Marketers are dealing with the complexity of hybrid planning and measurement but how do we plan across online and offline media?
When we think of marketing, our mind is always dominated by a series of actions: engaging potential customers, sending and receiving product messages, concluding sales, etc. In today's marketing sphere, all the marketing actions are widely spread in the physical world as well as the virtual world. Marketers are dealing with the complexity of hybrid planning and measurement. How do we plan across online and offline media? Which metric will be used to realize the performance? If our marketing is a long-standing effort, then how do a series of online and offline actions and all the tactical components tie together into a strategic mix? To answer all these questions is indeed very challenging.
As a digital marketer, I've recently spent more time doing offline marketing and realized that the virtual actions are easily neglected in offline situations. For example, when we meet a lot of people at a trade show, we hardly think that these people are the consequence of a series of clicks generated over the web. On the fairground while we are still sourcing for leads, our path of engagement is so imminent. When we are physically exposed to the mass, we want to mingle and interact with as many potential customers as possible. Unfortunately, our subconscious mind cannot be filled with the business conversations and programmed to do scientific lead scoring at the same time. The geeky guru of digital marketing will call this a typical information blackout where upstream communication is not well planned for the downstream communication, or simply put, not analytical enough.
Truth be told, information blackout happens all the time at an offline marketing situation. When a potential customer arrives, the tension and excitement that raise your heartbeat will take away your attentive thought. You don't actually collect a lot of information until after the potential customers leave you their business cards. However, a business card without processing is only a paper. Same for the dialogue that left in your memory without processing is a series of semantic noises. The longer the time you've let the communications unprocessed, the more information will be omitted.
In the online world, we have invented lead management. But most of the time in the offline world, lead management is executed as a series of post-event marketing actions. The lack of ability to generate instant information has developed bias during the opportunity scoring and affects the subsequent data profiling. As a marketer, we need to identify the engagement path regardless if it is online or offline. Once the information occurs, we want to capture it instantly. Lead management will not be a useful tool when using in a post-event manner.
Hence, profiling your audience using online RSVP for your offline event is always a best practice. You have tons of digital tools to help you capture information in an offline situation such as the QR code and the future NFC-enabled devices. Start scoring your potential customers by matching your offline communications with them to the online RSVP profiles. You will be able to further analyze customers' interest and intent for closing future sales. All of these are something that we've developed over the years in the online world and become very practical for offline marketing actions, too. I hope you will be inspired by my marketing experience teleporting between the online and offline world.
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Eddie is the founding partner of Frontiers Digital and the Executive Director of Milton Exhibits Group. Although Eddie studied classical theory of sociology in college and has a MBA, technology always has been a passion with him. He believes that a combination of technology and communication is what the modern marketing is heading towards in the future. Eddie is a member of Search Engine Strategies Global Advisory Board.
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