On the drive to work this morning, I heard a radio advert for a major UK fashion retailer. It ended with “go in store to see our deals” – no mention of the website or that even shopping online is an option. My heart sank a bit.

Why did no one in their marketing team spot the omission? Was it a deliberate decision to allow more time for brand messaging at the sake of driving people to the site? Who made that decision and based on what data?

If the brand experience can be knitted together well online and offline, the rewards are there – you’ve only got to look at Carlsberg’s content strategy from last year for proof of that.

On the flipside, there are examples that warm my heart, like the Regent Street’s Shopping App. Not only does it bring multiple brands together, but saw some of the top UK retailers’ flagship stores employ beacon chips to push notifications to users on their mobile as they walked past. People opt in to these alerts and receive them via an app which allows for personalised targeting of offers based on the information gathered from within the app.

We know that many consumers use their mobiles in store to research, look for different sizes, discounts, etc., so the relationship between store and mobile is pretty tight for consumers.

Why is it not commonplace for brands though?

The biggest barrier is often organisational. Three departments – digital, marketing and PR – all with their own measures for success, fighting each other for more budget. If a united perspective isn’t taken, the main goal of generating revenue for the business (regardless of where and how) can be lost to the micro measures of individual success. The role of assisting in each other’s activities can then drop to the bottom of the “to do” list, hurting chances of success even more.

Although this may sound obvious, I’ve come across it time and time again in businesses and I want to see it change, if only so that the brand can be a little more efficient in how it generates its revenue.

The steps to this in my view are:

  • Set common goals – give each team common ground to work together and be rewarded/incentivised in doing so
  • Have a seat at each other’s planning meetings – eventually this should be the same meeting but just having a seat at the table to have input, advise and identify potential opportunities is going to be a major win
  • Joint reporting – attribution is the other major challenge here that I’ve not really focused on (something for another day) but looking at assisted conversions and telling one holistic story to management will be vital.

It may sound obvious but so many companies aren’t bringing their offline and online marketing together. After all, aren’t online and offline just targeting the same people, just in different contexts and moments? Consumers aren’t restricted by these boundaries and neither should our thinking, planning and activities be.