I was in Oklahoma! in high school. There was a song in the play that reminded me of today’s online-offline battle. The song was “The Farmer and the Cowman.” The song goes, “Oh the farmer and the cowman should be friends…One man likes to push a plow, the other likes to chase a cow, but that is no reason why they can’t be friends. Territory folks should stick to together…”
Remi Abbas, in an article title “Get Ready for Digital Experience to Move Offline,” argues that we must move to a “blending of online and offline.” He calls for a multidimensional experience: Brands must not worry about scale so much, but create a “richer experience…with fuller resonance.”
We must think beyond the offline and online “zones.” The virtual world shows up in our real world and the real world shows up in the virtual world. Avoiding one or the other causes a disturbance in experience. My financial institution keeps pushing the digital experience. The problem is there is no emotional satisfaction. I only know them through the help line. I saw a recent bank ad campaign stating, “I love my bank.” That is a strong emotion for tech-only delivery.
We must meld the two worlds: We need to stop talking about the divide between the two. Marketing needs all the tools to make sure people feel a true affinity for an organization. They must care about you and what you sell (products, services, ideas or nonprofit missions). It’s the Yin and Yang—seemingly opposite forces which are actually complementary, interconnected and interdependent.
So the online and offline can be friends. Marketing folks should stick together, marketing folks (online and offline) must all be friends. We need the duality of experience to move our organizations forward.