If you’ve read the title, you’re probably wondering what “tradigital” even means. Tradigital refers to the melding or integration of the traditional and computer-based (digital) methods used to create something. The term is an amalgamation of the words “traditional” and “digital,” and was coined in the early 90s by Judith Moncrieff, a Pacific Northwest College of Art artist and teacher who invented and taught this medium at her school.1
For health care marketers, tradigital signifies an integration of traditional and digital marketing mediums. It’s becoming clear that focusing solely on SEO, or throwing your budget behind a pricey television advertisement, isn’t the best use of your marketing budget. Both mediums are alive and well, and building a marketing plan with a clear and consistent strategy empowers your practice to operate in the mindset of campaign first, medium second. Focusing on unifying your efforts behind a clear goal, versus the type of medium you’re working within, allows you to identify, combine and leverage the benefits of both traditional and digital mediums.
The History of Tradigital
While the term “tradigital” has roots in the art world, many other fields have adapted the term to refer to the combination of traditional and digital techniques. The word is now widely used as an adjective to describe something that integrates traditional and new digital concepts.
Traditional Versus Digital
Before we dig into building a tradigital strategy, let’s briefly touch on what types of marketing methods fall under traditional and digital mediums.
- Traditional: direct mail, brochures, newspapers, magazines, radio and television
- Digital: websites, email marketing, directory listings, blogs, social media and pay-per-click
While the copy and images you use in your in-office brochure may differ from your practice’s monthly email, the central message should align with one and another.
Understanding your practice’s brand and voice lets you use marketing mediums to connect all of your campaigns and share your whole story. In today’s interconnected world, many conversations start offline and continue online. Maintaining a consistent voice across all of your marketing channels that identifies with your brand lets patients pick up wherever they may have left off with your practice and encourages them to continue to engage with you.
The First Steps to Towards a Tradigital Strategy
Integrating your marketing campaigns isn’t going to happen overnight, but you need to start somewhere. Start by reviewing your marketing campaigns and ask yourself whether or not they’re on brand. Are they communicating a clear, consistent message? If your practice prides itself in providing exceptional patient care, this should be touched on in every marketing piece. Is the call to action clear? Is the piece moving you closer to your marketing goals? Take this time to analyze what you’ve done and have been doing, and edit out what doesn’t seem to be working.
Know your destination. Making it easy for patients to understand who you are and what you have to offer makes bridging online and offline efforts simple and straightforward. You’re able to easily connect a direct mailer piece to your social network channels if you’ve built that offline piece around the same principles your social media persona was built upon. Everyone has different goals, and defining what you want out of your campaigns is key to integration.
After you’ve determined your practice’s message, it’s time to make sure your audience is clearly defined. Targeting the wrong demographic or defaulting to the masses can be costly and hurt your overall efforts. When re-targeting your marketing efforts, start with a few campaigns in both traditional and digital mediums that you can track and measure. Focusing on a few campaigns will allow you to visualize opportunities for integration.
Integrating Traditional and Digital Marketing Tips
What’s the best way to approach tradigital integration? Put yourself in the shoes of the patient. Whether a patient first hears of your practice via traditional word-of-mouth or a pay-per-click advertisement, it’s important that you build a strategy that keeps them in your communication funnel. You want to make their path clear so they’re able to make the leap from your offline to online story easily.
Some integration techniques, like adding your web URL and social media handles to printed materials, are quite simple and obvious. Others may be a little more complex, but the rewards you reap from implementing them make it worth the effort.
To get you started, here are some simple and effective ways you can integrate and leverage the benefits of your marketing campaigns:
1. Utilize that HASHTAG
Anytime your practice participates in any local events or community development, make sure to piggyback on that event’s momentum and share your photos and participation via the event hashtag. Sharing your practice’s offline endeavors helps you expand your reach and connect with your community.
Take it a step further and create your own hashtag for your practice, so that people can view all of your public outreach and development. For example, if my practice was called NYC Wound, #NYCWoundHelps would be a great way to organize my photos on social media.
2. Measure What You Can
Utilize custom URLs and landing pages to track the performance of your offline campaigns. Tools like Bitly allow you to create trackable short links and your own branded short domain. You can then use this domain in your tweets and Facebook posts, as well as in any magazine ads, to track performance.
Landing pages also allow you to continue the conversation with the patient online. You don’t have the space or time to communicate your entire value proposition in one postcard, so leading the patient to nycwound.com/april-deal allows you to continue the conversation online and track the postcard’s performance.
3. Optimize Your Physical Practice Location Online
What are patients doing while they are in your waiting room? Look around. They’re scrolling through their phone, and maybe even checking in online. Make sure they have somewhere to check into on Foursquare, Yelp and Facebook. Check on your social media pages and make sure your location comes up as an option.
4. Cultivate a Content Strategy
Content production is a costly and timely endeavor, so it’s important that you think your content strategy through and take advantage of opportunities to tie your offline and online content together.
If you’re mailing out a brochure, make sure you don’t give it all away. Lead the patient to your website, blog or landing page to track their behavior. In this way, you’re able to provide them with even better content and measure your campaign in one fell swoop.
5. Let Go of the “I Rely on Traditional Word-of-Mouth” Mantra
It’s time to face the facts: traditional and digital word-of-mouth go hand-in-hand. Where do you think a patient goes when their friend refers them to your practice? They go straight to Google to look at your website and what is being said about your practice.
Make sure you’re ready for these new opportunities by building a web presence that aligns with your in-person practice experience. If you’re known for providing excellent post-treatment care, make sure you share this on your website. Make sure you engage with your patients post-treatment, so that they can advocate on your behalf both online and offline.
Tradigital is All around Us
Tradigital isn’t the newest “it” term in tech jargon; it’s a simple concept that can be applied to many different industries, like marketing and engineering. In fact, we are all probably more familiar with this concept than we think we are due to the success of a little movie called Toy Story. Jeffrey Katzenberg used the term “tradigital animation” to refer to new animation techniques that blend computer graphics and traditional animation techniques. Viewers of these films get to experience the seamless integration of two different techniques that together produce a brilliant film.
Contrary to what is being said, no marketing medium is dead – it’s all about how you connect and leverage the benefits of each medium. There is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy for every health care provider. Knowing what you want to accomplish and building a clear message and plan to support that goal is the most important step in integrating your traditional and digital efforts. The right mix of tradigital marketing allows you to maximize each and every one of your marketing campaigns.