Amazon.com Helps Make The Case For Traditional Marketing During Critical Fall/Holiday Season


When I opened my mailbox and found Amazon’s Holiday Kids Gift Book I was downright excited. Not only does the 2022 5th Edition book, dubbed Share The Adventure, feature over 600 toys and gifts spread across 104 pages of fun, but the mailing reinforces the need for marketers to double down when it comes to the coupling of aspects and ideas of digital and traditional marketing.


There can be no better way to illustrate the point. Here you have online, retailing-behemoth Amazon spending the money to print millions of copies of a hefty, 4/color catalog and then spending the money to distribute it through the U.S. Postal Service. While at first glance, the promotion is a step back-in-time to the days the Spiegel catalog was the holiday rage, but it is much more than that. The mailing is a multi-media event, encouraging readers to get online and “get gifting” at amazon.com/kidsgiftbook. Every page of the mailing features a scan-to-shop code, so toy shopping consumers can more easily scan (offline) and buy (online), by adding items seen in the book to their shopping cart by scanning codes using their mobile device. There are two benefits to such a process. First benefit, Amazon sells a lot of toys. Second benefit, Amazon grows its CRM (customer relationship management) initiative.

The Amazon program reminds me a bit of the ‘Joy of Pepsi’ Britney Spears Super Bowl ad event from 2002. The Pepsi event sprang from a 90-second Super Bowl ad that ran during the 1st quarter of that year’s game. I recall the ad, because at the end of it, Pepsi featured a URL, and that was a first for any big-brand television advertiser. The microsite associated with the event featured behind-the-scenes video of Spears, as well as shopping and polls and other fun promotions. Not only did the TV commercial (offline) direct millions of people to the microsite created for the event (online) which garnered tens of millions of incremental impressions for the brand, it enabled Pepsi to grow its CRM significantly. Pepsi registered more than 5,000,000 email addresses as a result of its multi-media event, according to trade reports. So in the case of the Pepsi event, consumers were driven from TV to the web where they were registered, and in the case of the Amazon event, consumers are being driven from a catalog to the web where they are being registered.


These two events — one from 20 years ago and one that is being run today — speak to the all-important role of offline marketing and media in today’s media mix. Offline marketing refers to advertising that is deployed across traditional vehicles like television, radio, print, billboards, even in-store merchandising material. While these marketing channels do not require an online connection to be successful, an online connection can drive higher return on investment and garner greater success than would be realized using a singular approach. The coupling of online and offline marketing efforts build brand awareness because it fosters an ‘advertising everywhere’ effect that impacts customers and prospects. In addition to reaching customers where they are, the online connection also enables marketers to realize online conversions and test new markets.

Whatever offline media is used, marketers enhance the customer experience when linking offline and online marketing efforts. Print ads and billboards can easily share a company’s website. Radio ads can do it as well. The promotion of hashtags allows customers who spend a lot of time online to more deeply immerse themselves in a brand experience, continuing the brand relationship and buyer journey virtually. If marketers choose to introduce Connected TV and Streaming Audio into their ad mix, the results are, more often than not, amplified as conversions from different digital media can be measured both singularly and cross platform. Cross channel marketing — combining online and offline media and marketing efforts — is the most successful way of capitalizing on all the opportunities that exist in today’s thrilling ad market. -- Raquel Rodriguez



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