I love it when a lesson in my personal life reinforces a lesson in my professional life. It makes great fodder for this blog. Let me explain.
In early January I received my latest issue of Cooking Light magazine. I have been a long-timer subscriber and it’s my favorite magazine. Each issue is full of quick and healthy recipes that typically please my family’s somewhat fussy palates (kids) and work with our hectic weekly schedule. The magazine offers content I value.
So rather than continue to save each magazine issue in my already over-crowded cookbook cabinet, I decided to create a recipe binder. Over the holiday break and in the weeks that followed, I spent countless hours organizing this new binder that included several of our favorite recipes from Cooking Light.
Then came digital
So perhaps you can understand when I saw the announcement of Cooking Light’s new app—that will enable subscribers to plan meals and menus and have their favorite recipes right at their fingertips on their smartphone or tablets—I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Was all that time I had spent ripping out recipes, covering them in plastic sleeves and organizing them into a binder a total waste of time because now they have gone digital?
Well, it took me a few minutes, but then I realized that it was not all in vain. I will not be one of those who cook by tablet or smartphone and depend on my electronic devices for everything. I’ll always want and need both the digital conveniences and traditional forms of content and information (in this case, the actual magazine).
Yes, having my recipes available on my smartphone will help me when grocery shopping as I’ll be able to quickly scan and see what ingredients I need (especially when I’ve forgotten my shopping list). But in my kitchen, with my 13-year-old chef-in-training helping me cook, things get messy. I don’t dare have electronic devices anywhere near the counter. I’ll always need my plastic-covered versions of the recipe to save my smartphone from a sticky cooking mess if nothing else!
Digital enhances the traditional experience
Certainly there are many people like me out there. So why would Cooking Light bother with an app?
Cooking Light is using digital technology to enhance the cooking experience and bring new benefits for their subscribers and to attract new ones…not to replace the need for the print version of their magazine. And I can appreciate that.
Granted, more and more people are consuming their news online and buying products from their smartphones. But I believe there will always be a place for the traditional (real books, printed news media, bricks-and-mortar stores, etc.). I still prefer to read my morning paper while eating breakfast. And I like holding an actual book in my hands. And there will always be people like me.
No, digital will never replace traditional. But there are ways brands can enhance their customers’ traditional experiences using digital platforms, apps, you name it. And the brands that realize this (like Cooking Light) and master these digital ways, will stand a far better chance of retaining their customers for the long haul.
Are you looking for ways to integrate digital into your marketing plan?
—— Chicken Artichoke Couscous (Photo credit: lynn.gardner via flickr)