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How Cross-Channel Marketing Is Making Mediums Relevant

  |  May 22, 2014   |  Comments

Consumers are everywhere, hopscotching from one medium to the next. And brands are eager to be there when they arrive.

Why are brands still spending money on TV?

It's a question that seems more inscrutable with every passing day. A recently released report from RMG Networks took a look at the state of video, both online and off. "The New Reality of Digital Video Advertising" reveals some startling stats:

  • TV viewership has dropped 50 percent since 2002
  • About 5 million consumers have cut their cable since 2010 
  • Network and cable CPMs are on the rise, up 5 percent in 2013

Increasingly, consumers are tuning out traditional TV and turning to the Internet for their entertainment. The digital video audience, which encompasses online video and streaming, is 52 million viewers strong, up 15 percent from a year ago. Forty percent of young adults watch digital video monthly, up 25 percent since 2013.

That isn't to say online video doesn't have problems of its own. Fraudulent bot traffic, skipped ads, and videos delivered but never seen all present marketers with a conundrum. If both TV and online video are riddled with challenges, how can a brand ensure it reaches its desired audience?

One way to manage this irregular marketing terrain is by embracing cross-channel communications. Beauty e-commerce company Birchbox this month marked its first venture into brand advertising by coupling a TV spot with a shopping feature online. "Open for Beautiful" is airing on TV in select U.S. markets that include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. On its brand site, the video is presented in tandem with an online catalogue.

This tactic affords the brand the best of both worlds: the reach and exposure of TV, along with the measurability and performance of online media. When a brand can align digital and traditional media it's ideally positioned to boost both recognition and engagement. "We looked to create a platform to amplify our brand message to new audiences, creating an emotional connection with consumers," says Deena Bahri, chief marketing officer (CMO) of Birchbox. "We think this campaign accomplishes both and has great range across building consumer awareness, provoking interest in learning more, and driving direct conversion."

Combining TV with the Web makes sense for a company like Birchbox, which currently sells its products online and will be opening its first retail store in the summer. Its campaign is also indicative of a larger trend. Earlier this month, marketing analytics platform Turn announced a programmatic TV product, "giving marketers the power to find and target audiences online and offline." In March, Adconion Direct added Connected TV to its digital stable of ad solutions. "The convergence of the Internet with TV delivers new opportunities on the biggest screen of them all," Adconion Direct chief executive (CEO) Kim Reed Perell said.

Meanwhile, Viacom has embraced Tumblr and BuzzFeed has partnered with Bravo TV. And in response to the growth of cross-platform marketing, eMarketer released a report intended to guide brands in their measurement and analysis of all cross-channel interactions.

In this age of media fragmentation, it's no longer realistic to think that a single channel can effectively reach a brand's audience and achieve all of its campaign goals. No one medium - whether online or off - is enough. This has given traditional channels like TV new relevance, and a new purpose for brands. TV has gone from teetering on the precipice of becoming obsolete to partnering with e-commerce and social media to play an important role in cross-channel campaigns.

Why are brands spending money on TV? They're doing it for the same reason that they're spending on video, and mobile, and everything else. Consumers are everywhere, hopscotching from one medium to the next. And brands are eager to be there when they arrive.

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Tessa Wegert

Tessa Wegert is a business reporter and former media strategist specializing in digital. In addition to writing for ClickZ since 2002, she has contributed to such publications as USA Today, Marketing Magazine, Mashable, and The Globe and Mail. Tessa manages marketing and communications for Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy agencies servicing such brands as Bioré, Food Network, illy, and Hunter Douglas. She has been working in online media since 1999.

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