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We’ve heard it all before, “SEO is dead,” is perhaps the most common phrase in the industry. It’s something we, as SEO experts have to address on a regular basis, but we are not alone. On the opposite side of digital traditional agencies have been berated with the same negatively for years –

“TV is a dying medium”

“Print is dead”

“All advertising budgets should go to digital marketing”

“Traditional advertising agencies no longer have a place”

As marketers, whether digital or offline, we hear all of these things in relation to how the market is changing. Why though as digital marketers must we convince others that these channels have become obsolete? It’s time we learn from the successes of our offline esteemed colleagues.

Cannes Lions 2016

Cannes Lions awards those working in creative communications, advertising, and related fields, considered to be the biggest worldwide advertising awards ceremony.

Awarded categories include, but are not limited to: design, cyber, media, PR, radio, promo and activation, and product design.

These awards are traditionally dominated by the traditional agencies however, there have been a significant amount of negative reviews in recent years noting that the front row seats were being taken up by Google and Facebook rather than more traditional agencies. The big question that circulated was: What is happening to the advertising industry? Why are digital agencies and their “Entourage” sitting front and center?

“Today, content isn’t the topic of conversation – today, ad tech is the topic of conversation”

“This year at Cannes, I expect to see some truly creative data-driven ideas that improve our well-being and build meaningful connections that enrich people’s lives, winning awards”

Some argued that the industry used to be comprised of the best creative minds in the world, condemning the shift towards data driven approaches. However, others had a more positive outlook, merging creativity and data driven concepts instead of viewing them as separate entities for more effective, meaningful content.


So we ask the question – Can’t the Old Marry the New? 

With the move towards more data driven approaches, it’s natural to want to switch to pure digital. However, we feel that pure digital is not the answer. Instead, we should be collaborating with traditional agencies and creating a more holistic marketing plan that integrates everything from online and offline perspectives. We need to understand the clients’ needs and work together to meet them instead of simply focusing on digital data.

There’s more at our disposal if we open ourselves to learning from traditional advertising campaigns that have been successful in the past. We looked at two case studies – Indochino and Warby Parker – to best illustrate the successes of marrying digital with offline advertising.

Indochino Case Study


Indochino specializes in customizable suits, allowing customers to choose everything from the thread, lining, jacket, to the pattern. Not only are they of high quality, the suits are offered at an extremely good price. The company would send fabric samples to the customers so they could judge the quality for themselves. But that still wasn’t enough for the customers.

They wanted to be able to go to a physical location and see the suits for themselves, not just the fabric. In response, Indochino hosted a pop up store and found that it was a huge success. Due to the huge turnout and the positive feedback, the company decided to set up 7 stores.

Their online success and concept provided them with the information they needed to set up their stores. Their online business informed them of the need to create on offline business, setting them up for success.

Warby Parker Case Study

Warby Parker was an online site that offered prescription glasses for $95, undercutting a large portion of the optical market. When the company launched in 2010, they hit their year’s target profit within the first quarter.

How did they do it? Did they spend millions on a marketing campaign? No. In fact, they didn’t spend any money at all.

Once the company’s two well-placed editorials in GQ and Vogue hit the stands, Warby Parker’s site crashed. Within two weeks, they sold out and had a waitlist of 20,000 customers. It wasn’t until two years later that Warby Parker began marketing on Google AdWords.

While the company sent customers 3-5 frames for customers to try, free of shipping charges, customers wanted more. Like the Indochino case, customers wanted a physical location where they could try the product. People even came into the small, New York offices to try them on.

Warby Parker used to be a completely online concept but listened to the need for there to be an offline site. They’ve since built 31 locations that seem to be busy at all hours of the day. If they had just stayed online, they could have lost a lot of revenue – but they didn’t.


So how do we determine where investment is best placed? Who wins? Does traditional or digital advertising reign supreme? Neither!



Traditionally, in digital advertising, everything is attributed to the last click. When figuring out the ROI from customers, someone typically converts the clicks from paid advertising and divides the budget from the conversions. However, this completely ignores the influence of offline advertising.

Advertising is about providing a balance across all mediums. If you got a last click from AdWords, you need to first look at the journey the user took to get to that click on AdWords. Did they see a banner advertising before they got there? Did they see an offline advertisement? Perhaps a poster on the subway? Was the company on their mind when they saw the advertisement and clicked on it? There is a mix of advertising and you cannot simply allocate everything to the last click. Instead, you need to look at what influence each of the mediums have.

There needs to be a balance between traditional and digital advertising, and we need to weigh attribution accordingly.

The Advocate

What does online and offline advertising have in common and what can we learn from them? The answer? Creating the advocate for your business.

The last part of the familiar “Consumer Decision Journey” is bonding. When you create a good product with a good digital offering, you can create advocates that build your business. The aim is to bond so well that you’ve created an advocate who will promote for your brand among his or her social circles.

Here, online and offline advertising inform and work together, which is why there shouldn’t be a fight to allocate the entirety of one’s resources to one sphere or the other.

In summary, we’re using online data to inform traditional media/offline. From the start of this article, we’ve been advocating against how traditional means, like TV, are “dead.”

But what about shows like House of Cards? Regardless of what device you’re using, it’s still a TV show. Netflix took all of the information it could find from traditional mediums to create one of the most successful online series. It analyzed data and utilized the most successful elements. Questions were asked –

Who is the most popular female actress for the past 10 years?
Robin Wright??

Who was the most popular male actor?
Kevin Spacey

What was the most popular genre of TV shows that had the biggest success?
Politics/the West Wing

Netflix took this formula and created a show based on all of the traditional medium (TV)’s successes to inform a less traditional, online medium.



One of the biggest “Online viewing” successes presently is House of Cards. Like Warby Parker, something that lives in the digital space has been informed by traditional advertising, we need to be working with traditional advertisers in order to create a holistic strategy instead of simply looking at the data we have. This way, we can best, integrate marketing strategy to meet the client’s needs.

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