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Balancing the traditional vs. digital spend in retail. The Animl view.

05 November, 2014 - Source: Animl

As Christmas approaches, retail continues to evolve. But how does this impact concerns about balancing traditional and digital media spend? Animl looks at how to strike this balance and how to unite consumer interactions wherever they are.


  • Traditional vs digital
    Traditional vs digital

Christmas has always been the biggest season for retailers. As we turn our attention to finding this year’s must have toy (a ‘Furby’ that interacts with iPads anyone?); retailers continue to evolve their offering and make the shopping experience more convenient for our busy lifestyles.

Click and Collect is one of the successful innovations in the retail evolution. Shops, car parks, train stations are being turned into places to pick up shopping ordered online. Everyone is doing it. Argos has revealed that shoppers will be able to pick up eBay parcels from 650 stores by the end of this year. Amazon’s shiny yellow boxes are no longer a slightly odd urban phenomenon, just helpful. And last month, John Lewis opened its ‘click and commute’ store at St Pancras station, which will offer a smaller range of products on shelves, but where shoppers can pick up goods ordered online. 

Clearly, the digital and physical worlds continue to be more interwoven and reliant on delivering a seamless experiences for consumers. But what does this mean for brands concerned with striking a balance between traditional and digital marketing?  

At Animl we believe the answer lies in recognising where the consumer is. Be present, tap into existing behaviours and innovate to join the experience together. This is not just about balancing media budgets, but about creating a clear brand narrative to offer a seamless experience, regardless of how the consumer chooses to interact. A clearly defined brand story creates freedom for a brand to communicate diversely but behave consistently; offering a unified, coherent and meaningful experience for the consumer. In doing so, we can move away from the question of traditional vs. digital and one of traditional and digital working together, on behalf of the consumer. 

Following the consumer poses an interesting challenge for brands. Many marketing organisations are structured into channel specific teams, often split between traditional and digital (or more specifically, advertising, digital, web, direct etc.). Teams
operate with separate targets and budgets. Worse still, they may even be in competition with the other channels. Structural change might help us organise into smaller, cross-functional teams working to meet the needs of the consumer.  

Click and Collect is an example of brands recognising where the consumer is - us Brits hate waiting in all day for deliveries, but we also like making our purchases online. It doesn’t force people to choose one  purchase pattern over another. Instead we can have the best of both. Overlay the brand narrative to unite these interactions to make a cohesive, and coherent experience. Take John Lewis’ story of ‘never knowingly undersold’ (or, in more holistic terms, of putting the customer first) - what truer way of expressing this than ‘click and commute’? Opening up John Lewis ‘stores’ for the lucrative London commuter market – browse and buy online from the comfort of St Albans, collect from the commuter hub ‘warehouse’ of St Pancras.  

So this Christmas why not put concerns about balancing media to one side? Try letting consumers dictate where you need be, and then unite their experiences in with your brand story. The interweaving of digital and physical becomes exciting; its possibilities to make shopping more convenient endless. Let’s relish these possibilities and gather to celebrate them. After all, isn’t celebration what Christmas is really about?

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