Hit enter to search or ESC to close

Attributing Traditional Marketing Tactics Through Digital Marketing

Grady Neff // April 16, 2019

Colorful Cords Plugged into a Transmitter Device

Guys. I’m the data and tech guy. I do webinars about new martech platforms. I write all about how to integrate and vet new technology. Digital marketing isn’t just my wheelhouse, I AM DIGITAL MARKETING.

And yet, prepare to be startled...

Traditional marketing still works, and has a place in your business’ marketing efforts.

South Park Gif I Am So Startled

So, there is a pretty good reason why all those marketing efforts were around until this point. They still have the potential to connect with your users, move leads through the funnel, and qualify potential purchasers. The key differentiator is that you still need to integrate them with your existing marketing efforts in a way that allows you to quantify results.

“How do you do that, Digital Marketing?” Thanks for asking me, humble reader. Allow me to walk you through three examples. But first, let’s cover a key tracking component that has to do with all your traditional needs, from direct mail to conferences and more.

Vanity URLs and Attributing Traditional Marketing Efforts

A vanity URL refers to an ancillary top-level domain (TLD) you’ve purchased that allows for you to simplify your printed marketing efforts.

Let’s say I just so happen to sell mani/pedi kits (totally hypothetical) and my primary TLD is https://gradysmanimansion.com. If I plaster that all over my traditional marketing material, I may get more traffic, but I’ll also have no way to determine if it came as a result of that traditional marketing material or not. It will only show up as “Direct” traffic within my analytics platform, as the offline intent can’t be interpreted by a browser.

In come vanity URLs. Instead, I purchase https://pediperfection.com from a hosting company, and on the DNS side, I set up an automatic redirect so any traffic that visits the new URL automatically 301s to https://gradysmanimansion.com?utm_source=print. Then in my analytics platform, the source straight to the TLD is re-written as print (or whatever you dictate). Boom!

So using vanity URLs is an important component to consider across all traditional marketing. Just be sure to change the UTM query string per traditional marketing usage, and try to keep unique vanity URLs for each type of traditional marketing tactic currently in use.

Where Does Direct Mail Fit In?

Before I get into how to integrate this into your digital marketing, let me clarify a bit about what I mean by direct mail. Purchasing a list of contacts and blasting out printed marketing materials is a terrible way to go about marketing. It’s inefficient and a waste of money...unless your goal is to get minimal awareness and add to the dump.

Targeted direct mail IS a good use of your marketing dollars, because intentional and timely engagement paired with physical materials can be very impactful at the bottom of the funnel. It is incredibly difficult to use mailed materials to immediately get the attention of a person with no exposure to your brand, product, or service. Someone who’s already aware, on the other hand, and who is already thinking about vetting you as a purchase option, will be much more likely to engage favorably with printed materials.

In come integrated direct mail options like Postalytics or Lob, which connect to your CRM or marketing automation systems to deliver templated direct mail. They allow for you to set up your printed materials to then get delivered at the time of your choosing. Provide some kind of call to action or offer in response to the printed material, and use the vanity URL to track performance.

And What About Conferences?

Another great old-school way to shake some hands and make some connections. Badge scans and attendee lists are a nice way to bolster your contact database, but they aren’t directly indicative of interest in your product or service. So when leaning on events, always provide some secondary follow-up to the contacts as a way to discern whether they truly are a good fit for additional marketing and sales materials.

Personally, I don’t recommend event sponsorships without ancillary benefits as a result. Simply having your logo present on event material or said aloud by a speaker does as close to nothing for buyers as it gets. Vet the sponsorship offering beforehand and double-check whether they offer up speaking opportunities or dedicated signage. Lean on vanity URLs as well for public-facing signage and printed materials being handed out to vet the effectiveness of the show.

Another One of the Traditional Marketing “Things”—Print.

Printed material still works, with the right type of targeting. It’s more difficult to bridge the gap between a static print ad and reaching for a device to type in a URL. However, it can be tracked with a vanity URL or even a QR code.

Print is tougher because it really can’t directly integrate or fire based on your existing marketing efforts or stack. And the run for the ad still follows a very traditional buying system, with creative delivery weeks or months before distribution to account for the printing process. However, if consistent brand exposure is important for your prospects all the way through the funnel, it can’t be ignored.

Pro Tip: Follow Your Prospects

At the end of the day, your marketing should bridge the gap between where your prospects are and what your business needs to communicate. If your audience is spending time in printed outlets or other places that don’t have screens, then your marketing should follow suit. But it should always connect back to your systems for tracking and sales correlation.