Digital’s Black Eye

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I took a softball to the eye last summer. I was playing shortstop when a sharp ground ball took an embarrassing bounce and crushed my zygomatic bone. The result was this:

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Not so pretty, right?

Digital Marketing has a similar blemish that has curiously skirted the genius of marketing companies globally, and continues to mar the otherwise perfect image of the industry (similar to my bruise destroying my otherwise model-like features…my wife says it’s true).

I’m talking about the connection between online marketing and in-store sales. Recent studies (like this one) show at least 83% of people search online prior to making a buying decision.

However, the challenge as marketers lies in proving a connection between the online ad or conversation taking place and an actual purchase being made.

I recently had to face this decision with a well-known brand who we’re helping with brand amplification.

The solution we chose seems to be the industry standard: provide an incentive to engage the customer digitally and force them to use a mobile device to make the purchase (e.g. via coupon, download incentive, etc.) at major distribution centers (e.g. Walmart, Walgreens, etc.).

However, the experience prompted me to pose this question: What else is there? Surely with all of the innovation, experience, and creative thinking happening in our industry we can create something more seamless than a clunky incentive-based model. Don’t you agree?

I’d love to hear ideas. If you know of another route, or are interested in figuring it out; let me know. This is the sort of problem set I find fascinating, and I get giddy when given the opportunity to invent the future.

What’s YOUR thought?

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