CIB has consistently invested in its digital offer and we’ve certainly delivered some fantastic (and award winning) campaigns – from Channel Graham and STN to RIW, Metsec and Door-Stop. Yet, one of my biggest bugbears is marketeers who’ve decided to ‘go digital’.
Of course, everyone is under pressure to be at the cutting edge – and it’s no surprise that many marketing agencies have used ‘digital’ as a way to position themselves as pioneers.
However, should we really be going digital and forsaking all others? What concerns me is marketing professionals asserting that “print advertising doesn’t work anymore” or “people don’t read the trade press ” when they have gathered little proof to support the claim. Whilst CIB has been the first to embrace the directness and measurability of digital techniques, I can’t help but feel that a brand can’t live on digital alone.
It seems to me that many in the industry are confusing the easiest to measure tactics with the most effective. Afterall, all marcomms can be measured, it’s just that construction firms don’t tend to put budget aside to do so. Whilst digital might always win on measurability, this doesn’t actually mean it’s always the most effective option – or that it should be used in isolation.
A 2018 report from Ebiquity compared the effectiveness and perceived effectiveness of different forms of marketing. The results highlighted that whilst useful, digital approaches still fall behind more traditional marketing methods on a number of levels.
Looking back at the Ebiquity study, it rates different forms of advertising across 12 attributes, comparing how they perform in reality, with how agency and advertising staff perceive them to perform. Interestingly, the research shows that there is a clear disparity between perception and reality.
For one, when it comes to building brand salience, digital marketing approaches lag considerably behind more traditional forms. Neither paid social media, online video or online display rank in the top five most effective forms of marketing for this goal.
It’s a similar story when assessing for return on investment (ROI), although there is a much closer correlation between perception and performance. The research reaffirms other independent sources that digital media often gets too much credit for delivering an impressive ROI versus its actual performance. To this end, it’s important to not fall into the trap of vanity figures, ask yourself; are 100,000 three second video views on Facebook anywhere near as valuable as even a small percentage of that figure taking the time to read about your brand in a trade publication? And in terms of what you measure, are you measuring the right thing? Likes, comments, shares and video views are all very satisfying – but how about the goal conversions?
Don’t we also need to take into account the target audience’s mindset when evaluating the different channels? If you are seeking out a decision-maker who is educating themselves for business purposes and open to new ideas, surely the trade press is a still a crucial part of the mix?
In the Ebiquity report, print advertising actually outperforms digital services and is shown to significantly boost performance of a campaign. To this end, many could justifiably argue that the most successful marketing campaigns last year were print ads.
This is further backed up with our own independent research, which maintains that in the construction sector, trade magazines and publications remain highly relevant and shouldn’t be overlooked. We asked over 1200 SME installers across nine trades if they read at least one of the core titles and nearly 60% confirmed that they did.
Our research also explored brand re-call across our client base and showed up to 45% of those surveyed had recently read about a client of ours in their trade press - significantly less recalled seeing them mentioned on social media.
Regardless of what form of marcomms marketeers believe will best suit their audience and objective, it’s essential that they don’t box themselves in and become too caught up with one particular form. In the words of Mark Ritson, “synergy beats specialism” and there’s a lot of evidence to support that a number of different approaches should be worked into a broader marketing strategy. Maybe it’s time for us all to reassess, take a step back and more fully re-embrace the marketing mix?