Do traditional advertising tactics like TV, out-of-home, direct mail, and radio still have a place in a hyper-modernized market being slowly enveloped by targeted, personalized, data driven communications? And for loyalty marketers, an even bigger question: what is the philosophy underpinning traditional advertising tactics as a motive to support and bolster loyalty program member count?
The general marketing industry has long been cautioned about the demise of traditional advertising channels. In 2019, TV ads are forecasted to decline 4%, while digital is expected to grow by 18%. But does this perspective really capture the whole story? Marketers themselves continue to embrace the glow of TV: in a new study from Adobe, a survey of 1,000 TV buyers found that marketers rank TV advertising as more effective than most digital formats. And this preference is supported by the hard reality of TV’s results: among 100 global campaigns, the majority of performance-boasting initiatives were TV-led between 2013-2016.
Traditional advertising tactics are not often the main focus of loyalty plays. But these channels can be an invaluable vehicle for building customer awareness, an especially important metric now that the loyalty landscape is becoming cluttered and the number programs proliferates. And great advertising has proven time and time again that the right messages can break through the melee and score big wins for brands behind them.
Marriott “Bonvoy” Boldly Navigates TV
Marriott launched their “Bonvoy” program in mid-February of this year, aiming to consolidate three separate properties: Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest. Built on the belief that “travel enriches us all and has the power to enrich the world”, and leading with the tagline “Rewards Reimagined”, a multi-million dollar global media campaign headed the program rollout. The zenith of the initiative: a TV-spot first airing during the Oscars.
The commercial highlights Marriott International’s key properties and focuses on the experiences and excitement that can be enjoyed there, with the entire spot celebrating the program’s name - “Bonvoy!” – and even touching on the different tiers available to members (one vignette highlights the “Elite” tier and a special gift that comes with it).
By featuring the extravagant locations and exhilarating activities available to members, Marriott is contextualizing the heart of the program – stirring up sentiment and building the emotional response necessary to encourage further exploration and signup. It doesn’t hurt that the word “Bonvoy!” is the centerpiece of the campaign, repeated by the characters throughout the spot’s duration and connected at each moment to the program’s value and utility. For a new program with little familiarity, the ad is a crucial step in the lifecycle for building a holistic program aiming to slide its way into the competitive hospitality industry.
Nando’s Evolves Out-Of-Home
Engaging creative and innovative ideas have never seemed more urgent in the world of traditional advertising. Traditional ads and channels now have to compete with digital and its endless malleability, meaning that capturing customer attention is fraught with an entirely new set of challenges. That’s why tactics like gamification and socialization are becoming more effective and increasingly widespread – even in the non-digital world.
Nando’s in the UK perfectly blended these two strategies with their “Free Nando’s Coming Soon” billboard campaign, transforming the typical out-of-home billboard format into an immersive publicity stunt. With messaging and visuals featuring a gigantic loyalty card, audiences were informed that if they could retrieve the card from the billboard they would be able to bring it into stores to receive a free meal for up to ten people. The cheeky tone and humor was a perfect fit for UK audiences, and the success of the campaign led to its expansion into digital and social channels.
Ten Traditional Advertising Takeaways
Advertising works, and it isn’t going away any time soon. And as digital becomes more and more cluttered, with the costs of attracting large audiences increasing every day, well executed traditional formats can still be a great inclusion for any loyalty marketing budget. Here are a few best practices to secure your investment in traditional advertising:
- The media type doesn’t lead the campaign. Traditional advertising will only work if it plays in the same spaces your audience navigates.
- “Data-driven” campaigns leveraging deep analytics and creative customer insights are as important as ever – even for age-old tactics like direct mail.
- Look for opportunities to connect traditional executions to digital spaces with tactics like online calls-to-action and augmented realities.
- “Traditional advertising” doesn’t necessarily equate to mass-advertising. Today’s ever fragmenting audiences may respond better to more targeted approaches like direct mail or local out-of-home.
- Think about the key timelines of your long-term loyalty goals – from launch through to various rollout phases – when mapping out advertising calendars.
- Imbue ads with value by offering rewards or calling-out special promotions.
- Streamline creative and copy into succinct, impactful messages.
- Establish specific metrics to track campaign success: metrics become more challenging to verify in the traditional domain, so a bulletproof valuation strategy must be in place at every step of the execution journey.
- Start small, go big: a scalable initiative that expands to fit growing needs has less inherent risk.
- Don’t inundate your audience – today’s customers fatigue rapidly amidst an incessant onslaught of brand messages. The right cadence for an execution schedule keeps your audience engaged while insulating your bottom line.