February 12, 2016

Retro-Marketing: A Return to Traditional Marketing Tools

There is nothing better than a debate amongst peers. No, this is not a post about politics. I am referring to a lively dinner that PebblePost hosted earlier this week, with some amazing Chief Marketing/Digital/Customer Officers from companies as diverse as banks, luxury goods, online megastores, innovative start ups and media brands. Get this group talking, which my colleague Rebecca Lieb did, and the conversation gets lively quickly.

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The topic was centered around the return to traditional forms of media to complete the “marketing breakfast” (in other words, a well-rounded marketing meal to start your day), why that is happening, and what should come of it. Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

  • The power of putting a digital spin on retro tactics. If you watch Back to the Future 2, a lot of the things that movie predicted are true today - hoverboards, a baseball team in Florida, tablet computers, and easy video conferencing (think Skype and Hangouts). Digital thinking is indeed impacting the way traditional channels like TV and direct mail work. While standalone digital thinking and channesl are is not working as well as they used to, they are informing marketers of the value of data. Said one marketer, “data is the backbone of the process. But where it gets used is up for grabs.”
  • The message trumps the medium. All new channels play a role. But the creative teams need to be more creative. According to one marketer, direct mail is a great channel “despite the lack of effort to make the creative compelling. Its still a generic set of promotional offers.” Creative needs to improve to handle the challenges that true omnichannel marketing presents.
  • Privacy is not dead; people are willing to give it up for value. Our dinnermates agree that millenials and younger are far less concerned about data privacy than their parents and older siblings. But they will get more concerned as they are impacted by career issues or personal identity fraud, making privacy an age-related issue. Outside of the US, privacy remains a big concern. And if you forgot, Facebook and others are now able to listen to your conversations to make recommendations. We talked a lot about the good and bad implications of that new tool.

We’ll host other, similar dinners later in the year. Let us know (here) if you are interested to attend. This is a conversation that will take on many sides in the coming months.