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Bridging the digital gap

More and more brands realise they should also be playing in the digital space and are hopping onto the bandwagon. The snag is that marketing is happening haphazardly and money is wasted. In addition, since digital space is comparatively cheaper than radio, print or TV ads, only a fraction of the overall marketing budget is allocated to online and mobile.
Some tips on how to approach your marketing strategy:

1. Trust your agency: Your agency works with marketing concepts and ideas every day. Let them do the work for you - and trust that they know what they are doing. They will most probably surprise you.

2. Do not be afraid to be the first: To be the first implies being willing to take risks. Sometimes it pays off and sometimes not, but when it does, the rewards are great. Look at Starbucks: due to their willingness to adopt new ideas, they have one of the world's strongest Facebook communities today.

3. Statistics can be misleading: For instance, in June, 17 million unique browsers were reported (DMMA & Effective Measure). Of approximately 50 million people in SA (Stats SA, mid-year population estimates, 2011), this is a relatively low 34% internet penetration figure. However, what we often forget is that the online community is very largely made up economically active taxpayers with strong buying power. So look at the bigger picture and see just how powerful online can be.

The question remains - how can a digital strategy work with the above-the-line strategy? Much depends on the target market and objectives. What shouldn't happen is digital being brought in as an afterthought and only for the sake of having a digital element. Digital should be involved from the start to assess how different platforms can work together.

It's about connections

Once the target market and objective/s have been identified, and the platforms have been decided on, look at the ways the various platforms can connect: QR codes, SMS short codes, virtual checkpoints, are but a few options to bridge the gap.

Traditional media is also moving into a particularly exciting space whereby social media is leveraged to enable a more holistic marketing strategy. Guys like Trendrr TV are working towards leveraging social media around television. Similarly the big boys like, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Economist are all using social media to build their audiences. If publishers are adopting new technology, brands should do so too.

Studies show that traditional media is not being replaced by digital media - instead consumers are using them together. It is therefore crucial to have a holistic marketing strategy where digital and traditional work together to bring a brand to its full potential.

If you'd like more information, please email .

About Andre Britz

André Britz is the 2010 and 2011 best media planner winner at the Bookmarks and heads up Atmosphere Orange, a media planning and buying agency based in Cape Town. She has extensive agency experience and is well-known in the digital space. Follow @AtmosphOrange on Twitter.
Clint Griffin
I 100% agree that a lot of companies still think of the digital component of strategy as separate from the overall strategy. As you have said, this is completely wrong, all components need to be thought of holistically from the start.What is interesting from an online perspective is that conversations dominate the space - it is a place for honesty and this is where agencies struggle - to release the notion of the 'Big Idea' as tantamount, and learn from the digital space - consumers want integrity and honesty, the slogans from the past have little place today.This is why I worry about your 1st rule - trust your agency - how many agencies firstly understand honest communication and secondly how many have the time to invest in this? I am not suggesting agencies lack integrity, not at all, I am just saying that the 'traditional' agency approach to branding is not going to cut it - until this is realised agencies will still approach this from an 'advertising' perspective, not an integrated approach so needed today.
Posted on 23 Jul 2012 15:33
Afrio Thathe
Interesting article thanks for sharing. Just to add my 2cents.I agree with what you & Clint have said in terms of involving the digital components from the start. Many are times I've seen how agencies work where there's a lack of communication between the digital space and the traditional media. Where companies invest heavily on traditional media and very little on digital platforms of which this is where the real actions is. I think instead of trusting agencies, more understanding has to come from a client side. The client needs to get the right resources that makes them understand the digital platform as a whole before approaching an/their agency because most of the time the client doesn't have an idea how these platforms works and they end up investing little and the outcome ends up being little because agencies have 'stuck' to the budget. The goal needs to be clear across all platforms from the client side more than trusting the agency. For instance, don't use social media as a single campaign but use it as part of the campaign. Part of a big idea. One goal, one idea across chosen platforms that's where the real success of campaign starts.
Posted on 24 Jul 2012 08:07
Les van Dyk
Hi Andre - some companies are even cancelling their print for fiscal 2013 which makes it even more valuable when considering digital (trends) and on the topic of trusting your agency - do planners really plan according to clients’ needs or with a brand they feel comfortable with or a combination of both?What's your take on this?Loved your article!!Les.
Posted on 24 Jul 2012 12:58