A Fork in the Road
Posted May 30, 2012
As I was driving to my son's little league baseball game last week at a new field, I used my GPS system for directions. Although I was somewhat familiar with the location, I still decided to see where the technology took me. When I came to a critical turn, the GPS told me to "precede ¾ mile and turn right," while my instincts said turn right now.
Marketers today face similar types of decisions every day - to "precede" with the use of traditional marketing tools or "turn" to new media.
Which Way Do We Turn?
Today marketers are faced with critical decisions when developing their go-to-market strategies. Should we stay with the tried and true of what we know, what we've done and know how to measure? Or do we go with the new wave of marketing tools may not feel quite right yet, and come with several unknowns? And in some cases, how do we combine the old with the new?
Marketers are revising the way they look at old school tactics... like couponing. Now here is an old school tactic if I have ever seen one. Been around forever, but as we have all seen, today coupons can be delivered in so many new ways at so many different locations, you need a database to keep up with them all (hey, there might be a business idea there).
The vast majority of consumers use coupons (reported by RedPlum in February 2012). Even teenagers (aged 13-17) use coupons or coupon codes on things that they find important. What RedPlum's report goes on to say is that the actual media that delivers the coupon is not important -- it's not a print vs. digital decision for consumers. They will use them wherever they can find them.
- 76% of consumers still go to their newspapers to get their coupons.
- 59% who get them from emails.
- 33% who get them from internet searches.
Still with the sourcing of coupons being what it is, in 2011 NCH reported that 89% of all coupon redemptions came from FSI's. So even though people are looking for coupons via digital and internet sources, only 11% of redemptions came from these sources. Net, net: new media for show, old media for dough.
So How Wide is this New Road?
Plenty wide. New media needs to be in every brand's marketing plan. There, I said it. However, this new media (digital) can still deliver an old media message (coupon). All media, new or old, has two goals to achieve before it becomes the lead in a brand's marketing strategies:
- It has to become scalable beyond impressions, meaning it needs to be held to the same standards of measurement that don't require a marketer to make the leap of faith that a "Like" or "View" or "Fan" equals a sale.
- It needs to be scalable to the point that it can affect a brand's sales, share and profit (This is more for the new media that doesn't start with T, F or G).
Reachability, engagement and targeting, three factors that all new media relies on, are fine, but as I once told a young brand manager at GMI during my Catalina Marketing days, "we can target your coupon so precisely that you can reach the HH who buys the most boxes of Kellogg's cereal annually, and convert them, but that is not going to affect your share or profitability." In other words, don't get caught up in the glamor of new media to the point you forget that your end objective is to move the needle for your brand.
That said, an old school tactic like a coupon can be delivered in a new way to help move the needle. AisleBuyer recently executed a national survey that found:
- Nearly 75% of consumers would switch brands if offered real-time mobile promotions delivered to their smartphones while shopping in a store aisle.
- 82% of 25-34 year-olds are willing to switch brands if they received a mobile offer for a competing product while in the store.
- 81% of smartphone owners go to grocery and drug stores prepared with a list of items to buy. Of this group, only 8% list specific brands to purchase.
So What Does All This Mean?
The fork in the road is right there in front of you, and of course, we know that the right answer is to go down both roads. Here are four thoughts to consider while dealing with old vs. new:
- Don't omit old school media or tactics in hope of reaching the "new school" consumer.
- Reach your consumer when you have the most potential to influence their purchase decision.
- Stay focused on your brand's goals in picking media.
- Let your instincts contribute, but not dominate, to your decisions.