This cartoon in Marketing Week really spoke to me.  The question it brings up is: what is really working in the marketing mix?  The answer is: it’s hard to say. A marketer needs specific tracking tools for each medium chosen and some of those options – those in analog formats –  don’t provide precise performance numbers like digital ones do.

It is important to remember that we still listen passively to the radio while driving and can’t exactly respond immediately to what motivates us due to the risk of crashing our vehicle.  But the impressions still work…especially when we hear them multiple times.

The same goes for broadcast television, billboards, magazine ads and other non-digital media formats. They are all still used because they continue to provide a sales lift.  They are, however, missing that digital media advantage: an accurate reading on impressions.

The easy access performance metrics we get from digital promotion make it very tempting to assume it has the greatest impact. That is the point of the cartoon I referenced at the start. Consequently, one may consider putting all of their eggs into the digital basket.  In certain cases, this would be a mistake.  The overwhelming migration to digital has caused another effect: over-saturation at popular digital locations.

So, get your A-B testing, direct customer references, discount codes, and other analog-format promotional testing tools lined up.  Online and mobile are getting increasingly cluttered…especially on hot social media sites and apps. This means that, depending on the product or service, one may do better localizing or tracking promotional performance in an “old school” media format.

Mark Salow, Consultant