How many of you have stuck with your New Year’s resolutions? Statistically, it's likely you’ve either failed completely or at least fallen off the wagon a few times but don’t feel bad, you’re certainly not alone! And anyway, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but the act of recognising that even a small change is important. Rather than beat yourself up, work toward your goal, one step at a time.
Anyway, enough with the self help advice. What were your resolutions? The typical personal ambitions of getting fit and spending less, perhaps? Or maybe you opted to focus firmly on the professional side of your life and resolved to refresh your marketing campaigns? If so, that was a wise decision - there is no better time to take stock as a business, re-evaluate the year just past and look forward to the year ahead. How ‘successful’ was your 2014? And I’m not just talking revenues here: how happy were your customers, employees and share holders? More to the point, how happy were you with your marketing plan and the results it generated?
As an agency, we know how hard it can be manage, measure and deliver on expectations. In today’s marketing environment, we’re constantly faced with more and more platform choices, from Apps to PR stunts and as a result, our audiences are so distracted by all the ‘noise’ that getting their attention can be nigh on impossible.
Even sales channels are moving faster than many companies can keep up with. We are now living a multi-screen world. With the web at our fingertips, shoppers from Southampton to South Africa are finding and purchasing products in completely new ways with a big proportion of those transactions now coming through mobile devices. Hands up if your site isn’t mobile friendly yet? Didn’t think so! And guess what, Google has already started to use this as a ranking factor so if your site is still not responsive, you’re already missing out. You've got some catching up to do, and fast.
So, how can we, as an agency, and you, internally, work together to stop this fragmentation from ruining our careful crafted marketing campaigns? In a word: integration. While there is no quick fix formula to creating a successful integrated marketing campaign, there are steps that businesses and marketers can take to maximise success.
Firstly, what do I mean by an integrated campaign? Integration equals campaigns which work equally well across online media, TV, print and outdoor. What it isn’t is a campaign that looks and feels exactly the same across all channels. A matching website, print ad and Facebook page simply won’t cut it. What is crucial is a strong audience insight with a creative big bang idea that you can express in different ways. It is about connecting a brand truth with a real human emotion.
Don’t think that you need to be in a creative industry for this to work. Take buying insurance, for example; now, you can’t get much more boring and everyday than that. However, MoneySuperMarket have just proved this isn’t the case with their hugely successful #EpicStrut campaign. Set to The Pussycat Dolls’ mid-2000s seminal hit ‘Don’t Cha’, the spot finds ‘Dave’ expressing his customer satisfaction in the sassiest way possible. Wearing a natty combo of suit, tie and shockingly tight denim hot pants, Dave’s strutting is so enthusiastic that it looks like he’s auditioning for the chorus line on the Beyoncé tour. See here for more details on this viral hit.
It's a successful integrated campaign because while it’s a TV ad, it’s also a YouTube hit! They have created, too, a successful hashtag in #EpicStrut which is being used across Twitter and Facebook creating huge levels of brand engagement, increased reach and fan growth. It doesn’t get a mention on moneysupermarket.com so does that mean it’s not integrated? Of course not! And best of all it's working wonders for the brand. Google trends shows interest has gone up from 39 in December to 64 in January and the amount of free PR both on and offline will have been immense - not to mention the natural, high quality links they will have acquired via an integrated content marketing campaign, as well as the huge spike in search visibility since launch. All in all, a massive win right at the start of the year.
You can work towards success on this level - and no, it’s not all about having a massive budget. It's about great ideas, audience insight and perseverance over time. It’s not easy to integrate a brand message into a wide suite of processes, materials, and messages that have been created by different people, driven by different objectives, and brought to life in different places within the business. Many companies simply don’t have the time or patience to be a stickler for detail and oversee the bigger picture. Beyond that, integrated branding takes time to soak into the marketplace. Consumers just don’t pay attention as much or as quickly as they used to.
But as with New Year resolutions, small changes with a long-term goal in mind are often the way forward. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your business, so don’t expect to be able to overhaul everything in the space of one marketing meeting. That kind of misplaced expectation will only lead to frustration. Instead, take these five ideas on board and work on them one at a time until change happens – and it will happen.
If you have multiple brand managers and teams working on different projects within the same marketing campaign, arrange monthly team meetings to ensure all members are on the same page, that the message behind the campaign is consistent and the brand identity is present across the campaign. Also refer back to the aim of the campaign and audience you’re trying to create. Don’t be afraid to iterate as you go. It might be launch day but it’s never to late to make a change.
Similarly, if you are using different agencies to produce different aspects of your marketing campaign, make sure there is someone in-house to monitor and co-ordinate their efforts to ensure your branding has a consistent look and feel across channels. Here at Zazzle Media, we work VERY closely with our clients to understand their wider marketing plans. We may only be there to support with content and SEO, for example, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to understand your plans for TV and retail.
As with all marketing campaigns, before you start anything, think about your audience and where they are both on and offline. Create personas using tools like YouGov Profiler , Facebook Audience Insights, Google Trends and our persona template to understand who you’re talking to. This will help you hone your messaging and ensure your big bang idea is not only of interest to you but the people you want to buy from you.
Today’s consumers thrive on Connection, Community, Creation and Curation.
They are always on. Just seeing an advert for a product does not necessarily result in an instant sale. They might see that advert, then research it, via your website, review sites, blogs and social media. They might then head in store to get a better understanding of the look and feel of your product.
Will they buy next? Probably not. They might go home, research again, seek out the best price and ask friends and family for feedback. Then, they might buy. But the journey doesn’t end there. Once they have the product, they are likely to give their thoughts on it (good and bad) via social media, blogs and good old fashioned word of mouth. It is a much, much longer purchase cycle than ever before and you need to be visible at every stage with a consistent but engaging message across all platforms from PPC, Display, Social Media and Content Creation.
As mentioned previously, this is not about making everything look the same although it is important to be consistent with your brand guidelines. Push the boundaries of your brand and voice but don’t confuse the consumer. Integration isn't about saying the same thing in different channels. But it is about taking a unique aspect of the brand and tying it to a consumer insight that is powerful and engaging which comes to life whether through Twitter, a TV ad or a piece of great content.
At Zazzle we create content and creative big bang campaigns everyday. As part of that, we aim to spread these ideas across platforms. If we create a really strong, long form piece of content, for example, we might repurpose it to appear as a blog post, eBook or even take a very brief snapshot and use it as a Facebook post. A tip for ensuring all these things are individual in their own right but also recognisable as part of a wider campaign is to follow the three Cs for marketing messages - Communication must be clear, compelling and consistent.
Marketing without measurement is like flying a plane blindfolded. You know you’re doing it but are you going in the right direction? Before you start any campaign you should decide on the objections and metrics for measurement. What does success look like? How will you measure it? There are so many tools available to help you do this, many of which are free such as Google Analytics.
However, the important thing to remember is that measurement for success will be different depending on where you are in the customer journey. A sale may not be the success metric for stimulus advertising such as magazine adverts; instead you will be looking for these adverts to drive potential customers in store or online to find out more which will give you a second opportunity (FMOT) to target them again, perhaps with an in store demonstration, the successful outcome for which would be a sale.
Therefore, it is important to analyse the data to ensure you are consistently measuring success at every stage of the journey and not purely focusing on the end result. A customer at the research stage is just as valuable.
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