When traditional meets the digital world

Traditional Marketing vs Digital Media Marketing

In my last blog, 3 Branding Issues worth Marketing Efforts, I wrote about the issues the famous Canadian coffee chain, Second Cup, might be facing.  I mentioned that some of the struggles may have something to do with the clash between traditional and digital.  In my language that is called “when traditional meets the digital world they freak out”.

At ECG, we face this clash very frequently.  And it might even sound ridiculous to anybody that today, when people are connected to social media and the digital world 24/7/365; we are facing a silent war between the two.  Well, it’s not ridiculous at all; there is still a lot of work to do.

As a former master’s degree psychology student (I left it to become and entrepreneur, but grabbed the knowledge. Read my About) I tend to include in my analysis the behavioral side of any issue, that’s where the marketing psychology steps in.  I believe this clash is more and inner behavioral challenge than what statistics really show us, a spike growth in digital media.

By inner behavioral  (I made up this concept) I mean: inter-company or inter-personal behavioral challenge. Either you have a personal issue with digital media or there are issues in your company with digital media.  I describe it as a “challenge” and not an “issue”, because changes always cause fear to the unknown.  It is the change to that perspective which becomes our challenge as professionals in digital media marketing.

There are 3 top things that can cause the clash and the inner behavioral challenge.  And I will explain each below as brief as possible (‘cuz I want you to come back and visit me in future blogs):


Generational clashStart-ups, like ECG, have become the trend for doing businesses.  Those startups founded or leaded by baby boomers are proven to be more successful.  In an article written by the recognized investor, Vivek Wadhwa for the Washington Post: Why baby boomers are an important part of technology’s future, he mentions that “every year from 1996 to 2013, Americans in the 55-to-64 age group started new businesses at a higher rate than those in their twenties and thirties.” Wow! They stopped playing golf to become productive again.

If you read the entire article carefully you will identify an inner-behavioral challenge: there is a gap in entrepreneurship ages; that gap missing is generation X entrepreneurship.  The growth is becoming higher for millennials and baby boomers (‘cuz junior talks a lot with wise grandpa).

Baby boomers are more in touch with technology today than ever in order to get closer to their grandchildren and family. In the article: The Overlooked: Social Media Marketing for Senior Citizens, in a report in 2010 says that Baby boomers using Facebook represented “14.8 million of total users…, a 1,448% yearly growth”.

What’s up with Generation X? In business, generation X is more likely to think that baby boomers  still favor traditional marketing and won’t understand digital.  They tend to think for them, when in our real world the statistics tell us a different story.

Generation X suffers from insecurity (and I speak in general, don’t take it personal), they grew surviving the absence of their baby boomers parents.  Unfortunately, that inner behavioral challenge they take it to their jobs and businesses (if they survive being business owners).

When it comes to digital media they are more skeptical about digital media than baby boomers and millennials. In the other hand, they are so busy working that sometimes they don’t look deeper on how powerful digital media can be for them as professionals and businesses.  They don’t grow faster, because they think they know it all and don’t need advice from anyone (Yeah, we are the “attitude” generation).


Ignorance | Digital Media

People just decide they don’t get digital media, “I just don’t get it”.   That is called ignorance (if it has other adjective please let me know).  Ignorance by choice or ignorance for not knowing (I can understand this one).  Once you get into learning how digital media works it will become easier to understand.

Have you met with clients that have told you they don’t need online presence? Or that they don’t need social media? Or maybe you have heard, “I don’t have time for that”. Those questions only mean one thing: “I have no idea what you’re talking about”.  Those clients need direction and easy to understand valuable information on how digital media works and how they can benefit from it. Don’t get your dictionary of complicated terms to explain something in a simpler way (you don’t look smarter saying complicated terms, trust me). Make sure to bring current statistics, comparisons, easy to digest definitions to terms, and of course benefits (ROI).

For the ones that are ignorant by choice, those you have to prove yourself to them.  Be on top of the new trends in digital marketing (‘cuz they change daily), show them case studies of your clients, in other words, woo them into it.  They will take longer to convince, but just be consistent and follow up on them.  Make them feel welcomed to ask you any time.  In the end, they will fall in love with digital media and you will get a new client on board.

Marketing fail

Digital Marketing fail

If a company has a generation X marketing leadership team, I would pay more attention and would supervised more (That’s what I would do as the boss).  Specially the marketing division. I admit that my generation,  when we put in our best we come stars employees, but sometimes we complain so much and look for the downfalls all the time that we deny ourselves the opportunity to become the best in what we do (just plain arrogance). We can become so self-centered, and “I know it all and I don’t need you” that we can make our boss look awful.

This worsens when a marketing division is not yet using digital media.  Not only they don’t use it, but they lack of the thorough understanding on how it works, its reach, what their audience wants and how to develop a powerful digital media strategy. If today, a marketing division lacks this understanding their not reaching their whole audience, but just a fraction.  They are not reaching the audience that can become their revenue, which is worst.

A lot of businesses are failing today, not because of the economy, they have waited too long to notice their market changes and what this market wants.  They are not reading their numbers beyond the numbers.  It’s important to see between the numbers.  Numbers are the result of our efforts. When numbers are falling you have to look closer to your efforts and ask yourself, what am I missing?  Give a look at your digital media efforts. You might surprised yourself.

I am part of the generation X and I learned the hard way.  I evolved (Thank goodness). There is a lot we can learn from our baby boomers and our millennials.  We wouldn’t have so many inner behavioral challenges if we just learned to work together and not feel threaten by the minute.  Businesses require vision and they can’t be leaded by mediocre minds crying for attention with their insecurities.  That attitude became obsolete a long time ago. Let’s huddle and make traditional engage with digital. Both can conquer the world together.

Which of the three are more common in your digital marketing business?  Share your thoughts and get in touch, let’s connect!


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