Managing the marketing funnel is becoming increasingly convoluted and complicated. This post provides the two keys I’ve discovered in creating successful integrated marketing communication with examples – good and bad – of each and the latest research.
Once upon a time you could scale the paid reach of your marketing campaign and be successful. You bought enough rating points with a big fancy tv campaign that the agency bought for you and unless you were inept…Voila! You had reach, power, fortune and fame.
But then something changed (not changed, exploded!). Technology brought a proliferation of choices that meant – gasp! – the control of media went to the consumer and the complexity of communication channel choices for the marketer increased tenfold. Search, social, ppc, seo and mobile were added to the traditional arsenal of tv, radio, in-store and direct mail.
And worst of all, the consumer has refused to behave by staying in simple segmented buckets of on and offline. As eMarketer pointed out last week, shoppers are increasingly taking a nonlinear path to purchase. Consider that while the average electronics consumer made 13 searches online over 90% of the time the actual purchase was made offline. And now 38% of shoppers are saying they used their mobile devices to help make a final purchase decision. Your consumer can hear about your product via a tweet, go down the hall to talk to another guy about it, then search, sign-up for an email, not read four, read one then finally purchase offline with the help of his smartphone.
It’s enough to make a marketer go crazy.
But the benefits of integrating are real and tangible. Consider that while one study from SilverPop found that 35% of landing pages didn’t have the same look or tone as the email sent out a Marketing Experiments case study found a 124% lift in subscriptions when the landing page matched the mailer sent. And the Multi-Channel Impact study above found that when consumers were exposed to a retailer’s online ads over a 3 month period they were 20 times more likely to buy the product at the retail level.
So what’s the best way to integrate your marketing when you’ve invested all this money on your ad campaign but your IT guy doesn’t want to put it on your site because ‘it’s just branding’? Here’s what I have found are the two keys based on my experience up and down and back & forth in the tunnel creating successful marketing:
You might say ‘we do’. We all the get the sales reports and see how we’re doing. But c’mon really? Isn’t the webmaster’s goal really just traffic? IT’s project management? The agencies’ to win more awards? Because in each of these examples if they do these things they stand a good chance of making more money and that’s what really motivates them. So it’s important to for everyone to not only have the same business goal but also for each to understand their role in achieving that goal.
A mechanic’s analogy: if the car is humming along pretty good but just under the speed we want to go do our diagnostics tell us the carburetor is performing just fine but the sparks are misfiring?
Applying this to the real world isn’t easy as it requires both a narrow and wider view. For instance as Clickz pointed out yesterday it means that in order to determine the success of your big marketing push you should have your Analytics measure not only the 2% conversion of traffic but also not give the last click tooooo much credit by looking at whether visits to the store locator pages went up and whether there is a corresponding lift in store traffic.
To keep it simple I found tracking three levels of metrics enough:
I use a simple one-page calendarized dashboard to provide a view wide enough to study correlations and parallels.
Conclusions aren’t always precise as some datahounds would like but that’s where you have to get a little Zen and realize that if you can show Finance three parallel upward arrows then you’re making your case.
It’s not enough just to have your goals aligned. If you really want to gain the benefit of integrated marketing in a world gone wild with media choices, the other key is to have your messages aligned. I liken a landing page that doesn’t match an email to a book with mismatched chapters. At one point there was a really compelling story that got you started but somewhere along the way the narrative was lost and it can became less enthralling and was set aside.
Best way to illustrate this is with an example and I’ll pick on Staples. They’re a big great brand. They can take it.
Few years back they got a gift from the marketing gods.
An easy button.
Has there ever been a more perfect brand icon for the complexities faced by their small business customers? My kids even paid for one! It doesn’t get much better than that.
So it’s all over their site right?
Ummm…no. Look down, waaay down.
…stuck there like some corporate mandated orphan when really it’s a god-given button that you would think could boost conversion at each stage of the purchase decision.
But I won’t be all negative. Here’s an example of doing it right. (The brand mechanic giveth and he taketh away.)
Shopping for groceries I came across some marketing for Intuit’s QuickTax that had a powerful story in the form of a proposition boldly displayed on an in-store kiosk. It implored me to use QuickTax to Maximize My Refund and …”Get Every Penny You Deserve”. Wow! I thought. I suspected someone had been doing their homework using AdWords to find powerful sets of words.
A quick return to the office confirmed my suspicions.
Pay-per-click ads telling the same story seen offline…
…and, better yet, a Facebook page that built on that ‘getting what I deserved’ story with an social media-friendly ode to the poor taxpayer. And a call to action to follow them on Twitter to get tips on how to do it.
Sweet. This is integration that extends the narrative and, because of that, will enjoy high conversion at each stage like the landing page stats above. The trick to creating a message that can integrate like that is having a story that is both big enough and motivating enough to excite everyone but is also well-researched enough to show a proven ability to convert. (It’s probably no coincidence that Intuit was the home of Google Analytics guru Avinash Kausik.)
In this era, integration is the greatest challenge businesses face in optimizing their marketing performance.
Hope this helps the cause.