How to find the right ‘tradigital’ fit for your brand

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The most important point about bridging traditional and digital marketing is that marketing is ultimately about retention, not acquisition.

For brands walking the line between traditional advertising and meeting the ever-growing demands of the digital world, it can sometimes be easy to forget what really matters: the customer. During a fireside chat at ClickZ Live New York, a panel of industry experts explained how they found the right balance.

According to Phil Bienert, chief marketing officer (CMO) of GoDaddy, too many brands are spend too much time searching for what’s new in digital marketing. They don’t spend enough time asking how the next big thing is valuable for the customer.

“There’s lots of really cool things out there,” said Bienert. “The way we approach it is, every day someone will say, ‘Let’s try this really cool thing,’ but we have to ask how it’s really cool for the customer. If we can’t answer, we don’t do it.”

Amanda Rubin, global head of brand and content strategy for Goldman Sachs, added that the “new and cool factor” also makes it tricky to decide which data points matter. She added that what’s interesting doesn’t necessarily intersect with what’s important.

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“It can be easy to go down data rabbit holes. At the end of the day, it’s important to bifurcate what’s interesting but doesn’t have relevance to the mission of the team,” said Rubin. “As the data gets better, it’s easier to get lost, so it’s important to challenge the cadence of your strategy. Go in too early and it’s wrong. You have to be thoughtful about what you’re measuring and open about looking at your framework and changing as capabilities evolve.”

It can be difficult not to be seduced by the next big thing in both marketing and data strategy. But according to Marissa Tarleton, CMO of RetailMeNot, it can be equally tempting to rely on stale techniques that have little relevance to today’s digital landscape.

Tarleton meets a lot of people who focus too heavily on last-click attribution, for example. She finds putting all your eggs in one basket like that to be too short-sighted.

“I would encourage everyone to think more about the consumer level so that measurements become more focused cross-device, cross-platform, and over time,” she said. “Make data more customer oriented to look at cross-channel instead of one click at a time.”

It’s also important to shift both traditional and digital content strategy based on time lapsed data.

Known for its racy Super Bowl ads, GoDaddy decided to pull the plug on its long-running tradition, for a new reasons. While the controversial ads might alienate the growing number of female small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners, GoDaddy found that the ads were starting to become unnecessary.

“There have been shifts in the type of message we send along with the evolution of SMB,” said Bienart. “Media consumption has shifted more and more to digital channels, and people are spending less time watching television. We can acquire more customers during the Super Bowl by engaging digitally during the game than with an ad.”

Even the Metropolitan Museum of Art has seen its audience shift to more digital channels. Sree Sreenivasan, the museum’s chief digital officer (CDO), helped the institution shift with it, creating a feedback loop of traditional and digital content.

“There’s nothing more magical than being in a gallery with a piece of art, but there may be times when visitors want a little more info,” said Sreenivasan. “We want to make a virtual circle that they see us online and love us so much that they come in person and then want to engage online.”

Even the Met itself is embracing the digital age by including hashtags with every exhibit, lifting the ban on non-flash photography to accommodate a smartphone-toting audience. Sreenivasan even live-streamed the panel discussion on the museum’s Facebook page. Selfie sticks, however, are still a no go.

“We do have to think about keeping everyone from just looking at their phone instead of where they’re walking,” explained Sreenivasan.

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The most important thing when toeing the tradigital line for any business, be it a museum or a retail app, is to remember that, in the end, marketing is less about acquisition and more about retention.

“Marketers spend too much time talking about acquisition and not enough time keeping customers happy when they get them,” said Tarleton. “Make sure you’re keeping customers happy and measuring that. Test all sorts of native content and look for unique ways to engage and remind customers that you’re there.”

Emily Alford is a freelance journalist and contributor to ClickZ.

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