great hope is that those responsible for insights and predictive forecasting will be searching as hard as the marketer for the next savior to our new age marketing challenges. #innovatorsforgrowth

 

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