What lays behind the concept of ‘digital physical’ (or digi-physical, as we like to say) is the ability of creating a marketing and communications overlap between the online and offline worlds, building a continuum for the consumer experience and strengthening the overarching storytelling of a brand or service through strategy and content creation.
Further to that, and moving more into a technology-driven space, research and data from Statista show there will be over 5 billion physical objects connected to the internet—consuming, generating, and communicating data. This proves how digital physical convergence is also the most tangible result of IoT (Internet of Things), which is what describes the network of physical objects embedded with electronics, software, and sensors that enable collection and sharing of connected data–such as Amazon’s Alexa.
Nowadays, consumers are hyper-connected and interact with brands across multiple devices, through a number of different types of media. The contemporary omnichannel landscape is both a challenge and an opportunity as it induces marketers (and digital agencies such as neta) to find new ways to generate new prospects and increase conversions. As a consequence, creating digital physical types of experiences is one of the core tasks we would take upon solving, through our digital growth processes at netamorphosis.
“We’ve gotten used to emphasizing the divide between digital and physical, but it’s quickly disappearing: when digital data about the physical world is comprehensive, real-time and freely available, the physical and digital augment each other.”
– Tom Edwards, SVP, Technology at Nielsen
The way we address this challenge at neta is by using omnichannel as the key tool to build convergence across channels. In this type of scenario, we would put our clients’ end-users at the center of the experience and have all touch-points within the marketing strategy contribute to the ultimate delivery of a seamless and immersive experience of the end user. The digital and physical marketing experience we have built for RYU and New Museum—even though these clients belong to two different market segments (athletic apparel for RYU and art & design for New Museum)—have both been geared towards developing more engaging and effective customer journeys and brand interactions, ensuring that all assets work in tandem and are consistent in terms of branding.
The Top 3 Ways to Enhance Digital Physical Convergence
Creating positive overlaps between digital and physical spaces and worlds doesn’t only mean to connect online and offline stores. There are a number of other tools which can support the overall omnichannel experience, giving it hooks IRL (in real life). Among these, the most effective ones are:
- Printed ads: if placed in the right type of media outlets, printed ads can be crucial in supporting positioning and overall brand awareness. In fact, physical marketing is easier for end-users to catch, assess, understand and take in, which is why it can ultimately bring better long-term brand recognition.
- OOH: Out-of-home advertising is still a great way to reach consumers. The number of billboards that populate bus and train stops, high-ways and even buildings in all major cities, as well as, the outstanding creativity that often is behind them are proof of how OOH is crucial when building an omnichannel strategy. Think of Gucci’s Instagram-worthy graffiti in New York or Milan, but also of the billboard campaign n e t a did for our client Khaite, pre-fashion week in 2016.
- Flyers and leaflets: POS (point-of-sale) materials are great in delivering consumers a memento tied to a brand or service. These can be quick promotional reminders, but—as this touch-point also allows for longer texts—can also offer an alternative angle to the overall communication, more discursive and informational, and therefore focusing less on the “push” and more on the “pull.”
For marketers working with eCommerce especially, it is crucial to continuously tune their offering and approach. Key players within this sector are also growingly exploring the brick-and-mortar space too. And it is not just the omni-present Amazon giant who is paving the way for new modalities of blending offline and online. Smaller companies like Everlane and Glossier—whose NYC stores have customers lining up to enter, browse and shop almost every weekend—pioneered an approach that is now becoming more and more frequent. A true global trend that is being adopted all over the world, international companies are experimenting with different formats such as that of temporary pop-up stores, ex. Hong Kong-based eCommerce luxury retailer Hula. At neta, we rely on solid analytics reporting, as assessing and interpreting data can help track users’ reactions (i.e. to pricing, call to actions, new features or products) and identify SEO opportunities. Our experience proves how digital data and insights can become crucial to enhance our clients’ overall digital and physical footprint, and on reviews and feedback received on social media.