Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Traditional vs. Digital advertising - Reinventing the ways to help grow your client’s business
In my opinion traditional approaches are still the best way to help grow your clients business. You cannot put all your eggs in the digital basket no matter what the latest media hype suggests. But, the discussion between traditional approaches and the disruption technology has on human interaction and behaviour will influence your client’s marketing  strategy.

Lets not forget that ad recall in the digital medium is the lowest of all advertising choices and a 30 second tv/radio spot, a full page 4 colour ad in newspaper/magazine or a 10' x 20' billboard will still outperform a Big box (300 x250 pixels) ad any day, and that is why they are still thriving. Plus with the growth of cyber crime and automated traffic digital may be losing its lustre as it is becoming an untrustworthy medium.

All right, lets see how, Tim Horton’s has adapted their famous  RRRoll up the Rim  to Win promotion that is a Canadian tradition  like Canadian Tire money. Both of these hugely successful programs have added  an online component to reflect today’s consumer engagement points with their brands. But has the online component made the program more successful or is it just politically correct in today's digital centric world. Well the traffic to the RRRoll up the Rim to Win site suggests that they have hit on their hands as the site ranks 631 in Canada according to Alexa rankings. The regular website is ranked 1,249 and the site gets more traffic than Macleans that’s is ranked 779 in Canada as a comparable benchmark for success.


The RRRoll up the Rim to Win program for the uninitiated is a national sales program that awards prizes in cups that are provided with any beverage purchase. This traditional contest program drives traffic and sales to each location and is mainstay on Tim Hortons promotional calendar. Today, the online component tries to provide that same experience without a purchase and the RRRoll up the Rim to Win program  is now an interactive game online like a casino slot machine. After they register, visitors can pick two out of three cups to see if they win, with opportunities to play every day.  This can be played on your desktop, tablet (not my iPad1 though as the site crashed as it is flash based website) and smartphone. The program runs from Feb 2 until April 17, 2015 and is supported with a national tv campaign.

Canadian Tire has created digital money as they updated their Canadian Tire Money cash purchase rebate program. This was accomplished by using a loyalty card program that tracks all your Canadian tire money in an electronic account. (Watch out Bitcoin here comes Canadian Tire money as the new world currency). The recipient also receives a digital version of the weekly flyer by email to keep them aware of all the in- store specials after they register the card online.


While these marketers have adapted to the changing consumer environment, I wanted to take a  look at business reply cards (BRC), a marketing tool that was great during its time when print was the dominant channel. It provided a lead generation tool for B2B publishers that provided quality leads for advertisers. Has this tool became obsolete in a politically digitally correct world or can we update this for the online reader? In today’s  world of internet speed and websites, the need for a BRC is not necessary anymore as readers do not have to wait for information to be delivered by snail mail as they can now just use search engines to find info or go to the website of company they saw in a B2B magazine website or digital magazine and click on the ad.

So what are publishers to do to replace this valuable lead generation tool?  How can we create a lead funnel for advertisers as part of the ad sales pitch for their reps? Sometimes it is good to go back to the basics and build this out from scratch – The customer ladder we all know is awareness-desire-want-shop-sales pitch-buy- happy customer – repeat buyer. The sales cycle is not accelerated because of the internet just the customer has more information at their fingertips to make a final decision.

In today’s world there are so many channels of communications it is now utterly chaos for marketers. Before it was simple to respond – phone, fax, mail, in-person. Now add all the different ways people communicate today digitally like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest , email, text messaging, Skype, Facetime and this makes it more confusing to the publisher and marketer and they sometimes get caught in the digital spin cycle and waste valuable resources.

To provide you with some focus lets go back to the basics of direct marketing and the importance of the “Offer” to the prospect to get them to respond. B2B marketers have used “FREE information” packaged as whitepapers, research and webinars to attract readers to their advertisers' products. I have used webinars successfully in the past to generate awareness and leads when I worked with GTxcel (formerly Texterity) in the promotion of their digital publishing services for the magazine industry, so I am a big fan of this technique. Webinars are good way to get people’s attention as it captures registration (this is a lead, not a click on an ad btw) and is a soft lead awareness tool.

One of the COPA’s silver winners this year for the best online campaign was an entry from, based in Vancouver, BC in the B2B category that produced a webinar for GEA Westfalia Separator in conjunction with their agency the Litchfield Partnership. The GEA Westfalia’s product is technical and targeted a specialty audience – miners who need a separator for processing ore. It was felt that the best way to communicate this was through a live webinar to explain the benefits of Westaflia’s product. A print and digital campaign was used to promote the campaign that resulted in 1.3 million impressions generating 1,200 clicks to the registration page. Over 190 registered for the webinar with 52 attendees from (63% drop off rate) Africa, North America and South America. One of the difficulties  of free webinar is the drop-off from registration and attendees, so a contest was used to make sure people attend and the winner was announced during the webinar. The 192 registrations were used later for sales follow-up.  Based on the numbers the campaign had CTR of  0.09% , with a click through conversion rate of 16% and an attendance rate of 27%.


One of my current professional challenges is the reinvention of the Masthead business model and this will include the creation of new revenue streams beyond advertising. Plans for 2015 will include the creation of technology services for publishers that include web development, industry awards software services (we are working with the Canadian Journalism Foundation) and webinars. We are also planning to relaunch the Masthead supplier section into a "Connections" database that will include media kits of Canadian publishers that will be promoted to the ad community to generate ad sales opportunities. You can get a free listing in this Connections database at this link (not public yet). There will also be a paid premium listing that will provide a web page for each listing that includes a photo slide show for your company as part of the package. You can enter your free listing now so we can build the database. Let me know what you think so we can fine tune this for the publishing industry to ensure we have all the right categories. If you wish to learn more about this you can contact me at 416-907-6562 or via email at marty(dot)seto(at)

- Martin Seto
About Me
Martin Seto

Martin Seto is the producer of the Canadian Online Publishing Awards (COPAS) with 30 years of life expereince in technology, advertising, media and creative exploration. He can be reached at marty(dot)seto(at) or 416-907-6562, and on LinkedIn.

Most Recent Blog Comment
Lorene Shyba says:
Full of terrific information, Thanks!...
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