Integrated Marketing

20th January
written by Rena Bernstein

FruitI don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone that lives their life entirely online. Each day we’re all exposed to a variety of media and marketing messages. So why do some marketers feel that they have to choose between online and traditional advertising?

Social media doesn’t have to mean writing a blog or creating a widget. When a viewer repeats the tag line from a TV spot, spontaneously sings a jingle they heard, tells a friend about their experience with a certain brand, or posts reviews online—they’re engaging in a form of social media too. Whether a brand sets out to create a social media campaign that starts people talking or something else causes lots of people to begin chatting up the brand, that public buzz, for better or worse, is social media.

You can’t control social media
Many companies have shied away from social media marketing because they’re concerned about loosing control of the message and fear what their brand message might become in the hands of the public.  By integrating traditional advertising and marketing—tactics where you can control the message, with the influence and reach of Social Media, marketers can guide the message instead of control it.  Marketers remain in control of crafting the strategy and executing the “official” version of the message; all of which sets the stage for customers to base their opinions on—opinions they may choose to share.

Defining what that brand experience ultimately means to the customer is neither the job or privilege of the marketer. It’s up to your customers. The more your brand means to them, the more they connect with it. That in turn determines their purchase decision, their loyalty, and whether they feel strongly enough to advocate for the brand in the future.

When marketers control what is said about their product, as in the case of an ad, people view it as biased and self-serving. When a third party, like a customer writes an online review of a product, it’s viewed as honest and credible, and THAT is the secret to the power of social media. In a 2009 online survey by Forrester Research showed that “people trusted the purchase advice of strangers online more than TV or print ads.”

Traditional marketing clarifies Social Media
While social media marketing can be great for spreading your message, it has a significant short fall: people don’t necessarily spread the same message you would like them to. While its authentic and honest, it may not be a message that fits your strategy and may even be detrimental. Traditional marketing can help to create the foundation of information and guide the brand message as it is passed throughout the social community. By cross promoting the contents of one marketing effort, for example TV with another like social media you increase the “volume” of the message, focus the accuracy and add frequency—thereby maximizing the effectiveness of both efforts.

In a 2008 study by Yankelovich and Sequent Partners called “When Advertising Works,” it was found that “ads that make an impression in traditional media were more likely to stimulate word of mouth than ads that make an impression in digital media.

Social media amplifies traditional marketing
Balancing the free-form messaging of social media with the control, consistency and mass reach of traditional media can offer the best of both worlds. Today the focus needs to be on building an opt-in audience in order to create community, foster loyalty and generate conversations.

A great example of this is a recent promotion by Estée Lauder. They took a free makeover promotion to an entirely new level when they used social media to drive women to participate and later bring awareness to this in-store event.  In order to attract digitally savvy women to the makeup counters at leading department stores, Estée used social media and online PR to offer free makeovers and free professional headshots. After each makeover, women would have a glamour photo taken of them (including of course an Estée Lauder logo in the background) and upload the image as their social profile photo before ever leaving the counter. By uploading the glamorous photo with the logo, the customer introduces her entire social network to the brand, a personalized example of it’s benefits and hopefully even spark a few conversations along the way.

Testimonials: the mother load of social media
In a full-page print ad in USA today, Trident made social media the focus of their ad by sharing unsolicited tweets it had received from customers (with their permission) who authentically and passionately tweeted about their new product, Trident Layers. Using testimonials to sell a product is nothing new, but highlighting  the  enthusiastic and unsolicited statements in a nationwide mass marketing print publication reinforces the shift toward integrated marketing strategies.

In each of these cases, marketers integrated traditional marketing with social media to allow the audience to communicate with the brand and with one another, generating more involvement and interest. As markets fragment, an integrated marketing strategy is quickly becoming the essential method to coordinate and focus efforts for greater marketing success.

What do you think?

2nd December
written by Rena Bernstein

basketballWhere would Travelocity be without their commercials? How is Apple’s web traffic affected when they aren’t running their memorable “I’m a Mac” campaign? And would Barack Obama have made history if he had to choose between online and offline media?

It seems that even with all of the talk about the demise of the 30 second spot, many of the most popular web sites would suffer without mass market advertising.

Just because it’s hard to measure the connection between traditional media and online, that doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Traditional and online advertising play very different roles, and both are needed to compliment one another.

All target markets have one thing in common….they’re all made up of people. And people have diverse lives. They don’t just live online or off. The same people that are online also watch TV, read newspapers or magazines, pass billboards on the road or ride on a public bus from time to time.

The messages and the branding people are exposed to through traditional media have a very real effect, even if it is subtle at times. And that subtlety can make the difference between a casual interest and active consideration or between a simple familiarity and a sale.

If marketing was a sport, I think it would be most like basketball. A team effort, actively passing the responsibility back and forth until as a group, you score — but always staying focused on the customer.

18th November
written by Rena Bernstein

Online marketing, just like all traditional B2B and consumer advertising, should be focused on the customer. While we’re all psyched about the ability to calculate and compare statistics down to the smallest detail, the true measure of marketing success is still in the minds of the customer.

Many online marketers have lost sight of marketing basics. With technology moving so fast, many of us have gotten caught up in the latest and greatest digital gizmo or gadget. Having the abilitPhotoxpress_2172398SMy to track and target people more precisely or better understand their buying habits is certainly an asset to the marketing process, but it still can’t replace or even become the strategy.

I was with a client yesterday discussing the cause of their slumping conversion rates on their B2B web site. Despite having a excellent product, a terrific sales team and outstanding customer service, they didn’t understand why their inbound marketing efforts were sagging.

One look at their ads, web site, and landing pages told the entire story. Since they are a technology company, I can understand how these guys view their business through an analytical prism. The problem is that their customers don’t. Their marketing sounds like it’s talking to their management team, not to their customers. And while they’re doing a great job measuring the results, the adjustments they’re making to the creative make the numbers may move slightly, but don’t get to the root of the problem, and that shows in the bottom line. These guys have lost the forest and are stuck in the technical trees.

The focus now seems to be on who can be the first to leverage the newest mobile platform or how fast you can utilize a certain new software. Digital marketing, whether your using social media marketing, pre-roll ads or just PPC is still about the end user and what is important to them. The metrics will come. Marketing must still be about the value of the message and the content first — and less about how it’s delivered.

Ask yourself this: in a year from now when the technology you are using today becomes common place, will your message your sending still resonate? Channel selection is and must always be a result of where your customers are, not just what happens to be the hottest technology today.

5th November
written by Rena Bernstein

If you ask most marketers if they do multi-channel marketing, you’ll likely find the vast majority resoundingly say YES!. But if you ask about their plans to coordinate the effort to ensure proper timing, the right amount of consistency without redundancy and an overall reliable brand message, the answer is surprising. It seems that most marketers sort of “wing-it” and don’t plan on how to use these multi-channel marketing efforts to multiply the results. They just happen to be running at the same time.

While there are several channels that historically work well together, such as email & direct mail or direct mail & print, there should be a more systematic approach to execution as well as to analyzing the results. Not surprisingly, even though these multi-channel marketing programs are often unplanned or uncoordinated, they most often yield better results than individual efforts.

With the increasing number of new marketing venues and the shift in consumer behavior from observer to participant, it’s pretty tough to always know the best or most cost effective way to reach the market.

Consumers move between markets seamlessly as they multi-task without even realizing that they are doing it. When asked “How did you hear about us?”, often customers are unsure. But if the same message is repeated across a multitude of media without any new content, consumers tire quickly and just it shut out.

Simply put, integrating timing, content, responses and metrics amplifies results.

13th October
written by Rena Bernstein
Social Media & The Value of Listening

Social Media & The Value of Listening

We all know that a brand exists in the minds of the market. The overall impression your audience has about your product or service is the only one that counts. We also know that despite all our best efforts, a brand’s impression on the market is only partially within the control of it’s marketing team. Much of that impression has to do with external forces such as current events and competitor efforts.

Brand awareness is a valuable first step in almost any sales cycle. “While 80% of advertising and marketing professionals say they are “strongly aware” of their brand’s positioning, only 25% of them can clearly articulate their company’s brand position”.1

A well planned and executed brand strategy aligns a company’s corporate objectives with marketing, sales, customer service and R&D and has them all marching to the same beat. More importantly, it gives customers a song to sing along to as well. The problem is that very often, a company thinks they are delivering one message, but the audience is receiving something entirely different….and sometimes contrary.

Social Media is an important and easily accessible tool that allows a business to “play back” what their customers feel about their brand, whether they are using social media as a marketing medium or not. It’s also very effective to understand public sentiment regarding their competitors brand as well. It can easily determine if a brand strategy is believable and relevant to the market and if the message being received as it was intended.

Results from a listening program can and should be reflected in all media, not just Social Media. By utilizing an integrated marketing approach, these results can be reflected quickly across a broad range of media, reaching the widest possible audience and once again, aligning your brand strategy from the very top corporate levels all the way through to  your customer.

What do you think?

  1. Louws Management Corporation Survey, 2007
2nd October
written by Rena Bernstein

Rubicks creative solutionWith markets being so fragmented these days, and media always changing, why do some folks want to stick to the same old solutions?

As marketers, we sometimes make simple assumptions about how something should be done, where we should advertise, tactics that should be used, or targets that should be targeted simply because it was done that way before. Not only does this usually end up with an uninspired result, but it frustrates the people working on the project and the outcome is often less than predicted. This overly structured method eliminates any possibility of doing something better. Something unexpected. Or something that might be off the beaten path and could make a big impact just by being a little different.

I recently read an article on a blog called Leading Creatives written by Nigel Collin where he made a very interesting point that when you tell a creative person HOW to do something, the thinking and creativity stops and all your likely to end up with is an execution. And not a bit more than that. No passion, no dedication, no enthusiasm, and no creative solutions. Just execution.

Guidance, direction and suggestions are always great, just leave the door open to new possible solutions. Nigel suggested that the next time you have a marketing goal, don’t tell your team or agency HOW TO DO it, tell them WHAT YOU NEED TO ACCOMPLISH and you’ll get back more than you expected.

31st August
written by Rena Bernstein

1. Not everyone is online and involved in social media.

2. Traditional media spreads brand awareness with a broader brush.

3. Traditional media has guaranteed placement. Social marketing messages may or may not catch on.

4. Some messages such as product specs need to be controlled and not left to a third party.

5. Without some traditional branding, it’s very hard to gain significant recognition.

6. Social media marketing should never try to sell. Traditional media gets to ask for the sale.

7. Traditional media can deliver a message to the most receptive part of your market faster.

8. Traditional media offers structure and consistency that social media can reference.

9. Traditional marketing builds awareness, social marketing builds trust.

10. Traditional marketing can be very effective at driving traffic to engage with a brand socially.

Now tell me what you think.

3rd August
written by Rena Bernstein

In a recent survey, 85% of mothers said that having a baby “changed their purchasing habits” and 62% said as Moms, they “changed the brands they bought”. These women are not just purchasing with different criteria in mind, they are also making their decisions and purchases in different ways. Understanding their purchase decision methods is critical for almost any marketer targeting consumers.

Less time to shop turns into more time to compare
Since having children, women have far less time available to do their shopping. They have found different ways to address their often-hectic lifestyle. Many have embraced the big box stores where they can stock up and reduce their shopping frequency. Others prefer online shopping where they can find virtually anything they need, research competitors, and make a purchase and at any time of the day or night.
As care givers, Moms have become far more discriminating. They focus heavily on value, and try to stretch the family budget. It’s been estimated that mothers in fact, shop for and buy about 4 times as much as a married male of the same age. Moms are also very focused on product safety, health and environmental issues, which cause them to do more research than their male counterparts. Mothers don’t just buy the food, but also clothing, entertainment products, personal and healthcare items and household goods for her entire family. She is usually the influencer or final decision maker on almost all major as well as minor household purchases including cars and houses.

Almost half of Moms surveyed look to Social Media for advice
As the family gatekeeper, mothers search for information and compare quality and value for the products they need. They trust online comparison sites, chat rooms and social media centers for advice far more than the television and magazine ads where they gained their initial awareness, and still rely heavily on the advice of friends. Recent statistics from a survey by U.S. BabyCenter.com show that 44% of respondents used social media for recommendations on brands and products before making a purchase.
Since many women also use the Internet to share their own opinions on review sites, in blog comments or start blogs of their own, some marketers have enlisted the help of “mommy blogers in order to help introduce others to their product.” People have been overwhelmed with too much information and need some way to sort through the choices. They seek out recommendations, preferably from someone they know or trust. Next to recommendations from trusted friends, it seems that the Internet has replaced neighborhood chit-chat as the primary source of information on product and service related topics that are important to mothers.

24th July
written by Rena Bernstein

marketing to womenIt took a recession for marketers to take another look at actually who is buying their product. Due to cut backs, marketing efforts had to be fine-tuned for even greater impact. What many marketer’s learned was that the people buying their products were not the same people they were speaking to. It actually came as a surprise that marketing for men’s products should not necessarily be targeted just to men.

Some large manufacturers have already made adjustments to reflect this revelation. According to the Economist magazine, the snack manufacturer Frito-Lay, which is owned by Pepsi Cola, has launched a campaign called “Only In A Women’s World,” to convince women their products are not just for men, but women too. The same article mentions that Office Max, the second largest office supply company in the United States, redesigned its notebooks and file-holders to appeal more to women. Office Max is also running advertisements to encourage women to make their office cubicles more colorful. The article further noted that McDonalds became a fashion week sponsor for the first time this past February. The event was used by McDonalds to promote a new line of hot drinks targeted towards women.

The economic climate also had the unexpected effect of further increasing the influence of women as the driving force in purchasing. Since unemployment has hit men disproportionately to women, it has decreased men’s buying power as a group. When you consider a women’s increasing earning power along with her previously established role as the purchase decision-maker in the home, the importance of marketing specifically to women cannot be denied for almost any product.

It is quite ironic that it took an economic meltdown for marketing to catch up. “It is hardly news that (women) control the vast majority of consumer spending. They buy 90% of food, 55% of consumer electronics, and most of the new cars,” says Bain & Company’s head of global consuming Eric Almquist.

The sooner marketers shift their efforts to the correct target and look at their product through a women’s eyes, the better chance they have to hit a bull’s-eye.

7th July
written by Rena Bernstein

In a recent Search Marketing Survey, MarketingSherpa concluded that cross-functional marketing strategies are becoming more common.

With the ever expanding variations in search, PPC, and contextual models, and now add the introduction of Facebook’s own PPC program, advertisers have increasingly more options to determine not only the medium, but the location, format, and cost structure that works best for their individual needs.

“Facebook serves as a perfect example. They offer advertisers the choice to buy display ads on a CPM basis or bid for PPC placements. These big, successful publishers would not be using the model if it didn’t work.”

The Options Multiply

The variety of options to accurately pinpoint specific markets continues to increase in the form of inbound marketing tactics, PPC, contextual, social media, and display advertising.

In a rush to account to management for their advertising budgets, marketers are jockeying for position and adjusting their numbers between search, PPC, contextual and display advertising. Offline budgets are giving ground to the increasing online tactics, and the allure of easily attainable metrics.

Online marketing is not slowing down anytime soon. It will continue to grow and change, further fragmenting the audience and the marketing mechanisms that we use to reach them. Marketers will need to try new things to determine exactly what the right mix is for them. As they do, new tactics will continue to emerge and further complicate the formula.

“IBM for example has been utilizing a combination of social media, with traditional marketing to create a broader strategy since 2006”, says Sandy Carter, VP Service Oriented Architecture and WebSphere.

Use a Comprehensive Strategy

The most reasonable solution for marketers is a comprehensive one. Learn and adapt utilizing the metrics from the variety of online efforts, while integrating traditional marketing methods, social engagement and a host of inbound marketing tactics.