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VOL. 40 | NO. 5 | Friday, January 29, 2016

Still calling it digital marketing? Drop the ‘digital’

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Of all the trends impacting marketing planning in 2016, many marketers believe the most crucial of all is the seamless integration of digital and traditional strategies.

Despite having the knowledge of how vital this integration is to a well-executed marketing plan, only 17 percent of companies report having fully integrated the two disciplines, according to Smart Insights last year. This gap is on the minds of marketers globally.

The phrase “digital marketing” is becoming synonymous with “marketing” as digital plays a leading role in most marketing campaigns of consequence. Our lives ARE digital.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that digital media advertising spend is projected to surpass TV ad spend in 2016 – a historic milestone.

In fact, in many ways “digital marketing” is redundant. Don’t be surprised if we begin to drop the word “digital” over the next few years and just get back to “marketing.”

Semantics aside, what’s the relevance of this trend?

Media consumption habits are changing, with consumers moving seamlessly between devices and channels. They expect brands to be everywhere they are and for that content to be highly targeted for each channel and device.

This is the final installment an 11-part series on the Top Ten 2016 Marketing Trends.

Where digital used to be an afterthought to traditional (or offline) marketing strategies, savvy brands recognize that non-integrated campaigns don’t perform well.

If your digital team works in a silo away from the rest of your marketing team, you likely have a campaign integration problem.

Imagine the issues that might arise from a print media campaign where digital was an afterthought. The messages may be too complex for digital consumption. The campaign may not be visual enough or engaging enough to pique consumer interest online.

Cross-channel alignment offers your brand an opportunity to improve consumer engagement and response rates.

The primary factors limiting digital and traditional campaign integration inside the average company include:

-- Lack of a combined strategy

-- Lack of integrated skills

-- Lack of an integrated team structure – meaning teams that are still set up in silos.

Being aware of the opportunity is the easy part. True cross-channel integration requires refinements to marketing team recruiting – focusing on digital capabilities for all – and regular team-wide training due to the wildly dynamic nature of the technology behind digital marketing.

With a well-trained, multi-disciplined team in place, developing and executing an integrated campaign will be a piece of cake.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and managing partner of RedRover Sales & Marketing, www.redrovercompany.com, with offices in Memphis and Nashville. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).

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