Traditional, Meet Digital: Aligning Your Channels For Success

Back in 2013, Business Insider shared how Nordstrom would be leveraging Pinterest as they plan merchandise in their stores. 

Nordstrom is a textbook example of how brands can use traditional and digital channels together. Whether in store or online, Nordstrom focuses on the customer, giving them what they want, when they want it, and making everything visible to the consumer. Nordstrom shoppers receive exceptional customer service in store and online, free shipping and returns all the time and you can buy something online and have it shipped to your home or to the nearest store to pick up. This was built into their strategy even before the events of 2020. The user experience is seamless across Nordstrom’s digital and physical channels. It even encourages social interaction while customers shop in-store.

Take for example the 2013 ‘Popular on Pinterest’ badges that Nordstrom locations across the country affixed to real user-favorites on the widely-used app. If you want to be like retail giant Nordstrom and correctly craft an integrated strategy of traditional and digital, then you need to consider three important factors:

1. What’s the customer journey?

What is the customer experience like for your customers, from that initial contact to a long-term, loyal relationship? What steps do your customers take to engage with your company?

2. What are the appropriate and available channels?

Understand the channels you have to work with such as Print, radio, TV, website, social media outlets and networking platforms, email, etc. 

3. What’s going to move the needle?

Brainstorm and find the right process involving digital and traditional marketing to help achieve your overall marketing goals. Organize and prioritize each channel based on the potential impact it can have on revenue for the business. 

Know the Customer Journey

The customer journey isn’t what it used to be. There’s no longer just one path a consumer follows to make a purchase. But no matter what path they take or what questions they ask, they want to feel as if the path they take and the content they receive on their chosen path were custom-made for them.

You have to use the proper targeting and messaging tactics to personalize your marketing messages. And 52 percent of marketers agree, saying that being able to personalize web content is fundamental to a good online strategy.

Image courtesy of McKinsey & Company via Forbes

With the myriad of platforms and technology available at your fingertips, you also have a long list of targeting tactics available. Two areas that will typically help improve conversion rates are often behavioral targeting and content personalization. Consumers visit websites and social platforms with different things on their minds, like doing research or wanting to purchase. Target these different types of consumers with personalized content using behavioral data, i.e. keywords they search for, whether or not they’ve visited your website before and their buying history. Besides interest-based behavioral data, use geographical and demographical data (location, gender, age, etc.) to create different types of personalized content for your different customers.

 As for messaging, knowing your target audience’s shopping habits helps you determine what voice and tone to use with your messaging in your personalized content for them. Marketing has always been about the customer, and you can ensure the customer stays at the center of what you’re doing by applying the three types of data you’ve gathered about them — interest-based, geographical and demographical — and using it to help you better reach consumers at offline touch points. Integrating your online and offline touch points allows you to deliver personalized content to more consumers on more channels, giving consumers the answers they seek and helping move them along the customer journey.

Use the Appropriate Channels

Customers ask different questions because they’re looking for different information, and they use different channels to find answers to their questions. Google, for example, offers answers to numerous questions consumers have about a given product or service. Their mission is to, “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Facebook created Groups so that friend’s and individuals with similar interests could discuss and share ideas with one another. As a marketer, one of your roles is to understand where your customers to find answers to their questions and how online and offline channels can work together to get potential customers answers to their questions. Once you understand where consumers go for help, you can build a plan on how to reach your customers through organic, paid or earned media promotions. 

HubSpot outlined these three types of channels you should focus on are social platforms, paid promotions and earned media.

Organic PlatformsFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TikTok, Google, etc. Free, Increase brand recognition, develop and maintain loyal brand-customer relationships, more opportunities to convert.
Paid PromotionsSponsored posts, PPC and shopping campaigns, content discovery platforms like Outbrain.Guaranteed audience, highly-targeted campaigns.
Earned MediaMedia publications, industry influencer blogs and websitesImproves brand credibility, helps you become an industry thought leader.


You could break down traditional methods like we did for digital channels above to help you understand the types and benefits of each channel available to you for marketing. Knowing which channels to use means knowing your audience and how likely you are to reach them using different online and offline methods.

For example, traditional methods are more passive, while digital is more of an active, ongoing engagement. Think of a print ad in a magazine. It may take 15 seconds to read it, but that’s usually where it ends. It’s a one-sided conversion that usually ends right there, even if there’s a CTA to visit a website or call the company’s number. That doesn’t mean a traditional print or radio ad isn’t valuable. It reaches a widespread audience and is easily digested by your audience since it doesn’t take long to absorb the message.

However, when consumers need more interaction to clearly understand a product or service, online channels are effective at getting consumers the information they need at the moment they need it. Online provides immediate answers to consumer questions and allows your brand to maintain an active presence with your customers. Integrating offline with online channels maximizes your audience reach and provides both types of engagement so your active and passive customers are completely satisfied. Just be sure that as you marry the offline with the online to make it easy and meaningful for current and potential customers. 

Move the Needle

Move the needle is a common phrase in marketing, but for any of you who’ve never heard of it, it simply means focus on initiatives that will generate results and ultimately revenue for the business. Every business has different goals it wants to reach and to achieve those goals they often have marketing campaigns to help reach the goal, i.e. gain more website visits, double email subscribers, increase revenue, etc.

There are different approaches you can take to achieve — and maybe even exceed — your goals. The following are three different marketing approaches to reach the consumers you are looking for. Knowing which one you should take depends on your goals and which one you believe will create the most positive impact for your brand.


If you don’t know who the Aspirational consumers are, you need to. According to BBMG and GlobeScan research, Aspirationals make up 36.4 percent of our population. They love shopping, wish for responsible consumption and trust that brands will act in society’s best interests. You want them on your brand’s side because they’re one of the world’s biggest consumer groups. They guide companies to take a more integrated marketing approach and want to share their ideas and experiences with brands to help them create a better product or service. Mitch Baranowski and Raphael Bemporad, cofounders of BBMG, gave five ways to reach and engage Aspirational consumers:

  1. Give them something to believe in.
  2. Give them something to belong to.
  3. Amplify their voices.
  4. Give them social status.
  5. Give them a platform for action.

Your aspirational marketing strategy needs to be all about emotion. Appeal to their emotions and their aspirations, rather than their realities, and give them a purpose for their purchase. Cotopaxi is a good example of this as they work toward reducing their carbon emissions to improve the planet. 


Most consumers are very tight-knit with their community, be it their city, state, sports team, political party, etc. If you’ve ever taken a dig at someone’s sports team or where they’re from, then you know just how passionate (and defensive) they can be. With a community approach, you have to really understand your customers’ affections to their city, state or whatever community you choose to target and use that to your advantage.

Are there common passions or loyalties your local audience shares that you can supplement or attach to your content? Not only will doing so personalize content for your local audiences, it will get those very passionate and loyal consumers on your side — and since you probably know how passionate and loyal they are with their community, then you also know how good it is to have them be that way about your brand. Gymshark has built a massive brand around this concept as they target health individuals. The message they share with their community is – Be a visionary and their Instagrm feed is full of content that back this up. 

Cohesive and Unified 

A unified marketing approach means having a consistent or single purpose no matter what channel is being used. Everything you say and do via your traditional marketing methods needs to complement your digital channels. If you put an ad in the local newspaper, be sure to include your website address and let readers know where they can find you on social platforms. Add your social URLs and website address to flyers or product inserts you may include in your packages.

Share your press releases you create and send out in print easily online. If you release a new product, be sure your website and social profiles are updated with the latest information regarding said product so any consumer who sees it in print and wants to know more can find what they’re looking for during their online research.Vuori has built a growing brand around this concept as they target individuals in the health space. The message to their community is – A new Perspective on Performance Apparel. They use the same message on Instagram as they do in their retail stores.  

The opposite can be true as well. If your brand is built on traditional methods you can leverage online channels to support those efforts. While not an ecommerce example, Jamie Turner has built his brand by being an author and speaker. However, he uses his offline marketing in building his credibility on his site though the use of testimonials and high profile. He also creates top of funnel content that further builds his brand such as his top leadership speakers post on his blog.
In order for your brand to be successful, and for you to reach your overall marketing goals, you need to utilize traditional and digital marketing methods whenever possible.

Kirsten is a graduate of Brigham Young University, earning her print journalism degree in April 2012. Before coming to Stryde, she was a sports reporter and then the sports editor for BYU’s newspaper, as well as a remote sports editor for Deseret Connect. Although she’s from Missouri, she’s a die-hard Kansas basketball fan. When she’s not watching KU play or pumping out content for Stryde, she’s most likely watching movies or Netflix in her workout clothes whilst drinking a Pepsi and eating popcorn.

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