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Innovate 2011 Conference: ‘Traditional Media for Traditional Products’

Following Friday's news that retail sales grew for the eighth consecutive month in February, many businesses have been scurrying to bolster their marketing initiatives to take advantage of the renewed consumer activity.

Last week, many industry professionals gathered in San Francisco for the Innovate 2011 conference hosted by the National Retail Federation. Among the topics of concern were the future of digital marketing, the continued relevance of print circulars, the rise of social media and other industry trends.

But a general consensus was that digital media, although innovative, exciting and promising, should not be relied on entirely, and traditional print formats may even be more effective, especially for local retailers or merchants with low-income demographics.

"When you drop a circular, traffic comes in. It absolutely drives the football," said Lee Applbaum, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for RadioShack, according to Internet Retailer. "I would like nothing more than to go to a complete digital circular, but are consumers ready for that?"

"Traditional media for traditional products," he added. "Batteries aren't sexy."

But that doesn't mean traditional storefronts and sellers should forgo or even neglect the various breakthroughs in digital marketing. One of the advantages of these innovations is that many, such as social media and email, are virtually free.

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