Marrying Online with Traditional Media

Many online planners have had to coordinate their efforts with a traditional ad agency at one point or another. Perhaps this is because a client has an agency of record (AOR) that coordinates all advertising on behalf of that client. Maybe it’s for other reasons.

In any case, this integration is often seen as somewhat of a pain in the tush for some online agencies. But using an online campaign and a traditional advertising campaign to work toward a common goal can get your client to that goal much faster and efficiently. Let’s talk about how you can use an integrated approach to help your client.

At K2, we have the ability to execute across all media, so we have worked on a number of integrated campaigns in which print, television, radio and other forms of traditional media are working hand-in-hand with an online campaign.

Sometimes, however, K2 is just an online media vendor. In this case, we have to work with a traditional agency to make sure that the overall communications strategy is in synch across both organizations. Here are some points that might need to be clarified if you find yourself in a similar situation.

Grand Uniform Advertising Theory
  1. How does the online campaign function in the grand scheme of things? Many times, the online campaign may be more direct response oriented than the traditional campaign. Print, radio, outdoor and other kinds of traditional advertising can help to drive traffic to a site. But perhaps you would rather use those traditional media to create awareness while your online campaign does the traffic driving. In any case, have a meeting with the traditional agency to make sure your objectives and strategies synch up properly.
  2. How will success be measured? We’ve all tracked response by creating unique URLs for each media property on the plan. Do we want to use a similar method for tracking print ads or direct mail? Can the traditional ad agency assist the online effort by adding URLs to creative executions?
  3. Can traditional spending be leveraged to help keep online costs down? Often, traditional advertising vehicles have online counterparts. If your client is spending a good sum of money in Ziff Davis publications, for example, you might want to try leveraging that spending to get you a better rate on ZDNet. Always ask the traditional agency for a flowchart showing all media vehicles that will be used on the traditional plan. Who knows? You may save the client money.
  4. Are there any creative synergies on which you can capitalize? Always ask for your own copies of print ads, radio commercials, TV spots, etc. Also ask to be briefed on any sponsorships or PR that will be implemented on the traditional plan. Perhaps you might want to use a similar look and feel on the creative. Or maybe if the client is sponsoring something on The Sporting News in print, you might create a tie-in on its web site.
  5. Are you a vendor for the AOR, or are you a partner with the client? Most of us would prefer the latter, but sometimes the former situation arises. Sometimes the AOR might even be presenting your work to the client. Does the AOR have enough online media savvy to be able to present your work to the client? Do you need to have your own people come in to assist the AOR in presenting the work?

    Position your agency to be able to work directly with the client, if possible. If not, at least make sure that the channels of communication with the client are clear. Online planning can be much more information intensive than traditional. It’s important to make sure that the client is getting updates on changes to the online plan and regular updates on response.

  6. Who is controlling the budgets? Did the AOR allocate money to you from their budgets or did the money come directly from the client? Who should you ask about incrementally-funded opportunities? Will there be any money for opportunistic media?

These are just a few of the questions you’ll need to ask when working together with a traditional agency. Always remember that working with another agency might inject another layer of bureaucracy into the process. But if you ask questions up front and make sure your objectives and strategies are established beforehand in writing, you can work together to the benefit of the client.

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