In a recent interview, Marie Gulin-Merle, Calvin Klein’s now former CMO and PVH’s chief digital officer, defended that we are living the end of digital marketing. In her opinion, it is misleading to talk about traditional marketing and digital marketing when customers don’t think or behave in this siloed way. After all, customers search online, then buy in stores, or see something offline and go online for more information. Gulin-Merle advocates for a shift in the mindset: digital marketing is now just marketing.
It is undeniable that the consumer journey has changed with digital. Gulin-Merle highlights that 50% of sales are now digital-influenced. Research by Bizrate Insights published in April 2018 shows that 46% of users researched a product online before purchasing it in-store, while 24.7% looked at a product in-store before purchasing it digitally. This new reality means that digital marketing is an inevitable and essential part of the integrated marketing communications effort in the customer journey. But is its separation from traditional marketing really dead?
While the understanding of the new customer journey requires a holistic view of both traditional and digital strategies, it seems premature to welcome a new marketing king just yet. Digital marketing requires a different set of tools than traditional marketing, and they are not interchangeable. For instance, how many traditional media buyers you know would be able to manage a Search Ads budget? As digital marketing grows in relevance, marketers do need to be prepared to change perspectives and keep up with the changes. Traditional and digital entwine more and more, but, for now, they are still keeping to their realms.