When digital marketing hit the scene, marketers were wild to finally have a way to see, in real-time, performance data. KPI became the new reporting standard, and brands went vociferously after clicks, likes, shares and other forms of immediate, top-of-funnel engagement.
It was the promise of digital media, to deliver a highly targeted audience with easy to see “results.” Yet the whole idea was a bit of a unicorn, as ad fraud escalated and brands chased vanity metrics that failed to deliver. Still, print couldn’t shake its reputation as being too hard to measure.
Now, industry experts are reevaluating expectations when it comes to important measures of impact, writes Leo Mermillod in The Drum.
“People do not perceive ‘tangible ads’ (television, print or poster campaigns) the same way they do digital one,” said Nathalie Taboch, general manager at Ebiquity Paris at a recent roundtable event. The event was sponsored by The Drum in partnership with Print Power.
“Digital is all about the now, the instant,” Taboch continued. “It’s snackable content that will create an impulse, favoring an action or a reaction. Tangible communication calls upon the imagination, aspirations, they imprint deeper, in the memory, serving a long-lasting brand image.”
The challenge remains – how to measure that impact? For many, the answer lies in an expanded definition of ROI.
“There’s a side of ROI that shouldn’t be neglected” warned Véronique Louise, global branding and media director at Moët Hennessy, who also participated in the roundtable. “It is of course about investment, but the ‘I’ also stands for imagery. I personally push my research team – because we are part of a very finance-driven company – to work on a ROI2 that takes both investment and imagery into account.”
The panel had a wide-ranging discussion that dissected modern consumer behavior and the demand for immediacy, coupled with the desire for deep engagement.
“To snatch the consumer’s attention, you have to meet them where they are with a speech tailored to the way they want to consume. And print is not a medium to forget therein,” concluded Aurélie Irurzun from Havas Media Group.
More marketers and brands are coming to realize that quality attention is the one thing that vanity metrics can’t win you. Attention-grabbing strategies won’t sustain your bottom-line business goals. Creating content for the “like” or the “share” could be backfiring. Consumers are getting really good at ignoring, blocking, even reporting digital content. Instead, it’s time to return to strategic marketing plans that make the best use of a mix of media. And for deep, trusted engagement, that means print… however, you measure it.