Having a digital strategy is a good thing. But there’s a problem. We count on digital metrics to make an impact in the non-digital world. And frankly, they’re not enough.
Most products exist in a form other than just pixels. They’re on a shelf, in a showroom, or on your porch in an Amazon box. It’s easy to forget these physical manifestations because the magic portal to our customers is almost always through a screen. In a digital strategy, you’re buying screen time.
Since our agency spends most of its time around heavy equipment, we’ll use that as an example. Let’s assume the digital assets for a newly-introduced piece of equipment creatively address the wide end of the purchase funnel: Awareness and Consideration. But there are vital touchpoints that require us to think beyond the screen. The areas of Evaluation, Action, and the holy grail of Advocacy for your brand often require a different kind of interactivity and a more tangible strategy. Here are three excellent places to start.
It’s true that direct mail has some drawbacks, and currently, the postal service is going through some stuff. Setting all that aside, a well-produced direct mail communication can have a much longer shelf-life than a digital message. The tactile experience of opening, unfolding, and discovering can separate your brand from the competition. The texture of paper, printing embellishments like foil stamping and die-cuts can be hard for customers to throw out—and easy to share. If you want to get really fancy you can include a sound or even a scent. There’s a lot of research around the power of smells to create an emotional connection. Think about the power of that new car smell.
In the equipment and commercial transportation category, this can take many forms. Parts department counter displays, service bay signage, waiting room posters, and window clings can guide your customer through product features that may take more explanation. This is also a great place to promote value-added service and warranty options that may be outside their primary need.
There are dozens of scenarios that come to mind. Say, for example, your customer is in for service on an older piece of equipment that’s getting poor fuel efficiency. If they’re standing next to a display that reminds them when to consider an overhaul, it could initiate a conversation with the service advisor.
Too many companies have the mentality that packaging is unimportant since shipping implies that a transaction has already taken place. That’s narrow thinking. Let’s say you have a fleet customer that regularly purchases replacement parts. Those parts are a reminder of their relationship with you. Your brand should be well represented on the packaging. That’s advertising space you already own. Don’t waste it.
Today, we’re all doing business in a digital-first, mobile-driven, screen-dominated marketplace. But in real life, advertising efficacy can be difficult and expensive to track. Results can appear less conclusive than open rates, click-throughs, and other engagement statistics. I’m not suggesting we return to the days when ads were printed in magazines and posted on billboards. But as that era taught us, sales are still the only metric that truly matters.
Try this strategy update.
To really evaluate your success, study the sales metric over a period that’s longer than the short-sighted timeline we use for digital metrics. Because unless you’re looking at your digital results through the unforgiving lens of sales, you risk getting a skewed perspective of your performance. Try it next time you run the numbers.