Today’s column is written by Jim Parkinson, Chief Digital Officer, Valassis.
Today, marketers have a unique opportunity to engage consumers through the integration of print and digital mediums. The marketer who is able to reach the largest group of relevant consumers will have the most success in raising their brand’s awareness and registering higher product sales. There are many mediums marketers can leverage to reach consumers – print, email, online, search, direct mail, in-store, social and broadcast media among them. Each medium has proven to be effective depending on the focus of the campaign and the target audience the marketer is looking to reach. But increasingly, marketers are realizing it’s imperative to have a multi-media share-of-voice based upon the media consumption trends of today’s consumer. How can brands strike the right balance of campaigns, tactics and channels to launch a fully integrated marketing campaign?
Three key factors come into play when developing a truly integrated strategy: 1) Media consumption trends 2) Data-driven segmentation and 3) Share of voice / differentiation.
Media Consumption Trends
I’m often asked, “What is the right split of traditional and digital media for targeting consumers?” Marketers are spending way too much time thinking about print vs. digital, mobile vs. display, offers vs. ads. Humans are not one-dimensional so effective communication shouldn’t be either. For today’s brands, there is no industry standard; the marketplace is just too diverse and the decision is dependent upon the market and product specifics.
Consumers are actively using multiple media sources to gather information to drive their purchasing decisions, and purchasing cycles are now accelerated by the availability of media 24/7. Marketers must identify what media resonates with their consumers and shouldn’t discount the social sphere. With over one billion Facebook users and over 33 billion tweets a day, take note of social networking and the impact of those brand influencers.
Also consider that digital is more cluttered and competitive; however, it does have the advantages of connecting brands with consumers at a higher frequency rate and at a lower cost. With the ability to interact directly with consumers, digital marketing engagements can happen with more immediacy and can quickly become more personalized to the consumer’s taste. The ideal scenario is that a brand embraces digital, but also continues to reach consumers through traditional means, such as print promotions and in-store advertising, so they are gaining regular, impactful exposure to the brand through the various forms of communication they touch every day.
Marketers must first use data at hand to conduct a thorough consumer and geographic segmentation of their target audience. In other words: With whom and where will we win? Whatever medium you’re using, data gathered through either offline or online communication can hold tremendous value. If you combine the data from both mediums you will have a better-rounded view of consumers and their behavior as opposed to using this data in isolation. The combination of syndicated, proprietary, offline and online data should be used whenever possible. The more brands can know about a consumer – their geography, their online behavior trends and their purchasing trends – the stronger the campaign will be.
Share of Voice / Differentiation
To execute a successful integrated campaign, marketers must be able to “stand out from the crowd” and highlight how their products are different and valuable. Especially in a crowded digital environment, a brand’s voice must be crisp, clear and rise above the noise. Today’s consumer is in control, has constantly changing media habits and expects brands to deliver messages directly to them. Marketers that can distinguish their brand from competitors in a succinct manner using text and visuals will win in the end.
Building engagement through proper reach and using the most efficient and impactful mix of mediums takes time. Understanding it’s a marathon, not a sprint, is the best way to build a multimedia share of voice. Whether you are finding new customers or driving loyalty with existing ones, a tailored mixed media plan that blends traditional and digital marketing makes the most sense.